'Everything is for sale if you come to me with the right number': Redstone Hill Road residents ask city to try and buy open space

Published on Monday, 29 June 2020 16:46


BRISTOL – Redstone Hill Road neighborhood residents have asked the city to try to buy some 12 acres of land that were the subject of a controversial zoning change plan earlier this year, hoping it could be preserved as open space.

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said the owner Joseph Naples isn’t interested in selling the land, however she would take action if he changes his mind.

“Yes, the mayor did reach out to me and I told her the property is currently not for sale,” said Timothy Furey, Naples’ attorney. “I shouldn’t say that - everything is for sale if you come to me with the right number, but I don’t know why the City of Bristol would want to pay the kind of money that he might ask for.”

At the start of the year Naples had sought a zoning change for three parcels - 560, 594, and 644 Redstone Hill - which total a little over 8.5 acres, from single family residential to multi-family residential to make way for an high end apartment development on a total of 12.2 acres in the area.

Naples had given a broad outline of his plan for up to 96 “high end” apartments in a gated community, with amenities such as a pool, outdoor fire pits and community grills, community gardens, walking trails, stainless steel sculptures, a putting green, clubhouse, and more.

He had described his development plan as “a legacy project” for his family.

At several contentious information sessions, Redstone Hill area residents expressed concerns about the effect the development would have on traffic, well water, noise pollution, pedestrian safety, wetlands and natural habitats, local infrastructure, school overcrowding, and that if the apartments did not attract the desired young professional tenants they would become low income.

Furey attorney, then surprised the audience at a Zoning Commission public hearing in late January by announcing Naples’ company, 594 Redstone Hill LLC, was withdrawing the application temporarily in response to what he termed the “sideshow” of falsehoods being circulated by opponents.

At the time he said the application for the zoning change would be re-filed in “late spring or early summer.”

As of Monday afternoon, Furey said the process has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic but the application would probably be refilled in a few months.

At the June City Council meeting, Brittany Barney, who represents the Redstone Hill Road neighborhood along with Mary Fortier, said she and Fortier reached out to the city’s attorneys about the issue.

“At this time the property owner Mr. Naples is not selling the property so I think that it wouldn’t be applicable to submit an open space grant for it,” Barney said. “We will keep in contact with the attorney though and ask them to notify us if that changes in the future, if the property does come up for sale.”

“If that parcel had been available for purchase we would have referred it to the Inland Wetlands Commission and the Planning Commission,” Zoppo-Sassu said.

“Our environmental engineer maintains a list of properties that the city is interested in, both for environmental purposes as well as recreational purposes, so that would be the process if this or any other parcel becomes available in the future that is of interest to the city,” she said.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Monday, 29 June 2020 16:46. Updated: Monday, 29 June 2020 16:48.