Cheshire PZC closes public hearing on residential development

CHESHIRE — The Planning and Zoning Commission closed a public hearing Monday on a proposed 13 unit residential development at 589 South Main St. without voting on the plan. The PZC is expected to continue its deliberations on the plan at a meeting early next month.

Speaking for the developer, Core Development, LLC, Attorney Anthony Fazzone called the project a “high quality development that will be a nice addition to Route 10.”

Fazzone said the developer is not sure whether the units will be rental or condominiums.

Engineer John Milone of Milone & MacBroom said Core Development had made several changes to its original plan, including reducing the size of the units by 25 percent, moving the complex’s entrance and exit from Elmwood Drive to South Main and reconfiguring its layout to a “village cluster” style to conserve space and increase its aesthetic appeal.

“The plan is dramatically improved from the original,” he said. “We’re much happier with it.”

Commissioner Gilbert E. Linder agreed that the “revised plan is much improved,” but said he had concerns about an exit road leading on to South Main. He said he had no issue with residents entering the development from South Main, but suggested a separate exit.

Neighbor Ken Smoil agreed. “It’s already insane trying to get down that road,” he said. “Are they gonna push more people on to it?”

Core’s representatives responded that the development’s original designs had its egress on Elmwood and said they are open to having it on either road or having a separate entrance and exit.

Local energy efficiency activist and former Town Councilor Tim White asked whether the commission has the ability to regulate the development’s “energy footprint.” Town Planner William A. Voelker said the commissioner can not do so because it does not have specific statutory authorization.

Smoil said he was also upset at Fazzone’s revelation in his opening remarks that the applicant was keeping the open the possibility of establishing rental units instead of condominiums as was initially stated. “This is the first we’re hearing about this, and we were already concerned about property values,” he said.

However, resident Mark Nash, who owns tenant properties on South Main Street, said he took issue with the “negative characterization of rentals.” He said he supports the project because it will raise the market value in Cheshire for rentals, enabling him to raise his own rents.

“It looks to me to be an asset that in the long run will probably benefit the town,” he added.

Fazzone said Core Development still intends to build condominiums but simply doesn’t want to be locked in to that plan. “Ownership is not a zoning issue,” he told the commissioners.

Asked if his position was that the commission could not approve the application with the condition that the units are condominiums, Fazzone said he does not believe it has that authority.

After further discussion, Chairman Earl Kurtz III said members need more time to consider the information presented by the applicant and would not be voting on the application. The matter is expected to be considered again at the commission’s May 5 meeting. (203) 317-2242 Twitter: @JeffGebeauRJ

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