After listening to a proposal from Donald Lussier, an engineer with Fuss & O'Neill in Manchester, the commission on the recommendation of Ann Pappas Phillips and Acting Chairman Mel Riley decided Monday that a public hearing would be in order before proceeding with approval.
"Something of this magnitude, let's err on the side of caution," Riley said. "Let's hear from the public."
That hearing will take place Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on Lyon Terrace.
Lussier said his company's plans call for demolishing fire-ravaged, vacant buildings, a smokestack, two utility sheds, an above-ground storage tank and an old wooden railroad trestle. He said the trestle's wood probably is treated with creosote, which medical authorities believe is carcinogenic.
Phillips, a commissioner and land use expert, asked what kind of care would be taken in removing the wood and also expressed concern about the dust created during the smokestack's demolition.
Lussier said he would have those answers for the commission during the public hearing. He told the commission he was more concerned about the smokestack falling on the current Metro North tracks than on the wetland.
That wetland, named the lower Pembroke lake, was created for fire control on the site. The building's foundation abuts the lake.
"We will put a silt fence three feet from the building's edge to catch debris," he told the commission. He also said using explosives to take down the smokestack has been ruled out.
"Most likely we will use a mechanical excavator to pick away at the bricks," he said. "A wrecking ball would send debris everywhere."
Matthew Popp, a consultant to the commission, said he will walk the site this week and compile a report on the project.
The commission also granted approval to a 571 space parking garage at 5456 Park Avenue that will be constructed adjacent to a planned medical building in Trumbull. Plans for the Trumbull building are pending in that town.