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Kobyluck Takes Waterford To Court, Again

Company Appeals Conservation Commission’s Decision In Superior Court

Last week, Kobyluck Brothers LLC filed an appeal in New London Superior Court to reject the company’s proposal to install a stone processing facility at 28 Industrial Drive.

Kobyluck against the Planning and Zoning Commission's ban on exactly what Kobyluck was proposing to do at 28 Industrial Drive. Still, Kobyluck filed its proposal for a stone processing facility at Industrial Drive before those regulations took effect, which was rejected anyway by the Conservation Commission in May.

In its most recent complaint, Kobyluck alleged that Waterford’s planning staff never wanted the project to happen and the decision to reject the proposal was based “upon arbitrary requirements that are not justified or reflected in the governing regulations or state law.” The company is asking the court to sustain the appeal, costs and "such other relief as may be equitable and appropriate."

The Full Story

Kobyluck in November of 2011. In the company’s complaint, Kobyluck alleges it had a pre-application meeting with the town’s staff before it submitted the plans, and in that meeting it was clear that the staff did not want to work with the applicant or approve the application.

“As a result of those prior applications and pre-filing meetings, it became apparent that the Commission and its agents were not in favor of the Plaintiff or its proposed project,” Kobyluck’s attorney, Kari Olson, wrote in the complaint.

The Conservation Commission held a public hearing on the project that spanned from January to April, where the commission heard testimony from Kobyluck, town staff and an independent third-party environmental consulting firm that the town mandated Kobyluck hire. The hearing closed in April, and at the end of May the Conservation Commission voted to unanimously reject the proposal.

Kobyluck, in its complaint, argued the project would only restore existing impacts at the site and would have no negative environmental impact to the site. Meanwhile, town staff and the third-party evaluators provided little evidence of any impact, yet the commission rejected the application anyway, according to the complaint.

"During the course of the public hearing, Plaintiffs provided significant and detailed expert testimony and test results evidencing that the proposed development was not likely to have any significant temporary or permanent impacts to the wetlands and watercourses on the site," Olson wrote. "In contrast, there was no actual, much less substantial, evidence presented during the course of the administrative proceedings on the application to indicate that any of the proposed regulated activities would cause any harm to the wetlands."

Neighbors near 28 Industrial Drive have long protested the application, pointing out $225,000 in combined settlements for issues in those two towns and the potential negative impact a stone processing facility would have on the area. During the Conservation Commission's public hearing, the group voiced their disapproval with the proposal.

After the Conservation Commission’s rejection of the application, Kobyluck owner Matt Kobyluck conducted a long interview with Patch, where he complained about Waterford Planning Director Tom Wagner. , Kobyluck alleged that Waterford was “anti-business,” and said Wagner did everything he could do to reject the proposal.

Wagner, who refused comment on this story because the appeal was pending in court, has said in previous interviews with Patch that he does not take any application or applicant personally, saying it is “just business.” Wagner, who has been the town’s planning director since 1983, said it would be impossible for him to do his job if he took applications and applicants personally.

For the appeal, the town or Kobyluck will not submit any new information into the record. Instead, a judge will review what was submitted and then decide if the decision was based on legal, reasonable and factual reasons.

Matt Kobyluck did not return a Wednesday afternoon voicemail by Patch. His December appeal to the Planning and Zoning Commission is still pending in court. 

Water Ford June 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM
The town officials and volunteer boards need to wake up and look at the bigger picture. They are so concerned with this small development project they aren’t watching hundreds of acres of wilderness, wetlands and landscapes be destroyed in their town. Go visit the power line installation project on Rope Ferry and Spithead Roads. Hundreds of acres of have been stripped, bulldozed, drilled and destroyed. Creeks and wetlands have been mowed down and filled in. The town is very busy trying to stop Kobyluck from building on his ~35 acres miles away from the sound while a much more destructive project is taking place downstream. It looks like the town may pick on the small guy while leaving the big guys alone…..isn’t this called bullying? Shame on the town.
Mary May June 28, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I Agree Water Ford !!!
Coach Tom June 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Agreed!!!! Way to go Waterford stop small business in it's tracks. Where was the outrage when Walmart and Coke built on the banks of the Jordan Brook. What about the parking lot run off from those two monstrosities. I guess our wetlands only need to be protected from small business. Look across the highway at the site of the last quarry operation and you will see a pond and a meadow. Keep going with the current game plan and this town will be one big ugly EMPTY decaying strip mall. Then we all will be left holding the bag. High taxes and low real estate value to follow.
Jeffrey Smolen June 28, 2012 at 07:34 PM
This proposal does nothing for the economy, jobs, or lowering of taxes, so stick to your guns Waterford. I have the pleasure of working in your Town and will till I retire. You dont have the Town you have from making poor decisions in the past, keep your track record as perfect as Waterford is. Besides Kobyluck has enough money already-stop being so damn greedy.
William Terry June 28, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The common citizens need to put their opinions as to the product and make their decisions based on law. Maybe they are, but the negitive attitude expressed by the initial meetings sounds like they carried the same feelings to their vote. I think they can build a bridge over the brook without any problem. I am waiting to see how the Route 11 extension project passes the environmental concerns as they cross over all the wetlands..

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