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What is a Local Design District?

The Remedy Selection Plan (Remediation Plan) for the Newhall Street Neighborhood does not require Environmental Land Use Restrictions (ELURs) on any private property to achieve compliance with the Residential Direct Exposure Criteria of the Remediation Standard Regulations. As an alternative, the Town of Hamden has created a Local Design District (“District”), which is a zoning option designed to insure that the DEP’s environmental objectives are achieved while allowing flexibility for the future use, development and enjoyment of the residential properties. The purpose of the District is to ensure that waste fill that might be brought to the surface during future deep excavation is handled, managed, and disposed in accordance with a waste management protocol so that the property owner may continue to develop his or her property within the Town’s zoning regulations.

For properties located within the District, the Town is requiring that a special permit be aquired for any excavation deeper than four feet from ground surface. Excavation deeper than four feet is typically necessary for construction of an addition to a home that requires foundation footings, construction of an in-ground swimming pool, or replacing/removing an underground storage tank. Although these activities currently require a special permit and a building permit from the Town prior to work, certain modifications to the special permit process will be needed. The District designation will not alter the Town’s current requirements for homeowners but will expand upon them to ensure that any waste fill that remains in place greater than four feet is evaluated and handled under the waste management protocol as appropriate.

Excavation within the top four feet will not require a special permit under the District. Activities within the upper four feet include common residential activities such as gardening, planting trees and shrubs, installing/repairing patios, porches or walkways, installing fences and playground equipment, or additions (including decks) without basements. Town regulation of certain types of above-mentioned construction work within the upper four feet (e.g. installation of decks) would continue to be subject to the standard building permit and zoning requirements of the Town that exists today.

A Soil Management Fund (“Fund”) will be established to cover the costs of future compliance with the waste fill management protocol at residential properties that have waste fill remaining below four feet after remediation. The Fund is to be administered by the Town as part of the special permit process. The mechanics of the Fund will be established during the remedial design phase. Olin and the DEP will each pay $1 million into the Fund immediately following completion of the remedial activities at the Non-Public Properties located inside the Consent Order boundary. The Town will manage the Fund for the residents located within the District.

If you plan to perform any of the above mention activities and feel that you might be eligible for funding under the Soil Managment fund, contact Dale Kroop at 203-287-7033 or dkroop@hamden.com.