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North Street ‘affordable’ plan down to 8 units

The proposed multifamily site is a triangular parcel with this small ranch house. —Press photo

Revisions by the developer have reduced the density of a vigorously contested plans for affordable housing development from 11 units to 8 units on four-tenths of an acre off North Street.

Plans for stormwater drainage, which had been the subject of scrutiny and criticism from neighbors, have also been revised.

Discussion of proposal for 24 North Street by Ridgefield Modular Home Corp. is scheduled to resume at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the town hall annex.

Town Planner Betty Brosius summarized recently submitted changes to the plans in a Dec. 11 memorandum to Planning and Zoning Commission members. Among the changes she outlined were:

  • “The number of individual units has been reduced from eleven to eight.
  • “There are now six two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units proposed; the four one-bedroom units (which were proposed in two modular units) have been eliminated.
  • “All drainage is now directed to a proposed new system in North Street, connecting to an existing system in Maple Shade Road, and not into nearby wetlands.
  • “The proposed drainage discharge has been shifted from the nearby wetlands that empty toward Copps Hill, and re-directed to a drainage system that empties into the Titicus River.

“New landscape plans were also submitted,” Ms. Brosius said.

“The architecture of the units has been changed, but we do not have revised plans with this submission. It is my understanding (supported by the landscape plan) that the two end units closest to North Street will have front doors facing the street, and the two units immediately behind the front units will face to the north and south, respectively, with front doors facing the neighbors.”

Ms. Brosius told the commission that she would send the revised plans to the town engineer, zoning enforcement officer, wetlands agent, fire marshal, Conservation Commission, Highway Department, Water Pollution Control Authority and the Police Commission.

Next Tuesday’s will be the second public hearing session on the project. About 20 people turned out and six spoke — all against the plan — at the first hearing Nov. 20.

Opponents raised concerns that ranged from density to aesthetics, and devoted much of their testimony to neighborhood drainage problems.

Ridgefield Modular Home Corporation will need to make three of the proposed eight units “affordable” under state guidelines to meet the 30% which qualifies the project for consideration under state statute 8-30g, the controversial affordable housing law.  Under that law the plan needn’t meet  most of the zoning regulations — density, setbacks, etc. — that usually govern new construction.

Attorney Catherine Cuggino, representing Ridgefield Modular Home Corporation, had said at the first hearing session that the development team would be receptive to feedback and seek ways to make the project more acceptable though a collaborative process with town officials and neighbors.

“We’re willing to listen. This is the first meeting,” she’d said.

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  • CTYankee

    Wow, 11 units down to 8 – seems like a big reduction. But did they reduce the square footage by a similar amount or just eliminate some 1 BR units and increase the number of BRs in the 2BR and 3BR units (and increase the impact on the schools). It sounds to me like this was a preplanned “concession” by the developer.
    The current plan is for a total of 18 BR on 1/4 acre. Does any other development in Town have a density this high?

  • George

    So three units total got removed, but four one bedroom units got removed. So they must have added a two or three bedroom unit.

  • http://janrifkinson.blogspot.com Jan Rifkinson

    This and all the other current 8.30g issues could have been avoided had the First Selectman acted in a timely manner by ordering P&Z to do an inventory of our housing which would have then been submitted to the state in application of a four year moratorium. Instead he led from behind (as usual) by requesting this very tedious work & time consuming process to begin AFTER p&z was inundated in 8.30g applications.

    Had he done so, we would have had 4 years to figure out how to fight/change the law or a better way to handle it locally.

    I don’t know whether the First Selectman’s lack of commitment to this looming problem was exacerbated by his connections to the building trades in Ridgefield or it was simply bad leadership.

  • Big Bones McGee

    And to make matters worse, let’s not forget the Eureka/Bennett’s Pond property. The First Selectman stated in a court deposition that if the Town of Ridgefield actually achieves an 8-30 (g) moratorium, it will not apply to the Eureka property.
    Eureka could easily achieve 300 units on that property by providing 90 units, or 30%, affordable housing.

  • http://janrifkinson.blogspot.com Jan Rifkinson

    8.30g […] it will not apply to the Bennett’s Farm development? What? Why not?

    Never heard / read that before. Could you direct me to the source?

    Thank you.

  • Big Bones McGee

    Jan,
    Based on the First selectman’s testimony as contained in a recent court ruling, any 8 30 (g) moratorium the Town acheives can not be used to delay/deny the Eureka development. I will forward you link to the source later.

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