The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has unanimously approved a 14-unit condominium and six-slip marina off River Road.
The approval includes conditions intended to minimize the impact on the adjacent residential neighborhood, particularly Fanny Street.
Among the conditions are that an existing home off Fanny Street being converted into two condo units and marina office must have a design consistent with nearby houses, and construction activity must access the site from River Road.
The Water’s Edge development will involve creating a Planned Development District on a 3.1-acre parcel at 500 River Road (Route 110) and 41 Fanny St. The property abuts the Housatonic River, with a long driveway off River Road, and is just north of the Latex Foam factory.
The developer is Water’s Edge of Shelton LLC, based in Torrington, which also had received approval for the nearby site now being built by Toll Brothers and known as Shelton Cove.
Two lots were joined to create the development site. Parts of the land have been zoned for residential and industrial uses, and 500 River Road now is the site of a vacant, small industrial building.
Previously, the P&Z had taken an informal consensus vote in which all members indicated they would support the proposal. That consensus vote allowed staff to draw up a formal approval resolution with conditions.
During the application process, various adjustments were made to the plan by the developers based on concerns by neighbors, P&Z members and staff.
Many people who live on Fanny Street and nearby roads — such as Anna Street, Victory Street and Jordan Avenue — spoke against the project during the public hearing because they worried it would create too much activity by the public near the waterfront, and bring added traffic.
At that time, a second entrance to the development was to be built off Fanny Street and public access to the riverfront was to be created off Fanny Street. That has now changed.
The approved plan has a locked emergency-access only entrance off Fanny Street, where the driveway can only be 18 feet wide, and there will be no waterfront public access from Fanny Street.
Instead, the public will have to enter using the main driveway off River Road, which also will have a gate. This “limited public access” from River Road apparently will be done by having a lockbox code the public can use but that limits how many non-residents may enter at a time.
The state requires larger developments along the waterfront to provide some public access, which impacted the original proposal as well as the final plan. “It’s something they have to do,” said Tony Panico, city zoning consultant.
The state also mandates the projects have a water dependent use, which in the case of Water’s Edge is the marina slips.
Three of the six boat slips will be made available to the public, a task the new condo association will oversee. The marina will not be a commercial operation.
“The commission is aware of, and sympathetic to, the concerns and desires of the adjacent established neighborhood,” states the P&Z approval.
Water’s Edge will have two buildings with three units each, and three buildings with two units each. The other two condo units will be created from the existing house at 41 Fanny St., using the existing driveway.
The condo units will vary from 2,500 to 2,700 square feet. They are expected to attract upscale buyers and unlikely to bring many young families, minimizing the impact on the school system. There will be 42 bedrooms in the total development.
Each condo unit will have attached two-car garages, plus additional outdoor parking. The total number of parking spaces in the development is 75, including two reserved for the public.
The River Road driveway grade (or steepness) has been made less severe, conservation easements will be created to protect the riverfront, and two benches will be installed near the water for public enjoyment.
Some minor utility work may need to be done from Fanny Street during construction.
The developer will still need to submit final site development plans for approval.