Every month, Hampden’s Director of Economic Development receives calls from business owners wishing to locate on the busy Coldbrook Road which connects Highways 1A and 2, spanning Hampden and Hermon.
Amy Ryder, who has been working since March 2020, has received requests from people to start a daycare, set up a fitness studio, rent office space, open a retail store and build a distribution center.
The city recently zoned two lots on Coldbrook Road from residential to commercial use, allowing businesses to locate there. But there’s still a lot of work to be done before Coldbrook Road can support these businesses or others that can add to the city’s tax base and ease the tax burden on homeowners.
While Hampden’s Comprehensive Plan, written in 2010, called for two business districts along Coldbrook Road – one at the intersection of Route 202 and the other at the Interstate 95-Coldbrook Road interchange – Expensive infrastructure works are needed before development can take place.
“We don’t have any sewer hookups from zoned commercial lots along the road,” Ryder said. “We will address this in the new comprehensive plan. “
Ryder said it was difficult to convince a business to locate on Coldbrook Road without these connections to a municipal sewer system.
“Septic tanks are not ideal when the flow is high, like most businesses are,” she said.
Installing these connections is expected to cost the city a minimum of $ 1.8 million, Ryder said. Sewer connections would most likely have to be paid for with a voter-approved bond issue.
Another problem is the limited overall capacity of the sewage system, said City Manager Paula Scott. And because the system accommodates both stormwater and wastewater, large amounts of stormwater reduce the capacity of the wastewater that would enter the system with more development along Coldbrook Road, she said. .
About half of the town’s businesses and homes are connected to the public sewer system, while the rest have septic systems.
The comprehensive plan will need to address this issue before development can begin on Coldbrook Road, according to Ryder.
“Hampden business owners have said that Hampden is more than just subdivisions and that we need to do more to promote the city to businesses outside of the business park (located off Route 202),” said Scott said.
Work on a new comprehensive plan will begin this fall. He will set targets to guide development in Hampden over the next 20 years, including in the areas of land use, environment, transport, public health, resource use and infrastructure. .