[acx_slideshow name=”16 Cross Street Proposed Mixed Use Structure”]
The Post Office won’t agree to move to a proposed new space at 16 Cross Street until the town green-lights the larger project proposed for the site, correspondence shows, a combination of new uses and a site plan whose approval process will kickstart with Tuesday’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
In an email sent Oct. 20 to Town Attorney Ira Bloom, a lawyer representing property owner 3M Capital Trust LLC said “the project is a mixed use development and it is the goal to have part of the first floor used as the new home for the New Canaan Post Office.”
“The USPS apparently does not want to enter into detailed negotiations or an agreement until the project is approved,” Stephen Finn of Stamford-based Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin and Kuriansky said in the email, on file at P&Z. “The project will most likely require at least a couple of meetings before the [P&Z] Commission but for obvious reasons we are hoping to proceed as expeditiously as possible.”
That’s because, or at least partly because, the current Post Office spot at 90 Main St.—though timely, in that it provided a New Canaan location at all, after the Post Office watched its lease at Pine and Park expire with no apparent plan for the future—has been problematic (traffic, parking, hassle).
Plans filed Oct. 17 call for a 3.5-story, mixed-use structure on Cross Street, with 7,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space (say, half for the Post Office, the proposed “anchor tenant”), and 14 residential units on the second, third and fourth floors, totaling about 18,000 square feet. Underground parking would be provided. (See slideshow at top of article for renderings.)
Approval hinges on two main things—changes to the text of the town’s Zoning Regulations for that part of town (for example, to allow for the residential units there) and a special permit application for the site plan itself.
It gets a little complicated here, briefly: New Canaan’s town attorney has decided that the text changes must be made first, though both applications can be heard together. Their approvals can be staggered so that, if P&Z says “Yes” to the project or perhaps leans hard that way, no time is wasted in then turning to the Post Office.
Town Planner Steve Kleppin has said the proposed mixed-use building is in line with the recently updated Plan of Conservation and Development, and has spoken favorably of the overall project in outlining a new vision for Cross and Vitti Streets.
Meanwhile, town officials also have received a “Traffic Access & Impact Study” for the project. Prepared by Frederick P. Clark Associates Inc., it says “the additional traffic added to Cross Street and its upstream intersections will have an insignificant, if any, impact on the overall operation of the nearby intersections, as well as the site driveway.”
“Therefore, based on the results of this analysis, off-site roadway improvements or modification to traffic control will not be needed to accommodate the redevelopment of the subject property.”
Here’s one detail from the traffic study: Right now, the commercial buildings at 16 Cross St. are generating 20 (weekday morning), 11 (weekday afternoon) and 29 (Saturday midday) vehicle “trip ends.” The proposed redevelopment would generate 39, 61 and 45, respectively.