A 24-home development is being proposed on Perry Hill Road, near Walnut Avenue.
Perry Hill Estates is being described as “cluster type of housing,” and would be built at 88 Perry Hill Road, near the Block Farm and Highland Golf Club.
Two parcels totaling 13.5 acres would be combined to create a rectangular site. Two existing houses on the properties off Perry Hill Road would remain and became separate lots.
All the houses in the new development would be on individual lots, with an association formed to oversee some common areas, including the roads.
The land now is zoned for residential use and has about 1.5 acres of wetlands, including a watercourse. A sanitary sewer line runs through part of the property.
It also is hilly, with about a 50-foot drop in elevation from the Walnut Avenue side on the east to the Bridgeport Avenue side on the west. The land contains both fields and woods, and most of it was used for farming in the past.
Wetlands approval being sought
James Swift, an engineer and landscape architect, and developer Ben Perry recently presented initial plans for Perry Hill Estates to the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC).
The developer is seeking IWC approval for the project before going to the Planning and Zoning Commission to apply for creation of a Planned Development District (PDD).
Perry is a local contractor and developer from Shelton. He purchased the Block Farm and is turning a barn there into two residences. He generally has built single-family houses in the past.
Perry has a contingency contract to buy the needed land, based on receiving the necessary land-use approvals.
Small lots and new roads
Swift said the goal is to build “two-bedroom empty-nester-type units, fairly upper end.” He said this should cause a minimal impact on the school system. “These units tend to sell really well,” Swift said.
Most lots would be about 6,000 square feet in size, or less than one-sixth of an acre each. Houses would be as close as 15 feet from each other.
The roads would be privately maintained, and items such as swimming pools and outdoor playground equipment likely would be prohibited.
The initial plans show roads entering the development from Perry Hill Road and Walnut Avenue, but Swift said the Walnut Avenue connection may end up being for emergency-access only due to concerns by neighbors and other reasons.
The Walnut Avenue connection would be just past Beech Street.
Perry is offering to deed a 20-foot strip of land to Walnut Avenue property owners who abut the development to create a buffer, with many of those homes being close to the current property line.
Some land also would be deeded to one of the existing houses on Perry Hill Road.
“Ben has been doing a lot of work with the neighbors,” Swift said.
Three wetlands on the site
The property has three wetland areas, including the watercourse that runs through the center of the project, from west to east. A proposed road would cross the central wetlands and watercourse.
Most of the wetlands would not be disturbed, although parts of six houses would be built in wetland-regulated areas (within 50 feet of the actual wetlands).
The project involves creating two detention ponds to store water after major storms.
Sewer line, conservation easements, trees
The initial plan indicates the extended sanitary sewer would cross a wetlands as well, but there’s a possibility sewer lines could be brought in from both Walnut Avenue and Perry Hill Road to prevent that crossing.
The developer indicated he is open to creating conservation easements to protect certain natural elements from any form of development.
Swift said non-disturbance borders can be delineated during construction, with temporary fencing and hay bales, to protect environmental sensitive areas.
The application includes a landscaping plan, with trees being planted that would grew up to 15 feet in height.
When asked, Perry assured the IWC members no massive tree clearing would take place. Swift said trees to be saved can be marked on a map in advance.
Due to the site’s slope, retaining walls would be built and fill used in certain locations. “It’s fairly steep,” Swift said. “I’ve dealt with worse, but there’s definitely a slope.”
Some blasting may be needed in one corner due to existing ledge.
IWC commissioners questioned the road layout plan, which includes one road that ends without a cul-de-sac (or turnaround area), although they agreed this involves a zoning issue.
The project is likely to be built in three phases, based on the marketability of the homes. The roads probably would be constructed at the beginning. “He’s not likely to do everything at once,” Swift said of the developer.