Millport Apartments

Recent Articles

Specter of Affordable Housing Looms as P&Z Nears Decision on ‘Merritt Village’ Proposal

New Canaan could use an increase in its in-town housing supply, for seniors, young professionals and, in some cases, families, the head of the Planning & Zoning Commission said Tuesday night. Some families want to live in town and “we can’t tell them where to live,” P&Z Chairman John Goodwin said during the commission’s first discussion of the divisive Merritt Village application since the public hearing on it closed. “I am not convinced that there will be an influx which would overwhelm the schools—I just don’t see the demographics going in that direction and the applicant put on the record some demographics there, so some sort of huge school enrollment spike—I am just not convinced,” he said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “I am convinced that a vibrant town needs to meet the demand and the demand right now is for some in-town housing and I know there is a view that New Canaan should ideally never change—I would love that, too, but the reality is that towns do change and I think quite frankly that we have to worry right now about our village. There is a company called Amazon which is the leader in taking share of retail sales. Continue Reading →

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‘A Logical and Mandatory Thing’: Millport Avenue Developers Address Concerns About ‘Loom Factor’ of Four-Story Structures

Though neighbors of the public housing development at Mill Pond and at least one member of the Planning & Zoning Commission had voiced concerns about the height and aesthetics of proposed four-story buildings there—concerns that some now say were well-founded, as the units take shape—the new structures will look better once they’re finished with stonework, balconies, trim and landscaping, the project’s architects say. At least as importantly, given the need for elevators and the challenges of expense and space that they bring—particularly when dealing with affordable housing—going “up” in height and leveraging density is an economic and architectural reality, according to Scott Hobbs, chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority Commission. “In the case of affordable housing, it is especially tricky because it is hard to make it work economically even with seed money from the town and grants from the state,” Hobbs told NewCanaanite.com. “It’s still hard to make it work and you need to get to density, otherwise you cannot pay for the construction. At the end of the day four stories, while large, is still within what is acceptable. Continue Reading →

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‘A Real Good Moment for New Canaan’: Officials Break Ground on New Affordable Housing on Millport Avenue

Lifelong town resident Scott Hobbs recalls that New Canaan was more economically diverse when he grew up here than it is today. And due to the success of the town, “we seem to become less and less economically diverse,” Hobbs, chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority, said Wednesday. “So the more that we are able to provide housing and have the people who work in the community actually live here, too, creates a healthier community,” Hobbs said from the site of a widely anticipated project that will see the affordable units that overlook Mill Pond expanded and built with greater density. A handful of town officials attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the Millport Avenue Apartments. The Housing Authority is now completing a phased redevelopment of the site, starting with 33 new affordable housing units, with 40 more to come. Continue Reading →

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Officials: Millport Building Project on Track, Relief from Developer Loophole in Sight

The first phase of a large-scale plan to create more public housing at Mill Pond is underway and on track for completion by year’s end, officials say—a widely anticipated project that’s expected to trigger temporary relief for New Canaan from a state law that allows developers to skirt local planning decisions. Under the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, towns where less than 10 percent of the housing stock qualifies as “affordable” by the state’s definition (New Canaan’s is at about 2.4 percent), developers may bypass Planning & Zoning by designating a percentage of units within proposed new structures as affordable. Ten percent is a rigorous standard that towns such as New Canaan are unlikely to meet, mostly because the state in calculating “affordable” lumps the town into the sprawling geography of the “Norwalk-Stamford Metropolitan area.”

Yet there’s a way to get relief under a provision (a complicated provision) in the state law. Under the provision, types of housing are assigned a certain number of points based on variables such as how much they cost (in mortgage payments or rent) and whom they serve (seniors or families). If a town amasses enough “housing unit equivalent” points, it can earn a four-year exemption. Continue Reading →

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Faces of New Canaan: Kara Laviola

The plan to rebuild with greater density the public housing units “up the hill” at Millport Avenue has gained traction since last November. The New Canaan Housing Authority board has held regular meetings—there’s another one scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday—to discuss and prepare for the physical work, when families that reside there will face a dramatic if temporary change in their lives. Some time soon, these New Canaanites will move into new units built within an expanded footprint at Millport while their homes are razed and rebuilt.

Although this will be adjustment for the residents of Millport, many are excited about the upside of the project, according to New Canaanite Kara Laviola. As a resident there trusted by her neighbors and well-attuned to what’s happening, Laviola has been appointed a resident representative during the project. We spoke to her about the rebuilding and her experience living in New Canaan. Here’s our conversation. Continue Reading →

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