New Canaan P&Z hails new 26-unit OKed multi-family project

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NEW CANAAN — Calling it a fine example of affordable housing construction, the Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a Development of 26 units with four affordable units this week.

The project, first seen in January during a pre-application review, will include five townhouses, an apartment building with 11 units and another with 8 units on 0.73 acres in an area shaped of pie on Burtis Avenue and Cherry Street. Seven primarily residential buildings, totaling 72,627 square feet, will replace five retail structures and parking lots.

The commissioners were very complimentary of the plan.

“If you compare this to two, three other social housing apps, here’s one app, or one design, that really didn’t maximize the site, in the sense of overburdening neighbors and adjacent properties,” said the Commissioner Kent. said Turner.

The commission is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks on a 102-unit development at 751 Weed Street on 3.1 acres with 30 affordable units, as well as a 20-unit complex on 0.34 acres at 51 Main Street in the historic districtt with six affordable units. The commission also received plans for 93 units on 4.7 acres on Hill Street with 28 affordable units.

This project is “moderately dense and there are fewer units than could be built here,” said commissioner Krista Neilson. “This is the first project to successfully implement our inclusive zoning regulations.”

In the initial presentation of the project, the plans called for eight home offices on the ground floor that the commissioners called “Zoom rooms”. Developers promoted the unique design as a way to create a sense of street-level activity without adding new commercial properties that would compete with current housing stock.

Commissioner John Kriz and others have raised concerns about the plans, proposed by nominees Jacqueline O. Kaufman, Carmody, Torrance, Sandak and Hennessey, LLP, questioning whether the plans have long-term viability.

“The commission expressed some hesitation about this and there has been a change, including the addition of a retail outlet, which I think was very appropriate for the site given the adjacency to the center -city,” Kriz said.

The proposal will also provide affordable housing in accordance with the Affordable Housing Regulations, which provides for 15% affordable housing in new residential buildings with more than five units. Affordable housing would be a restricted act for at least 40 years.

Neilson appreciated that the plans used the city’s existing zoning regulations and creative ways.

The approval also stipulates several conditions, including the submission of a Landscape Maintenance Plant Plan, in which “ideally, all plant materials should be native plants”; install a sign to warn of a hidden alley on Cherry Street; and submit a finalized affordability plan that complies with local and national regulations.

“I was very encouraged by the application and the result will be some very nice homes, including housing for people on lower incomes, which is in line with our conservation development plan,” Kriz said.

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