Commission ready to back 30-unit affordable housing project on Danbury Road

A 30-unit, age-restricted affordable housing project proposed for just over three acres off Danbury Road won the preliminary approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Board Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The commission voted unanimously to have a formal resolution of approval drafted by the Planning and Zoning Director Richard Baldelli and presented to the commission for a final vote at its Nov. 7 meeting.

A similar approach was taken by commissioners acting as the Inland Wetlands Board on a related summary ruling application to allow earth work in an upland review area near a wetland.

The development is proposed by CGP at Danbury Road LLC — the Charter Group Partners development group that built the 77 Sunset Lane “coach homes” project.

The age restriction would limit units to people 55 and older.

There was a brief discussion, with commissioners acknowledging concerns raised by opponents at the public hearing, but also praising the proposal as a well conceived use of the state’s 8-30g affordable housing law. The state law allows most zoning rules to be ignored for developments with 30% of residential units set aside for people who meet state income guidelines.

Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti noted that, despite the flexibility allowed under 8-30g, the plans conform to regulations for building height and setback distances.

“It meets everything but density,” she said.

“Many comments by the public were legitimate,” said commissioner John Katz, “but there were no objections or contraventions made that rise to the level of overriding the need for affordable housing — and that’s what the courts look at …

“I object to the plastic siding,” he added, “but what the hell.”