Engineer Uncovers Problems at Woodhaven Subdivision

OXFORD — An independent professional engineer, hired by the Planning and Zoning Com­mission to inspect Aurora Drive in the Woodhaven Subdivision, uncovered a number of discrep­ancies between subdivision design drawings approved by the commission in 2002 and as-builts of the subdivision.

The study was sought by the commission after a number of residents on the street com­plained about drainage prob­lems, slope issues and the exis­tence of huge sink holes at the end of the road’s cul de sac. In fact, one commissioner member, Edwin Hellauer, plunged nearly up to his knees in one of those sink holes when he visited the site earlier this year.

In a 14-page report prepared for the commission, Engineer Paul Szymanski of Arthur H. Howland Associates, P.C., in New Milford, identified among the discrepancies that some catch basins and manholes were not constructed where they were proposed to be, that the slopes of some pipes were steeper than proposed, that pavement was not constructed as proposed for the entrance of the cul de sac on the western and eastern sides and that the eastern side of the cul de sac encroaches onto private property.

Furthermore, underground utilities along the eastern side of the entrance to the cul de sac appear to encroach onto private property and there are sinkholes several feet deep underneath an existing stone wall. Mr. Szymanski moreover found some slopes to be unstable and a catch basin pipe appears to have been installed in the wrong direction.

In the report, Mr. Szymanski suggested measures to remedi­ate the problems, including removing some existing curbs, resetting catch basins and get­ting a geotechnical engineer on board to determine how to stabi­lize the sinkholes. The developer of the subdivi­sion, Anthony Silano, who attended the meeting, said cor­recting the problems as detailed by Mr. Szymanski would entail rebuilding the entire road.

He said he had no problem straightening out anything he was responsible for, but he said it was unfair to hold him liable six years after the road was built for all the problems the engineer identified. He told the commission that many of the inconsistencies between the approved plans and the as-builts were due to “field changes” made during construc­tion.

Mr. Silano said those changes were approved by the town’s con­sultant engineers, Nafis and Young. Commission Chairman Vinnie Vizzo responded that the com­mission needed confirmation on those approvals. If indeed the town’s engineer approved them, then Mr. Silano would not be obligated to correct them, he said. “But, we need the paper work,” he said.

The commission suggested that Mr. Silano meet with Mr. Szy­manski, a representative of Nafis and Young and his own engineer to hash out the issues. The com­mission agreed that one of its members should also be present. Mr. Vizzo urged haste; saying residents on the street were “itchy.”

“Time is of the essence. We want happiness in the neighborhood,” Mr. Vizzo said.

By Leda Quirke – Voices

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