The Planning and Zoning Commission denied the proposal for a 16-unit townhouse complex at Jelliff Mill at its June 21 meeting.

"Considering the commission's charge to protect health, safety and welfare of future residents, neighbors and the public at large, it was the consensus of commission members that substantial public interest exists that the proposed structures be protected from flooding," Chairman Lazlo Papp said last week in a prepared statement.

Papp noted it was the 10th meeting the issue was discussed, during which time, he said, expert testimonies were heard from both sides of the issue that informed the commission's decision.

He particularly mentioned Todd Ritchie, a professional engineer, who presented to the board on April 10.

"(Ritchie) stated that part of one of the proposed buildings is in the special flood hazard area," Papp said. "Therefore, a Floodplain Management Permit should have been presented, as required by the town regulations. Lack of such permit was found to be an omission, which indicates that a direct threat exists of possible flooding, endangering health and safety of the public."

Papp said the applicants indicated they will appeal the commission's decision to the State Supreme Court. This was confirmed by the applicants' attorney, Tim Hollister.

However, Papp said the commission is on record to favor affordable housing, despite the flood hazard issue. When contacted after the meeting, he added that the design is too big to fit on the property as proposed.

"Because of its vulnerability to flooding and environmental issues, it is packed so tight that, really, (there is) very little opportunity to mitigate some of the critical and environmental issues," he said.

tmichael@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; www.twitter.com/tmichael89

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