Board carries CBA’s plan for expansion and renovations to Oct. 2 meeting

Scott Jacobs

MIDDLETOWN – Testimony regarding a plan submitted by Christian Brothers Academy to demolish, construct, expand and modify its existing school facilities is expected to be heard by the Middletown Planning Board on Oct. 2.

The application from CBA, which is located at 850 Newman Springs Road, was scheduled to be heard by the board on Aug. 6, however, the matter was not heard and it was carried to Oct. 2.

The private school’s application also proposes improvements to parking, walkways, internal driveways, landscaping, lighting and drainage.

According to a legal notice published by attorney John Giunco, who represents the applicant, CBA is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to improve its amenities.The school’s 143-acre property is in a Rural Estate Residence Zone.

The proposed expansion and renovations are as follows: demolish and reconstruct the existing Benilde Hall with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements; construct an addition to the existing alumni hall with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements; construct an addition to the existing cafeteria building and include a building entrance canopy with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements.

And, demolish and reconstruct the existing McKenna Hall with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements, including the construction of an internal driveway connecting the faculty parking lot, McKenna Hall, a proposed tennis pavilion and proposed new track and field improvements.

CBA seeks to renovate the existing Valentine Hall and construct a deck area with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements; demolish and reconstruct the existing Round Barn, including the construction of a covered practice field with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements; make improvements to the existing baseball field; and construct a tennis pavilion area and view platform.

Construction of soccer and lacrosse field improvements would include, but are not limited to, an artificial turf soccer/lacrosse field and bleachers with associated walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements. The existing track and field improvements will be demolished.

Finally, CBA is proposing new track and field improvements including, but not limited to, an eight-lane running track, bleachers and storage/bathroom building with walkways, landscaping, parking, lighting and drainage improvements; and a proposed rugby field improvement that would include the installation of a gateway arch.

The applicant will request several bulk variances, according to the legal notice.

After the matter was carried to October, several residents expressed frustration about the application outside of the board’s meeting room.

Resident Bill Heaney, who said he is a licensed home inspector, said his backyard is adjacent to CBA. He said he is concerned that new construction on the school property could negatively affect his property.

“Once they elevate the (school’s) property, all that runoff is going to go into (a) stream,” Heany said, explaining that a stream runs between his backyard and the school.

“They are going to spray the new fields with pesticides and all of it would run into the stream that runs through the whole town … The aquatic pressure from the water from the stream will go under the soil and blow out the bottom of (residents’) pools,” Heaney said. “Development will make the drainage system 100% worse.”

Resident Jacyln Picca, who lives next to Heany, said her property is routinely flooded. She said she fears new development at CBA will make the situation worse.

“All the water that currently sits in the ground now is going to have to go somewhere. It’s going to run into the stream and then into our backyards,” Picca said, adding that she recently spent $10,000 to repair her yard because excessive water damaged the property. “CBA needs to do the right thing and put the proper drainage system in … Their property affects our properties.”