Saturday, July 20, 2024

Teakwood Estates

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Potential Adverse Environmental Issues

By Peter Bowe

It is ironic that the Teakwood Estates proposal is named for an endangered rainforest hardwood known as Teak. The proposed housing development encompasses 11 acres adjacent to Broadbridge Avenue and Second Hill Lane. The property contains a mature forest and a sensitive wetland which is the headwaters of a stream that flows into Remington Woods, and eventually to the Long Island Sound. It would add an additional 19 homes to the area surrounding the wetland, in addition to the 15 existing homes. A proposed drainage pipe would pass through a portion of the wetland.

Why is this of great concern? Development proposals usually deal with a particular site without considerations for broader environmental issues. As residents of Stratford we live within the Housatonic Watershed. Within Stratford there are numerous mini watersheds. You might ask what is a watershed. The EPA defines it as the land area that drains to a wetland, stream, lake or river. These are places where the water table reaches the surface. But what we don’t see below the surface is the slow moving ground water. A problem at one site can have a profound impact miles away. Teakwood is only three miles from the Sound. I was shocked to learn that nearby Success Lake, directly across Broadbridge Avenue, was only 16 feet above sea level.

Site preparation for Teakwood Estates involves an area with steep contour gradients. Any disruptions of the bedrock could release potentially dangerous metals such as Manganese and Iron, contaminating groundwater from the site all the way to the Sound.

Deforestation of the 11 acres is another area of concern and would have a devastating impact on the water flow. Landscaping designs for the site might be aesthetically pleasing but would have adverse effects on the water flow and drainage. Why are the trees so important? Data from the National Forest Service estimates a mature Oak tree can absorb 40,000 gallons per year. If the site has 60 trees per acre that would be 660 trees and represent 26.4 million gallons per year. Where would the water go without the trees? This would overwhelm the area and cause additional flooding to local residents as well as residents downstream. The proposal stated that home owners would be responsible for maintaining the drainage basins. Who will enforce it? If my home is flooded who do I sue? The property owner or the Town of Stratford.

A third grave concern is the non-point pollution runoff. A variety of contaminants would be generated adding to the existing runoff. Contaminates such as road salt, insecticides, herbicides, vehicle oil and household products would add to the problem.

I have witnessed both responsible development and irresponsible development. This proposal is clearly irresponsible. Come to the Inland Wetlands hearing in March to voice your concerns and preserve the future of Stratford. This is OUR TOWN! Help us save it.

Photo Marca Leigh

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