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A development firm that wants to construct a large multifamily rental complex at a 35-acre site near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84 has informed the Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) that it will wait to learn the results of an ongoing WSA study on the town’s remaining sewage treatment capacity.
An attorney from Shipman & Goodwin, a Hartford law firm, had been scheduled to attend the WSA’s May 11 meeting to discuss the sewage capacity topic on behalf of its client — the development firm known as 79 Church Hill Road, LLC.
However, the lawyer did not attend the session. In a May 11 letter to the WSA, attorney Christopher Smith wrote, in part, that because the WSA is having a sewage treatment capacity analysis performed, “It would be more practical and efficient to wait for this technical information to be finalized. This will enable my client to generate a [development] proposal based, we hope, on such information.”
In April 2015, WSA members unanimously rejected 79 Church Hill Road, LLC’s, controversial request for multifamily sanitary sewer service for 79 Church Hill Road. Although the developer never specified the number of dwellings being proposed, the firm’s gallonage request reflected sewer service for 350 dwellings. That WSA sewer application drew intense opposition from people living near the site.
Town Public Works Director Fred Hurley said earlier this month that a potential application from 79 Church Hill Road, LLC, for rental apartment construction, under the terms of the Planning and & Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) Incentive Housing-10 (IH-10) overlay zone regulations, could range as high as 225 apartments.
IH-10 zoning regulations require that at least 20 percent of the units in a high-density housing complex be designated as affordable housing units, and be rented to eligible tenants at reduced rates.
In 79 Church Hill Road, LLC’s, previous attempts to develop the site, its representatives had mentioned pursuing the construction project under the terms of the state’s Affordable Housing Appeals Act (AHAA). That approach could potentially result in a multifamily project with many more than 225 dwellings.
The developer’s reluctance to state in its past sewer application how many dwellings it was actually seeking to build caused concern among town officials.
Mr Hurley told WSA members May 11 that as a safeguard, the developer would be required to submit a formal application to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) stating the actual number of dwellings proposed for a multifamily housing complex before the developer seeks WSA approval for sewer service.
“They need to go to the P&Z first with a ‘real’ project,” Mr Hurley said. “An actual filed application with the P&Z would trigger an application at WSA,” he said.
Procedurally in the past, when a developer sought sewer service for a large project, the developer would initially obtain a “preliminary approval” for sewage treatment capacity from the WSA. Following that, the developer would file applications with land use agencies, gain approvals from those agencies, and then return to the WSA for a “final approval.”
Mr Hurley said he expects that WSA members would meet with 79 Church Hill Road, LLC, representatives to discuss sewage treatment capacity issues after the WSA’s ongoing capacity study is completed.
Three Walnut Tree Hill Road residents attended the May 11 WSA session to learn about the developer’s interest in building a multifamily complex in that area.
The undeveloped roughly triangular site is bounded on the south by Church Hill Road, on the east by Walnut Tree Hill Road, on the north by seven properties along Evergreen Road, and on the west by westbound I-84 and its Exit 10 interchange.
The past proposal to build a large multifamily complex at the site drew stiff opposition from some Walnut Tree area residents who charged that the presence of such a project would pose environmental problems. They also raised construction density issues, saying that the southern section of Walnut Tree already holds the adjacent 212-unit Walnut Tree Village age-restricted condominium complex.
Besides WSA approval, a multifamily residential project would require approvals from the P&Z, the Inland Wetlands Commission, and the Aquifer Protection Agency.