Hawk’s Ridge wants to level land for potential facility site

The Hawk’s Ridge developers want to level the land where the assisted living facility would be built to make it more sellable.

A.J. Grasso of Hawk’s Ridge of Shelton LLC said the idea is to bring this part of the overall property to “grade level” and indicate where driveways would be located to make it easier to find a company that would build and operate the facility.

The site work would “make it more desirable for an end-user,” Grasso told the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z). Now, he said, it’s “tough to visualize” an assisted living facility there due to the terrain.

Hawk’s Ridge will present a plan that also will include clearing trees and soil erosion control to the P&Z in the near future.

The assisted living facility would be located off Beard Sawmill Road, filling about half of an 11-acre parcel that is part of the overall 41-acre project that includes single-family homes and townhouse condos as well.

Hawk’s Ridge plans to build the residential part itself but sell the assisted living site to another company. Both parts of the project were approved as part of a Planned Development District (PDD) in 2014.

Outside developer is interested

Grasso said a new outside developer has shown interest in the assisted living property after the original one backed out of the project. This new developer is “in that industry” but would not be the actual end-user, and is trying to find a company to operate the facility.

“Our intentions are to sell this for what we’re approved for,” said Grasso, who was joined by attorney Stephen Bellis during his presentation.

Some P&Z members have expressed concern the Hawk’s Ridge development team may move forward with the residential part of the project and not the assisted living facility.

That facility was viewed as a particular plus because it would create jobs and boost the tax base but generate limited traffic and no school-age children.

P&Z members responded favorably to Grasso’s idea to prepare the assisted living facility site, and specific site work approval will now be pursued.

Want all duplexes in condo area

Grasso also unveiled a new building design for the 60 multifamily units he plans to build on the Hawk’s Ridge property.

The developers now want 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 said.

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

Grasso said duplex units would be easier to sell because all of them would 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.

P&Z members appeared to like the idea, as presented by Grasso.

Separate areas

The Hawk’s Ridge development also will include 50 single-family housing units and possibly the 196-unit assisted living facility.

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 will connect them and they will share a clubhouse and pool.

The designated assisted living facility parcel is on another part of the property.
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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 called this location “a major deviation of what was proposed.” The developers are expected to move the two duplexes, as requested by Parkins.

Land was owned by Wells family

Most of the Hawk’s Ridge property previously was zoned for light industrial use. It was owned by members of the Wells family, who recently finalized the 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, as well as Long Hill Cross and Beard Sawmill roads.

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.