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.
Oh my goodness, how awful!!!
For those interested in learning more about the overall housing discussion a group called Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunity is running a forum on Sept 21st at the Nature Center from 7pm to 8pm hosted by Former Darien First Selectman Evonne Klein with Hearst Commentator Hugh Bailey – here is his latest opinion piece https://www.ctpost.com/columnist/article/Hugh-Bailey-Pity-the-richest-CT-towns-17446428.php.
Here is the signup link – appears tickets needed for entry but it is a free event https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-canaan-talks-housing-tickets-416033406117?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reminder_attendees_48hour_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemaileventremind
Thanks, Giacomo, for this information.
The forum will take place tonight (Wednesday, September 21 from 7 to 8pm) at the New Canaan Nature Center 144 Oenoke Ridge from 7:00-8:00 pm
NOTE: The forum is in person only
Residents are encourage to submit questions on housing, zoning and 8-30g.
To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-canaan-talks-housing-tickets-416033406117
As an abutting neighbor of Arnie’s Hill St, property there is so much that I find wrong with this proposal but what I find most wrong is his egregious abuse of town gov’t in his attempt to get what he wants. There are very good people who sit on the Inland Wetlands Commission and they do a job that most of us would never even consider doing, certainly not me! They will rightly tell you, as they have told our group the New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development (NC RADD), that they can only rule on the information that is in front of them when considering applications like the ones that Karp has filed on this property over the past 8 years. So when someone comes in and is willing to lie to the IWC they do not have the ability to investigate beyond what is presented to them. And when Arnie tells them at their meeting in OCT 2018 the following; https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p_vRVEFg8f2C6u1Gs04HppvrgNcBeT-7/view?usp=drivesdk
They really have no way to challenge that. But I believe there is plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to suggest that he has been lying this whole time.
First, in one of the hottest housing markets we have seen in a very, very long time he never introduced any plans to build the two houses he professed were his “intention”. Instead he waited until the town’s moratorium had expired to begin work on this property and only now to come in with his first development proposal for this property. That is not a coincidence!!
Second, while his permit from the IWC allows the construction of a 16’ wide driveway, he has always had the intention of building it to the 20’ that he needs to meet code for a large multi-family development. The driveway as currently built can be seen here; https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-BQzC3v1h8I6MwHL-zGIJsQxA2-o10IW/view?usp=drivesdk and here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1obfGc2E9UL71yuqr14keVXT8RjuxR1sX/view?usp=drivesdk Note the fact that the large boulders on each side of the drive were cut with a special saw over the course of two weeks in order to open the driveway surface area to over 20’. If his plan was truly for a 16’ driveway he would not have spent the time and money to cut those top boulders.
These are just two examples that I believe demonstrate that Karp has been lying this whole time. We have shared all of this with the IWC but their position has always been that they cannot read Karp’s mind to know his true intentions. Now the other shoe has dropped and there is no longer any doubt that what our group has been saying this whole time was absolutely correct. The IWC has the ability to stop this egregious abuse in its tracks and I urge them to do so.
We ask too much of our volunteer town committees and get too little straight talk from our elected leaders. As a starting point everybody should ask your Representative to Hartford (and the people running against them this November) where they stand on this issue (the issue is easily framed as do they support a legal system – the Legislature makes the laws after all – which allows a 5-6-7 story building to go up right next to your home no matter what the existing zoning is).
If those individuals give you a long answer that says nothing, give you no answer, or punt you know exactly what the answer is. If town residents think this is just an issue for homes on town sewer / water – look more closely at the case in Woodbridge – the property in question there is not on town sewer. New Canaan already has 2 large facilities that function properly that are not on town sewer – ironically that might be easier for New Canaan to handle as it would not have the daily demand on the sewer plant, which a connected development would.
And yes, developers in and out of town (and the Town of New Canaan) already have suitable properties both on and off the sewer for additional developments – this material is all within the town GIS data and easily searchable despite the use of LLC’s in many cases.
We’re closing this thread and I would ask readers in the future to please not try to use the comments area for politicking, campaigning or otherwise shilling on behalf of candidates. We make our advertising platform available to all of those seeking elected office. Since last year we’ve disabled comments on election-related articles and starting now we’ll reject submitted comments that try to shoehorn campaigning into our threads. Thank you.