East Haven PZC reflects on Strong Street housing project stipulation

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EAST HAVEN – A housing development on Strong Street is set to be settled after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission met to discuss a proposed stipulation for the judgment.

In 2007, the commission approved a senior neighborhood project for the property for 51 age-reserved units on 14 acres, including a stormwater drainage system designed by the applicant’s engineer. The system has been reviewed and approved by the municipal engineer.


Five years later, Autumn View filed an application with the commission to change the zoning of the project on 17 acres with 105 units. The app removed the age restriction, instead reserving 30 percent of units for low and moderate income households under state law 8-30g.

This request was rejected in March 2013. The request was resubmitted with revisions to the plan and only 102 units, but was again denied in June 2013. The request was then appealed to the Superior Court where, in 2014, a judge allowed the appeal but demanded further analysis of stormwater management.

Over the next two years, the plan was revised to improve stormwater management and a reduction to 98 units. Autumn View then requested a five-year extension of the 2007 site plan, which was approved in April 2016 on the condition that no building permits be issued until an updated drainage plan based on current stormwater management regulations be completed.

This too was appealed, and in September 2016, Autumn View continued with the 98-unit project. The commission denied this in 2017, filing another appeal. In the end, the judge allowed the appeal and ordered approval with conditions of the by-law amendment, zone change and site plan.

In 2019, the appeal was certified by the courts, and the state Supreme Court then declined to hear East Haven’s appeal against a Superior Court ruling in favor of the developer’s plan.

In 2020, the commission approved rezoning, a zoning bylaw amendment to create a mixed-income housing neighborhood, and the 98-unit site plan.

Another request was submitted in 2021 for a regulatory change that would allow for scaled-down development, reducing the density to 69 units with no age restriction or affordable component.

The stipulation, linked to a 2016 appeal, discussed recently by the committee would have ended that, had it been approved.

If agreed, an amendment to the revised zoning by-law for a planned unit development district would be enacted and would replace the current by-law qualifying the property as mixed-income housing development.

The 14.75 acres consisting of 180 and 242 Strong St. would receive this designation while the remaining three acres of 92, 100, 110, 118 and 126 Strong St. would be designated as District R-3, a multiple residential district.

The actions of the commission would become final with the approval of the settlement and the entry of the judgment. The plaintiffs would withdraw the 2016 appeal, waive all claims, rights and approvals arising from previous plans and approvals of a September 2020 decision of the commission.

Also detailed in the stipulation are all aspects that the site should have, including materials that could be used for edging in the development and details that units may have for one or two car garages.

These issues were raised in a recent public hearing, with residents of East Haven saying curbs should not be asphalt but concrete. Another concern was the garages and the number of parking spaces available on the street.

Once again, stormwater management was a major concern. Residents worried about water and pollution from homes ending up in the nearby lake. They were also concerned about the vegetation and wildlife of the lake.

“I am so worried about the structural damage to my house as well as my neighbors,” said one resident. “Stormwater is a big problem. “

Another resident said the water will flow through the properties as the area is hilly and will descend to the lake.

After hearing the concerns and comments, the commission entered into an executive session to discuss the authorization of its lawyer to sign the stipulation.

Further revisions were made to the coating of internal roads and entrances and exits as well as the curvature of the sidewalks. Further clarification was also needed on the subject of one and two car garages.

The lawyer for Autumn View LLC needed to consult with his clients on the revisions and asked if the stipulation could be filed until the February PZC meeting.

“We are beating this to death,” commission chairman William DeMayo said.

Another member asked DeMayo what he wanted to do since the judgment had to be accepted by both parties. DeMayo wanted to know what would happen if the other party didn’t move on items and the commission didn’t approve the stipulation.

Finally, the commission tabled the approval of the stipulation for February after more than two hours of discussion and public hearing.

christine.derosa@hearstmediact.com


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