When the topic of CT Studios came up at the South Windsor Town Council meeting Monday evening, Mayor Tom Delnicki strung together no fewer than three cliches to outline the current situation.
“The clock is ticking, the ball is in their court and they are the masters of their own domain,” Delnicki said regarding the developers of the proposed $88 million project that includes the construction of several movie studios with sound stages, a mill for the building of sets, a hotel and commercial space to be built on 40 acres of land.
Delnicki was specifically referring to the Oct. 26 deadline that would see 20 acres of land the town provided to the developer three years ago revert back to the town if construction on that parcel does not begin in 10 days.
In an e-mail to Patch, economic development consultant Craig Stevenson, who has represented CT Studios, said that the developer has obtained a building permit for a 600-square-foot security building that would satisfy the reverter clause.
Town Manager Matthew Galligan confirmed that CT Studios had received the building permit for the security building, but was rebuffed from getting a second permit to construct one of the movie studios. The second permit was not issued, according to Galligan, because CT Studios is going to construct a portion of the studio on land owned by the Charbonneau family, which has not yet sold or leased that parcel to the developer.
In addition, CT Studios, according to Stevenson, received the approval to create a grasshopper sparrow habitat in Wapping Park to take the place of presumed habitat in the project area, pursuant to a state regulation.
The estimated cost of the moving of the two birds from their nesting area is going to be about $150,000, according to Galligan.
Still, even with the movement on the part of the developer, the members of the Town Council had plenty of questions Monday concerning the project.
Councilor Keith Yagaloff said that the developer still had not presented a plan concerning the payment for the infrastructure - roads, sewers and electricity - for the project.
Originally, the Council had agreed to a tax abatement for the project, with the savings on the taxes to pay for the infrastructure costs, which are expected to run between $10 - $15 million.
That agreement, however, has run out, according to Yagaloff, who said that he did not support that abatement originally and wouldn’t if it were presented a second time around.
“There is no agreement for infrastructure costs,” Yagaloff said. “So who is going to pay for it? … They have not approached us yet to tell us how it is going to be paid for.”
Yagaloff said that the developer should not come to the Council to pay for the infrastructure.
“This Council will not vote along to get along,” Yagaloff said. “There has to be a rational bona fide plan. It will take four to six months to bring it to the Council to make it work.”
Deputy Mayor Gary Bazzano and Councilor Kevin McCann backed Yagaloff’s statements.
“This council is losing patience,” Bazzano said. “Four years, three years, nothing has changed.”
“We have yet to see a plan to go forward,” he said. “There needs to be a plan we can review and approve.”
Toward that end, Delnicki said that he would like to call a special meeting on Oct. 22 to bring the developer in to discuss where the project stands.