Beacon Square developer withdraws application for affordable housing in Fairfield


FAIRFIELD — Developers have temporarily withdrawn an application for affordable housing, which some neighbors were unhappy with, after officials determined changes needed to be made to their plans.

Planning director Jim Wendt said the developer planned to build a townhouse-style unit complex at 2-6 Beacon Square, but agreed to go back to the drawing board.

“Following our hearing, we followed up with the fire marshal’s office regarding some concerns raised by the commission regarding (property) access,” he said at a recent meeting. of the Urban Planning and Zoning Commission. “It appears that there was a previously unrecognized requirement that would cause the applicant to change the site plan to provide for a reversal.”

Wendt said he expected the developer to send out a revised application in the “short term” and the public hearing process would have to start over. He said the claimant had “no time left in our statutory clock” to reopen the public hearing to discuss the matter, so the claimant agreed to withdraw.

Commission Chairman Tom Noonan said the news is proof that the body’s process is working.

“One of the commission members reached out to confirm something that the fire marshal had already looked at, and the second review resulted in a separate finding – which was very important,” he said.

Wendt said the bid would be resumed “at the appropriate time.”

The 2-6 Beacon Square proposal would transform two duplexes on the 36,000 square foot property into 26 townhouse-style units, eight of which would be priced as affordable.

At a commission meeting last month, John Fallon, the developer’s solicitor, said the three-building development would contain 15 two-bedroom units and 11 one-bedroom units. He said the two bedrooms would be around 1,800 square feet while the single bedroom would be around 780 square feet.

In terms of parking, Fallon said each unit would have a garage on the first floor and there would be six additional spaces on site, for a total of 32 parking spaces.

The request was made under state law 8-30g, which allows developers to circumvent municipal laws and regulations as long as a certain percentage of the project is affordable housing. Local councils must prove that the project poses sufficiently serious health or safety risks that outweigh the need for affordable housing there.

While the project’s architect said the developer tried to design something on a neighborhood scale, and the developer’s traffic engineer said the complex would have minimal impact on area roads, residents weren’t so sure.

Residents and commission members raised concerns about the project at last month’s meeting, primarily about its potential impact on parking, traffic and its scale.

Fallon noted at the time that there were no quantifiable public safety concerns with the project that would outweigh the need for affordable housing in Fairfield.

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