As anticipated, the town last week received an application to build a 93-unit housing complex on a combined 2.76-acre vacant wooded parcel on Hill Street.
There’s “adequate water and sewer capacity to serve the proposed multi-family residential community” at 17 and 23 Hill St., according to the Sept. 15 application, filed on behalf of the property’s owners by attorney Christopher J. Smith of Glastonbury-based Alter & Pearson, LLC. The parcels are owned by a limited liability company that has given the same New Canaan address as Karp Associates, a firm owned by developer Arnold Karp.
“The subject property is currently undeveloped,” Smith said in the application. “However, the subject property has been approved for a two-lot residential subdivision. An existing access driveway that crosses on-site inland wetlands and an intermittent watercourse has been constructed as approved with the subdivision. In 2014, the Inland Wetlands Commission approved the regulated activities associated with the subdivision and access driveway crossing. In 2018, IWC approved a modification permit to, in part, increase the width of the pervious pavement of the driveway within the crossing. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the subdivision in 2014 and activities associated with the modification in 2019.”
A group of residents in the area of Hill Street/Brushy Ridge Road in March petitioned the town to revoke the permit, saying it was obtained through deceptive means. Those neighbors have brought in the Army Corps of Engineers, saying that Karp didn’t obtain a required permit from the federal agency. Asked about the status of an application for the after-the-fact permit, Karp Associates officials said it’s in the works.
Fourteen of the dwellings in the proposed Hill Street complex would be rented at “affordable” rates, under the state’s definition, qualifying the project as an affordable development under section 8-30g of the Connecticut General Statutes, Smith said.
Karp currently has two other affordable housing projects before the town, a 102-unit development at Weed and Elm Streets, and a 20-unit residence on Main Street, at the site of the former Red Cross building in the town’s Historic District.
The Hill Street complex will include 44 one-bedroom, 40 two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom apartments, the application said, and “[t]here are 142 parking spaces provided on-site.” A rendering of the development shows a six-story structure.
“The community will have an on-site driveway system, with associated parking, and full-service access on Hill Street,” the application said. “The community’s internal driveway and on-site parking will be private. The traffic associated with the proposed residential community will not adversely impact the level of service at nearby intersections, nor the operation conditions of adjacent roadways. There is sufficient intersection sight distance and stopping sight distance at the subject property’s existing access driveway.”
The voluminous filing includes the application for site plan approval, an application for a text amendment to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations to create a new “Housing Opportunity Zone” and attendant request for a change of zone for the subject properties, as well as maps, surveys, drainage summary, sanitary sewer connect and stormwater reports, and a traffic impact assessment from Solli Engineering of Norwood, Mass. The firm also has offices in Monroe.
The traffic impact assessment’s authors, Solli project manager Collene Byrne and principal Kevin Solli, said in their report, “A traffic impact analysis of the study area was conducted and indicates that the proposed development can be accommodated without adverse impact on the operating conditions of the adjacent roadway network. The development proposes to develop two parcels along Hill Street with 93 multifamily housing units. A full movement stop-controlled driveway on Hill Street will provide ingress and egress to development.”
It concludes, “It is the professional opinion of Solli Engineering that the traffic anticipated to be generated by the proposed development can be accommodated by the surrounding roadway network. There is no indication that the proposed development will have an adverse impact on the operating conditions of the adjacent roadway network.”
The proposed new zone will include “provisions for administrative rules for the dwellings that will be subject to long-term rent restrictions, and these rules are further addressed in an accompanying Housing Affordability Plan, in compliance with Section 8-30g,” Smith said in the application.
“The Town of New Canaan, like other municipalities in the region, has a need for more housing, in particular rental housing, which is available to moderate income households. Although the so-called ‘Ten Percent List,’ maintained by the Connecticut Department of Housing to identity which municipalities are permanently exempt from Section 8-30g, is not strictly speaking a measure of housing need, it is an indication of a municipality’s lower-cost housing stock being governmentally assisted or deed-restricted as shown on the 2021 Affordable Housing Appeals List maintained by DOH, New Canaan’s affordable housing supply falls far short of the ten percent exemption threshold.”
The town currently has an application before the state for a four-year moratorium from the affordable housing law.