Cluster Housing Complex Proposed For Castle Hill

A local development firm is seeking preliminary approvals for the construction of a cluster housing complex that would be the largest newly proposed residential project in more than a decade.

According to documents filed with the town public works department, GLT Development Corporation is seeking preliminary approvals from the Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) to provide sanitary sewer service for the proposed 136-house project in the borough.

The street addresses for the 136-acre property are 20 Castle Hill Road and 60 Castle Hill Road. Both the 66-acre 20 Castle Hill Road parcel and the 70-acre 60 Castle Hill Road parcel are owned by the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation. The properties have R-1 (Residential) zoning

The 60 Castle Hill Road parcel has extensive undeveloped lake frontage on the southeast section of Taunton Lake. A small section of that parcel lies outside the borough.

George L. Trudell II, the president of GLT Development, said this week that project planning is in the early stages. He said he is reviewing an analysis of the terrain.

Mr Trudell said that the project, which does not yet have a working name, would fit the requirements of the Residential Open Space Development (ROSD) zoning regulations, which were created by the Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) last May.

More than half of the 136-acre site would be reserved as open space land that would remain undeveloped, he said. That acreage would lie nearer to Taunton Lake, with the house construction occurring in an upland area.

The project would be served by sanitary sewers, a public water supply, and natural gas service, he said. The site has vehicle access from Johnnie Cake Lane, near Mt Pleasant Road.

Vehicle access to the 136-acre site is under review, he said, adding that access certainly would be provided at Johnnie Cake Lane.

Mr Trudell said that the complex would be “multigenerational,” providing various types of single-family houses for people across the age spectrum. The complex would not be age-restricted and would not have an “affordable housing” component, he said.

The price of the various dwellings would range from about $300,000 to about $600,000, he said. There would be two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom dwellings, he said.

Real estate market conditions are suitable for GLT to embark upon such a residential development project, Mr Trudell said.

He said that the complex would amount to “a spectacular development” that has “beautiful views.”

“It’s a beautiful piece of property… It fits the [ROSD zoning] regulations to a ‘T’,” he said. The Taunton Lake shoreline area would be protected from development, he stressed.

Fred Hurley, town director of public works, said that a WSA public hearing on GLT’s sewer application is tentatively scheduled for March 14.

At that session, the WSA would hear public comments on GLT’s proposal to redraw the boundaries of the municipal sanitary sewer district to include the land proposed for residential development.

In a January 22 letter to Mr Hurley, Daniel Kroeber of Milone & MacBroom, Inc, which represents GLT, wrote it is expected that the complex would generate about 40,000 gallons of wastewater daily.

The topography of the site would require a combination of gravity-powered sewers and pressurized sewers to provide sewer service to all the proposed dwellings, Mr Kroeber wrote.

If GLT receives preliminary approval from the WSA for sewers for the project, the developer would then need to obtain development approvals from local land use agencies before receiving final sewering approval from the WSA, Mr Hurley said.

In a January 30 letter to Mr Trudell, the Aquarion Water Company stated that it has sufficient water available in its local water supply system to meet the demands of the proposed complex.

In a January 23 letter to Mr Trudell, Jean St Jean, the borough’s zoning officer, wrote that the residential project appears “feasible” provided that it meets the terms of the various applicable land use regulations.


Recent Regulations

Last May, the Borough Zoning Commission approved the ROSD rules, which permit single-family houses to be “clustered” on a site, thus allowing a large amount of undeveloped open space land to be preserved at that site.

Under the ROSD rules, at least 50 percent of a parcel needs to be preserved as open space land under the terms of a “conservation easement.” Such open space would be allowed to contain trails, bicycle paths, picnic tables, docks, and storage for boats without motors.

The ROSD rules effectively created a mechanism through which residential development could occur at the 136-acre site, but well away from the environmentally sensitive lake’s shoreline.

The ROSD rules also apply to least two other properties in the borough. The rules pertain to any land parcel, or contiguous parcels, that are larger than 25 acres and that lie entirely in a residential zone.

The ROSD rules allow for greater flexibility and creativity in the design of single-family-house developments to preserve larger open space areas and the natural features of land parcels.

Under the terms of the ROSD rules, clustered, detached single-family houses could be built with either attached or detached garages. Such sites would be maintained at the expense of a private homeowners’ association, similar to a condominium association.

The rules allow the construction of a clubhouse, community center, cabana, picnic pavilion, swimming pool, tennis court, or other passive or active recreation facility. Such facilities would be used by the people living at the complex.

The GLT development proposal would be subject to comment by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is the borough’s planning agency. Also, the project would be subject to regulation by the Inland Wetlands Commission.

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