Date: Fri 07-May-1999
304-Unit Apartment Complex Proposed For Hawleyville
BY ANDREW GOROSKO
A Wilton development firm has submitted a proposal to build in Hawleyville the
largest private residential housing complex ever proposed locally - a rental
apartment project containing 304 units, 76 units of which would be designated
as affordable housing.
Applicant Avalon Bay Communities, Inc, is proposing Avalon at Newtown, a
multi-story complex of 11 buildings on 40.7 acres with frontage at 178 Mt
Pleasant Road. The irregularly shaped lot on the north side of Mt Pleasant
Road abuts the Bethel town line. The land is steep, rocky and heavily wooded.
The property is owned by M&D, LLC. According to town land records, Richard S.
Kloss of Thomaston sold the land to M&D in January 1998 for $525,000.
Attorney Stephen Wippermann, who represents M&D, LLC, declined to identify the
members of the limited liability corporation, but said they are "local
Avalon submitted simultaneous applications to the Conservation Commission and
the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on April 30. An application to the
Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) will also be required.
First Selectman Herbert Rosenthal said of the proposal Tuesday, "My initial
reaction is I'm not in favor of it.
"I think the town needs to be conscious of affordable housing... [but] I'm
certainly not in favor of tremendous density. To me, it would seem like it is
much too dense a development."
P&Z Chairman Daniel Fogliano was not available for comment.
The Conservation Commission and P&Z are expected to conduct public hearings on
the development application in the coming months.
The developer is seeking a wetlands construction permit from the Conservation
Commission, which serves as the town's inland wetlands agency.
Avalon is also seeking an amendment to the zoning regulations, a change of
zone, and a site plan approval from the P&Z.
In its application, Avalon seeks to create a new zoning designation known as a
Housing Opportunity Development (HOD) zone. The proposed zone would be
customized to allow the specific development proposed by the applicant. The
application proposes much higher construction densities than currently allowed
by the town.
If P&Z approves a zoning amendment allowing an HOD zone, Avalon would then
seek to change the existing Professional and R-2 Residential zoning for the
property to an HOD zone. If that change of zone is approved, the applicant
would then seek a site plan approval from the P&Z.
Avalon proposes designating an open space area for passive recreation adjacent
to the Bethel town line.
The developer submitted the application to the town under the terms of the
state's Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Act. Affordable housing units are
reserved for families which fall under certain annual income limits.
Language in the development application leaves it unclear whether the
apartments designated as affordable housing would be offered for sale.
Avalon proposes constructing 11 apartment buildings. Ten of those buildings
would contain 28 apartments each. Those buildings would be constructed on
slopes, with three stories at the front elevation and four stories at the
rear, including a walk-out basement level. Above the third story, there would
be a loft level.
One of the 11 buildings would be three stories tall and include 24 apartments.
The complex would contain 124 one-bedroom, 110 two-bedroom and 70
three-bedroom apartments, for a total of 554 bedrooms. The complex would have
608 parking spaces, with the potential for up to 733 spaces.
The development would be served by a planned sewer line which will extend from
the Bethel town line to The Homesteads at Newtown, a planned 298-unit housing
complex for the elderly that lies east of the Avalon site.
A public water supply would be extended to the Avalon property.
Avalon Bay Communities is a major apartment development firm. It is a partner
of Becker and Becker Associates, Inc, of New Canaan, in one of four bids to
acquire and redevelop the state's Fairfield Hills core campus off Mile Hill
Road in Newtown.
In Connecticut, Avalon Bay has developed apartment complexes similar to the
one proposed for Hawleyville in Wilton, Trumbull, Danbury, Stamford, Hamden
"Our consultants have estimated that revenues generated from Avalon at Newtown
will far exceed any costs to the Town of Newtown," the application states. The
applicant lists as benefits of the project: significant municipal revenue from
annual real estate and personal property taxes; a contribution toward
construction costs of the Hawleyville sewer extension; and the creation of 275
construction jobs, eight permanent jobs and various "spin-off" jobs for area
The presence of the apartment complex would have "no effect on neighborhood
property values," according to the developer. The detailed application
includes a traffic study and architectural plans, as well as site development
plans. Milone and MacBroom, Inc, of Cheshire is the engineering firm
representing the developer.