West Haven Medical Center plan threatened by Allingtown parking lot tug of war

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City Council members have expressed concern that a developer’s request to set aside 12 parking spaces on Cellini Place for a new walk-in medical center would deprive residents of some basic quality of life – like a convenient parking spot right next to a newly redeveloped green space in the Allingtown section of town.

Developer Acorn Group, which has built several mixed-use buildings in Allingtown, appeared before the Board of Police Commissioners in January seeking approval for the Cellini Place area to receive designation as a medical area . As part of the redesignation, rumble strips will be installed to encourage cars to drive at the now reduced speed limit of 15mph. However, the developer’s request to include 12 parking spaces in front of the building as part of its lease may be a bridge too far for some council members, who hope to preserve public access to downtown Allingtown.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we tell our residents they can’t go to the park,” council chairman Peter Massaro said.

Despite the impending installation of rumble strips, speeding is an issue in downtown Allingtown. Several council members noted that crossing the street in the area is dangerous, especially for a resident with reduced mobility.

Gary Letendre, vice president of developer Acorn Group, pushed back on board deliberations over asking Acorn to renegotiate its 15-year lease with Hartford HealthCare to preserve six of the street’s 12 spaces as free for residents at all times. time.

“When we met with Hartford HealthCare in May, we were told they needed X number of spaces,” Letendre said.

Letendre said the process of getting approvals “started about five months ago” and included several public hearings.

“Our goal in working with the mayor, the police commissioners, was to keep (Hartford HealthCare) in West Haven,” he said. “They came to us and said they would find a deal or go to Milford or Orange.”

Several board members said they were willing to take the risk.

“I don’t see how a business like this is going to leave town on six squares,” said Councilman Gary Donovan, chairman of the streets and squares committee.

“I think that will be a problem,” Letendre said. “During the day, they are going to need these parking spaces. It’s not a 15 minute deposit. These are patients who arrive.

Massaro said having all 12 spaces in Cellini Place reserved by Hartford HealthCare would not make sense from a planning perspective.

“Why would we do the Green over so that it looks good for the people of this neighborhood and they can’t use it? Why put benches there, why put a Christmas tree there and all that? he said. “You have to give a little, take a little.”

As council members discussed the matter with Letendre, the developer expressed frustration that he had “done everything right” going through the city’s approval processes.

“They spent a lot of money on architecture and design so I’m coming back to them now,” Letendre said.

Councilwoman Bridgette Hoskie challenged Letendre that Acorn Group often blames the city in public hearings, making the West Haven government the “bad guy” while Acorn Group pays substantial taxes, but “conveniently” does not mention that the developer received multi-year tax abatements for the development of the city’s mixed-use buildings.

“You miss the point,” Letendre said.

“No, you miss the point,” Hoskie said. “How dare you tell me that?”

Letendre threw up his hands and walked away from the lectern as Donovan thanked him for his time.

“There are two different stories ahead of us and someone is telling the wrong story,” Councilor Robbin Watt Hamilton said.

Following the meeting, Mayor Nancy Rossi said she would like to see the city “sit down and try to work it out” with the developer.

“If we try to work together, I’m sure we’ll find common ground and make sure there’s parking for residents and we don’t lose this great development in front of us,” she said. declared.

Hartford HealthCare officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

brian.zahn@hearstmediact.com


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