A revised proposal has emerged to build houses, condominiums and an assisted living facility on 41 acres between Long Hill Cross Road and Beard Sawmill Road.
Hawks Ridge of Shelton LLC wants to create a Planned Development District (PDD) to allow for the development on the property, which now is zoned for light industrial use and is next to Wells Hollow Farm.
The plan calls for building 54 single-family homes, a 57-unit condominium/townhouse complex, and a 196-unit assisted living facility.
The property also borders the Route 8 highway to the east and is close to Bridgeport Avenue to the west. The land has access to city sewers and public water. It is owned by the estate of the Wells family.
In general, the single-family houses would be near Long Hill Cross Road and the assisted living facility near Beard Sawmill Road, with the townhouses between them.
Project could be built by 2015
The developer has a contingency deal to buy the land, which means the sale is dependent on receiving the necessary government approvals. The goal is to complete the project in 2015, according to the application.
A PDD is a special zoning classification used for many large projects that can give zoning officials control over many detailed aspects of a proposed development.
The city Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has scheduled a public hearing on the conceptual application for Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Earlier zoning proposal was withdrawn
A previous proposal for the same property was withdrawn earlier this year when it appeared the P&Z was opposed to the idea.
The earlier proposal was split into two parts for zoning purposes, with only the residential part formally presented. The assisted living facility part was to come later.
The number of residential units in the new plan has been reduced, with six fewer single-family homes and 23 fewer multifamily units.
The earlier plan also was presented for a conceptual review, and the P&Z held a public hearing on the proposal. Many objections were raised at that hearing, with some opponents pointing out that the proposed use of the land was inconsistent with the city Plan of Conservation and Development.
Wetlands, waterways on the property
Before the plan went to the P&Z, the Inland Wetlands Commission had approved both parts of the earlier plan on a conceptual basis.
The property includes several areas of wetlands and smaller watercourses, including Wells Hollow Brook, and is a few hundred feet from a major waterway, the Far Mill River.
By asking for a conceptual review by the P&Z, the applicant is seeking a zone change, but many of the specifics of the project would have to be approved at a later time. Inland Wetlands also will need to approve a more specific plan.
Developer presents traffic study
According to part of the application prepared by Tighe & Bond, an engineering firm, the project would have driveway connections with Long Hill Cross Road and Beard Sawmill Road.
This would include a full-access driveway on Long Hill Cross, and both full-access and left-turn-only driveways on Beard Sawmill.
Beard Sawmill Road begins at Bridgeport Avenue, next to the Wells Hollow farm stand and creamery, and goes underneath Route 8 before turning into Far Mill Crossing and connecting with Old Stratford Road.
A traffic study of the area was done by the developer to determine the potential impact, looking at seven nearby intersections during morning and afternoon commute times.
The application says 36 collisions at these intersections have been reported to the police from January 2010 to December 2012, with no fatalities. The most troublesome intersection is Bridgeport Avenue and Old Stratford Road/Commerce Drive.
Some road upgrades would be made
Planned improvements “to increase the capacity of the intersections” would include minor widening and re-striping on Bridgeport Avenue, revising traffic signal timing, and reconstructing a part of Long Hill Cross Road to improve sight lines.
“There will be minimal increase in delay and queuing due to the site-generated traffic,” the study said of the proposed development.
According to the application, the project should generate 108 new vehicle trips per hour during the morning commute, and 141 vehicle trips per hour during the afternoon commute.
By comparison, the application states that building a 190,000-square-foot office building on the site would generate more than twice as many vehicle trips.
Each single-family home would have four parking spaces — two inside a garage, and two outside.
Each condo unit would have two parking spaces — one inside a garage, and one outside. The condo complex would have 114 common area parking spaces.
The assisted living facility would have 180 parking spaces.
As for wetlands, the new plan would create an open space common area around a major wetland between houses and townhouses.
The developer would build a storm water management system that includes water detention areas.