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Cluster-Style 23-Lot Residential Subdivision Proposed

Two development firms are proposing the construction of a cluster-style residential subdivision that would hold 23 single-family house lots on a 167-acre tract.

Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members have received for review the project known as The Preserve at Newtown from developers KASL, LLC, and IBF, LLC. The firms are represented by local developer/builder George L. Trudell.

The cluster-style development, technically known as an “open space conservation subdivision” (OSCS) is designed to cluster its houses in two separate areas of the sprawling 167-ace site.

About nine house lots would be created along Robin Hill Road #2 extending from Rock Ridge Road near Rock Ridge Country Club in Dodgingtown.

Another cluster of house lots would be constructed on a new dead-end street known as Deer Hill Drive extending southeastward from Scudder Road, across Scudder Road from Cobblestone Lane.

By clustering the houses on relatively small lots, the plans allow 84 acres, or about half of the 167-acre site, to remain undeveloped and protected as open space land.

Documents submitted to the IWC indicate that three large parcels comprise the 167-acre site. The parcels are 63 acres at 16 Robin Hill Road, 70 acres at 19 Robin Hill Road, and 34 acres at 168 Sugar Street.

The “density bonus,” which the OSCS planning regulations provide to applicants whose development designs employ cluster housing to maximize the open space preserved at a site, would allow the firms to create 23 house lots instead of 21 lots.

The minimum lot size for the project would be 35,015 square feet, which is about four-fifths of an acre.

The developers state that they expect it would take about five years for the site’s “build-out,” or time period expected for the project to be fully constructed.

IWC members would review the proposed construction project’s potential adverse effects on wetlands and watercourses, with an eye toward requiring protective measures to safeguard environmental quality.

IWC members said July 23 that a public hearing on the project is tentatively scheduled for August 13.

If the project gains IWC approval, it would be subject to Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) review, including a public hearing.

The Preserve at Newtown is the largest residential subdivision proposed locally since Sherman Woods. The Preserve is the second subdivision proposed locally under the terms of the OSCS planning regulations, with Sherman Woods being the first.

Last October, IWC members approved Sherman Woods, a proposed 42-lot cluster-style residential subdivision on a 158-acre site off Sherman Street in Sandy Hook.

Sherman Woods initially was proposed as a conventional large-lot subdivision in 2009. But IWC members rejected that design, resulting in the developer filing a court appeal which took four years to resolve.

The developers of Sherman Woods have not yet submitted an application for that project to the P&Z.

The OSCS planning rules are intended to reduce “suburban sprawl” by providing a developmental alternative to conventional “large lot” subdivisions. Building lots in such developments are smaller than in conventional subdivisions, thus allowing for relatively larger amounts of open space on a site. The OSCS planning rules require that at least 50 percent of a site be preserved as open space, while only 15 percent of a site must be preserved as open space at conventional large-lot subdivisions.

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