The Brookfield developer is back, offering a new apartment building for Newtown’s historic High Street

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NEWTOWN – A Brookfield architect whose plans for 27 apartments were rejected has returned with new plans for a small apartment building that attempts to replicate the Victorian and Colonial homes of Newtown’s historic South Main Street.

“I think it’s a gateway to South Main Street where the architecture is starting to change,” said developer Robert Sherwood, whose plans were due for review by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday. “I think it’s a nice transition.”

Sherwood refers to new construction plans for a 20-unit, two-story apartment building on a 1.6-acre property at 35 S. Main St., between a scenic stretch of single-family homes to the north and a stretch trade to the south.

The new plans call for a gabled roof with steep pitches, cupules and smaller lampposts, among other residential features.

In January, planners in Newtown unanimously rejected larger plans for a 27-unit, three-storey building, after neighbors complained the scheme would bring too much density and congestion to the area.

At a public hearing in early March on the new plans, some of the neighborhood’s opposition was back.

Resident Wally Thomas said he was concerned about the impact on traffic and urged commission members to “carefully review the traffic study as well as the rest of the plans to make sure everything matches”.

Resident Don Mitchell noted that the South Main Village Design District plans to “protect the distinctive character, scenery and historic structures in the South Main Street Corridor” and said he felt the home on the property was worth the worth preserving.

Dennis Bloom, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said “the existing house is in poor condition.”

Sherwood agreed, saying the house on the property was “not historic or significant.”

“It’s a dilapidated building,” Sherwood said Thursday. “And when I spoke with the owner of the property, he said he couldn’t remember the last time he had a tenant in this building.”

Sherwood’s proposal is one of several modest residential projects proposed in Newtown. In Sandy Hook, a local developer is proposing to extend an 1898 Victorian to create space for a restaurant and offices, and build six apartments behind, for example.

The major residential projects that made headlines in Newtown last year have not made it to the town’s land use commission so far this year.

In July, Newtown awarded the bid to a Boston firm to convert two of the largest former hospital buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus into apartments and commercial space. And in August, Newtown agreed in principle to sell 14 acres to a Greenwich developer to build up to 200 age-restricted apartments on Commerce Road.

rryser@newstimes.com 203-731-3342


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