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Redevelopment Plan Gets Another Update

June 20, 2024 – Stafford, CT

Kenneth Hrica, an engineer and licensed surveyor, is practically becoming a regular at Stafford’s Planning & Zoning Commission. Hrica’s client, Dunbeath LLC, owns 36 West Stafford Road, known among locals as the eyesore formerly the Country Village Shoppes, and he has made several appearances before the PZC with a variety of plans, all of which have been for a self-storage facility. That hasn’t changed, but there were some new developments.  

Elevation drawings for self-storage plans.
The elevation drawings for the self-storage plans at the site of the Country Village Shoppes.

The new plan calls for demolishing three out of four buildings on the property and building two new buildings. One of the new buildings will repurpose the foundation of the building in the back, and the front building, which currently houses Hang’s Asian Bistro, will be renovated. The front building will be heated with no exterior bays, while the back buildings will have garage bays. The back part of the property will be fenced, while the buildings will provide screening from the road. 

The front building will be two stories, with about 25,000 square feet per floor, with another 10,000 square feet out back. Hrica says there is no plan to have 24-hour access, but commission Richard Shuck suggested the property owners should suggest business hours for the PZC to consider.

The plan also calls for various drainage solutions to solve the issues that have led to the parking area in front of the back building caving in. Roof leaders that will tie into catch basics will address some of the runoff, and Hrica says the landscaping plan will add over 5,000 square feet of pervious surface. Over 41,000 square feet will be covered by buildings and other impervious surfaces, for about 30.7% lot coverage. 

Two of the eastern entrances to the property will be eliminated, and the PZC seemed pleased with the landscaping plan. Still, some of the concerns from past meetings went unaddressed. There was no lighting plan, and the buildings still appear to be entirely metal. The PZC has asked for the architectural plan to call for mixed materials to align with the town’s design guidelines. They have also asked for the appearance of a varying roofline, but that had not been included in the new plans either. 


From Town of Stafford - Zoning Regulations


Chairman Dave Palmberg suggested that Hrica ask the building’s designers to review the appropriate section of the town’s regulations so they can address these issues. Palmberg was also concerned that the collapsed drainpipe in the parking lot has not been repaired or mitigated, meanwhile, the blight fines continue to mount, and squatters continue to live in the back building. 

Around this time, Karl Nilsen, a former enforcement zoning officer, introduced himself. Nilsen is now working with Dunbeath LLC to make sure all of the PZC’s concerns and requests make it back to the right people. “If you can do what you say you can, the board should stand up and applaud you,” said Dr. David Mordasky, PZC commissioner. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Hrica noted that the board members had only received plans shortly before the meeting and that he would understand if they wanted to take time to digest the information. Palmberg noted that he would likely have many more specific comments, and ultimately, the matter was tabled until the PZC’s next meeting. 


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