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Following review of the fourth version of The Riverwalk at Sandy Hook Village, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members on April 5 unanimously approved a modified special zoning permit for the 74-unit multifamily complex proposed for an 11.8-acre site at 10-22 Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center, near the Pootatuck River.
Voting in favor of the project, which is proposed by local builder/developer Michael Burton, Sr, who is doing business as Riverwalk Properties. LLC, were P&Z members Jim Swift, Barbara Manville, Robert Mulholland, Benjamin Toby, and Corinne Cox. Mr Swift served as P&Z chairman in the absence of Don Mitchell.
The project still requires Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) approval for the discharge of wastewater from 74 dwellings into the central municipal sanitary sewer system. Riverwalk’s third WSA approval allowed wastewater to be discharged from the 65 dwellings, which at that time were planned for the project.
The WSA was scheduled to consider Mr Burton’s request for sewer service for 74 dwellings at Riverwalk at a WSA meeting scheduled for the night of Thursday, April 12.
The Riverwalk project gained a modified wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) on February 28. The Aquifer Protection Agency was not required to review the current version of the project.
Mr Burton initially proposed Riverwalk in 2008, and received a P&Z approval for its construction in January 2009. However, neither that first version of the project, which specified 24 dwellings, nor the second and third versions, which included 74 units and 65 units, respectively, were ever built, although those projects had received the various required town approvals.
Application paperwork for Riverwalk lists the dwellings as condominiums. Mr Burton, however, has said that as the three-phase project is constructed, it could be in the form of both condos and rental apartments.
At the April 5 session, before the P&Z approved Riverwalk, P&Z members had an extended discussion on the provision of a sidewalk to link the multifamily complex to an existing streetscape-style sidewalk located on the west side of Washington Avenue. That streetscape sidewalk currently extends from the main four-way intersection in Sandy Hook Center to the area across from Washington Avenue’s intersection with Crestwood Drive.
George Benson, town planning director, explained to P&Z members that Mr Burton has agreed to build a temporary sidewalk of finely-crushed stone, which would provide sidewalk access for people who live in the first phase of the Riverwalk project. When the second phase of the project is constructed, Mr Burton would build a permanent streetscape-style sidewalk for the overall 74-unit project, which would replace the temporary sidewalk and link the housing complex to businesses in Sandy Hook Center.
Because the Riverwalk project was submitted under the terms of the Incentive Housing-10 (IH-10) zoning regulations, 20 percent of the units, or 15 dwellings, would be designated as affordable housing and offered to people meeting certain income limits at significantly lower prices than the other 59 market-rate units.
According to mapping submitted by the applicant, the first construction phase of Riverwalk would hold 12 townhouses that would contain a total of 32 bedrooms. The second phase would hold 11 townhouses containing 28 bedrooms. The third phase would have 51 dwellings, including five townhouses and 46 flats. The third phase would have a total of 90 bedrooms. On completion, the project would hold 150 bedrooms in 74 dwellings.
P&Z members placed some conditions on the Riverwalk approval.
The applicant’s engineer must work with the town engineer on resolving certain technical details of the construction project. A temporary sidewalk must be constructed during Phase 1 of the project and be linked to the existing sidewalk in the area. A streetscape-style sidewalk must be completed during Phase 2 of the project. Architectural/landscaping recommendations on the project made by the Design Advisory Board must be implemented by the applicant. A final certificate of occupancy for the 74-unit project will not be issued until the streetscape-style sidewalk is completed.
Riverwalk is the second multifamily complex in town approved under the terms of the IH-10 zoning regulations. The first complex to receive such an approval is a 180-unit rental apartment complex now under construction off Covered Bridge Road in Hawleyville.
A third IH-10 project is the Hunters Ridge proposal, which specifies 196 rental apartments, plus commercial space, at 79 Church Hill Road.