Four-story complex including commercial, housing space proposed in Ridgefield

Photo of Alyssa Seidman

RIDGEFIELD — A proposed redevelopment plan for 34 Bailey Ave., the site of the old S.D. Keeler grain elevator building is expected to be discussed at a May 10 public hearing..

This week, the Planning & Zoning Commission received a special permit application from attorney Robert Jewell, who represents the property owner, Bailey Rail and Granary.

The plan involves demolishing existing structures, an environmental remediation of the site, and construction of an 11,000-square-foot, mixed-use building.

The proposed four-story complex would retain the same building envelope as the existing structures, and house 25 market-rate dwelling units and roughly 3,600 gross square feet of commercial space on the first floor. The project includes 44 parking spaces on the north and east sides of the building.

At an earlier meeting, Jewell said his client’s interest in designating the building solely for residential use would require a change of use application.

“Our thought process was Ridgefield’s businesses needed more customers and not necessarily more competition,” he said.

Zoning regulations of the town’s central business district state that new construction must have commercial space on the first floor. Jewell said if commission members favored an all-residential use of the building, it would yield three additional dwelling units on the first floor.

The front portion of the proposed building, which faces Bailey Avenue, will be a recreation of the existing building to preserve the area’s historical feel, and shield the “newer-style” construction from the road, Jewell said in an earlier interview. He said the building would be constructed 10 feet from the street to make way for a sidewalk.

The applicant purchased the property at the end of 2020 and started the planning process, Jewell said. In September, the Inland Wetlands Board unanimously approved the conditions of the plan, noting it would not have a detrimental effect on wetlands or watercourses on- or off-site.

The commission received an application for the Village District Consultant to review the project, which is required since it’s located within Ridgefield’s village district. That application is initially referred to the Architectural Advisory Committee, which performs the duties of the consultant, to provide recommendations and input to planning and zoning.

Commission Chairman Robert Hendrick said members will consider the details of both applications in the weeks ahead.

He expects referral requests to be sent next week to a number of town entities — including the Water Pollution Control Authority, the police and highway departments, the historical society and the Economic & Community Development Commission, among others — so they can review the project.

“A lot of people always ask about other groups weighing in; the answer there is we will,” Hendrick said. “Like other larger projects, it often takes several meetings — could be three, could be five — to make sure that we adequately hear all the information from the applicant and the public.

“The real opportunity for the public to come in (and comment) is at the second or third meeting,” he said.

For more information about the proposed redevelopment, click here.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com