At the June 11 Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Tesei reported that department heads had met earlier in the week with Eversource including P&Z director Katie DeLuca, Wetlands Director Pat Sesto, Tree Warden Bruce Spaman, Commissioner of Public Works Amy Siebert, and Conservation Director Denise Savageau.
Mr. Tesei said Eversource had addressed residents’ concerns funneled through Planning & Zoning, including “validating project need,” the building’s facade, impact to Kinsman Lane and changes to the brand new Cos Cob Park around the Cos Cob power substation.
“It appears now that they don’t have to move the fences there,” Tesei said of concerns the electric utility would disrupt the recently completed park.
After the Board of Selectmen meeting, Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot met with reporters in the Town Hall lobby to map out a timeline for the project and summarize the utility’s concessions in response to criticism.
“We’ve made key changes to the look of the sub station, and the route of the lines specifically in regard to Kinsman Lane,” Poirot said.
“We all heard loud and clear that the look of the sub-station as proposed didn’t work and raised concerns.
We went to an architect. They came up with a design that adds a new brick facade, windows, a door, a varied roof line with trim and an architectural feature that I’d describe as a turret to break up the surfaces. In addition to that, we moved the sub station back from the sidewalk far enough to allow for landscaping.
With regard to Kinsman Lane, Poirot said Eversource is proposing an alternate route for new transmission lines to run roughly parallel to the right-of-way for Metro North and the I-95.
We’re trying to avoid Kinsman Lane. We heard loud and clear from the neighbors of Kinsman Lane that they had concerns about construction impacts. – Frank Poirot, Eversource Spokesman
Mr. Poirot said one of the first pieces of advice Eversource received was from the Architectural Review Commission (ARC). The recommendation was to hire an architect. “We did,”Poirot said.
“We also heard from the community that they liked the look of our former work center, so we asked the architect to bring some of the elements of that to the one we’re building at 290 Railroad Ave,” he said, adding that they won’t look like identical twins, but, he said, “The viewscape will be vastly better than the one we first proposed.”
Mr. Poirot said he felt Eversource had addressed the key concerns from the Greenwich community. He said that although there is not the luxury of time, given the 2017 in-service date, there are concerns about the reliability of Eversource’s service.
Mr. Poirot said that Eversource’s own deadline with the Siting Council (the ultimate decision-making body on the project) is June 26. From there the Greenwich Community can still submit feedback, but should direct it to the Siting Council.
On July 15 there will be an open house on for the community with a chance for residents to talk individually to representatives from Eversource and ask questions.
In the meantime, Pet Pantry, who lease 290 Railroad Ave for a pet supply business, are on the June 16 Planning & Zoning agenda with an application to add a 2nd story to the building at 1191 East Putnam Ave they purchased last year.
Pet Pantry’s purchase of the former Baang restaurant was intended to make possible a second Greenwich store location, but might instead might have to suffice as the replacement for the loss of the 290 Railroad Ave store when Eversource terminates the lease.
Watch this space for an updated architect’s rendering of 290 Railroad Ave. Until then, we have the rendering that met with such objection from departments within Town Hall and residents of the community.