Hawk’s Ridge developer wants multi-family units to be all duplexes

One of the developers of the Hawk’s Ridge project off Long Hill Cross Road has unveiled a new building design for the 60 multi-family units he plans to build as part of the development.

A.J. Grasso of Hawk’s Ridge of Shelton LLC now wants to make all of these units duplexes, and generally provide 16 to 20 feet between each of the two-unit residential structures.

“I’d like to keep it all duplexes,” Grasso told the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) at the March 10 meeting.

Earlier conceptual drawings had shown larger structures, with four to six attached units per overall building.

The duplexes would generally be 60 feet wide, or 30 feet in width per housing unit, depending on the exact design.

Grasso said duplex units would be easier to sell because all of them will be end units, with no interior units, which are less marketable. He also said duplexes would allow for better back yards due to lot design issues.

Grasso and his attorney, Stephen Bellis, were looking for feedback from P&Z members on the idea of building all duplexes for the multi-family units, which technically are condominiums.

P&Z members reacted favorably to the idea.

Separate areas

The Hawk’s Ridge (also Hawks Ridge) development also will include 50 single-family housing units and possibly a 196-unit assisted living facility. It is to be built on the 41-acre site

The single-family homes and townhouse-style duplexes will be located in separate areas, with different road entrances off Long Hill Cross Road, although at least one road would connect them and they will share a clubhouse and pool.

The condo area will have three different duplex designs, largely defined by the location of the garage.
(Story continues below)

Grasso said he was uncertain how many of the units will have first-floor bedrooms. He said while most people say they want first-floor master bedrooms, due to first-floor space availability these bedrooms have to be smaller and also impact the size and design of the kitchen and family room — which, in the end, means people who thought they wanted them end up not getting them.

The designated assisted living facility site is on another part of the property, off Beard Sawmill Road.

A.J. Grasso owns Shelton-based Prestige Builders and also lives in Shelton. He has built other similar type developments in Shelton, which have been considered successful and largely targeted to empty-nesters or professionals with no children.

Location concerns

The newest proposed design also included two duplexes nearer the single-family housing area, close to Long Hill Cross Road, which led to objections by P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins.

Parkins said these multi-family units must be closer to the other ones, and not so close to the single-family homes. She called the proposed location “a major deviation of what was proposed. Those two [structural] units belong in back.”

The developers, who are working with P&Z staff on the final site plan, are expected to move the two duplexes as requested by Parkins.

She said it was an indication of the challenges involved in placing so many residential units in such a dense area.

Zoning approval status

In 2014, the P&Z approved rezoning the site as a Planned Development District (PDD) to allow for the Hawk’s Ridge mixed-use development, and now is in the final stages of reviewing the specific site plan for residential parts of the project.

Most of the property previously was zoned for light industrial use. It was owned by members of the Wells family, who recently finalized sale of the 41 acres to Hawk’s Ridge.

The site is behind Wells Hollow Farm and between Bridgeport Avenue and the Route 8 highway. It borders Long Hill Cross Road, Route 8 and Beard Sawmill Road, and comes close to Bridgeport Avenue.

The P&Z is expected to vote on the Hawk’s Ridge final site plan for the residential areas at a meeting in April