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Rental Apartment Complex Proposed For The Summit

Published: June 22, 2018

Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members on Thursday, June 21, were scheduled to review the parking facilities to be provided for a proposed 20-unit rental apartment complex at 146 South Main Street (Route 25). That P&Z session was slated to start at 7:30 pm, after the deadline for the June 22 edition of The Newtown Bee.

The sloped 2.5-acre site on the west side of South Main Street holds a 18,750-square-foot two-level building known as The Summit at Newtown, whose construction the P&Z approved in July 2014. That approval for the site in a B-2 (General Business) zone allowed there to be up to ten apartments on the upper level and commercial space on the lower level. Because the site is sloped, there is ground-level access to both levels.

An earlier version of the structure had proposed a completely commercial building, with retail tenants on the lower level facing South Main Street and medical office tenants on the upper level facing rearward.

Following business setbacks experienced by its previous owners, the partially-constructed and never-occupied building physically deteriorated due to weathering. Its new owners have repaired the building during recent weeks.

To stimulate interest in some firm acquiring and completing the Summit project, in January, P&Z members approved a unique set of zoning regulations under the terms of the South Main Village Design District (SMVDD) overlay zone. Those regulations apply only to that site.

The unique zoning regulations are known as SMVDD/SDD-6, with the SDD-6 referring to Special Design District-6. The SDD-6 rules allow the entire building to be used for rental apartments, with a maximum number of 20 dwellings permitted, among other possible uses.

In January, George Benson, town planning director, had told P&Z members that The Summit had become a defunct project due to a death and a bankruptcy. The site is not a good commercial location, he then added.

The property earlier this month was sold for $900,000 by General Real Estate Holdings LLC of Danbury to Joseph Voll and Clorinda Parente, co-trustees of Voll Irrevocable Trust.

Mr Voll, is the owner of Worldwide Properties, which is the applicant for the requested parking plan modifications at 146 South Main Street. Under the parking plan modifications, the complex would have 41 parking spaces for its tenants. The previous parking plan called for 57 parking spaces.

In January, P&Z members agreed to give the site the SMVDD/SDD-6 zoning status as mechanism to allow the entire building to be used for rental apartments, which is considered to be a land use more viable than commercial space under current economic conditions. The applicant for the SMVDD/SDD-6 zoning status was former owner General Real Estate Holdings LLC, which is a holding company for the bank that held the property’s mortgage.

Because the site is not near the town’s central sanitary sewer system, the multifamily rental apartment complex would require large-scale septic systems for wastewater disposal. With the sloped site containing much rock ledge, those septic systems would require engineered designs.

Two separate engineered septic systems would be employed for wastewater disposal. One septic system would handle wastewater from 14 units and the other would serve six units. The septic systems are designed to handle a total of 3,000 gallons of wastewater daily. The state Health Department, which regulates septic systems handling more than 2,000 gallons of wastewater daily, has issued a letter of approval for the project’s wastewater disposal, with some conditions and modifcations, according to the town Health Department.

Mr Voll said this week he hopes to have the first ten apartments on the upper level of the building ready for occupancy by August 1, with the second ten apartments on the lower level available by October 1. Mr Voll said he expects to call the complex The Apartments at The Summit.

The rental apartments would be limited to one-bedroom each due to the waste disposal limitations posed by community septic systems. Typically, multifamily complexes are served by municipal sanitary sewer systems.

In their January motion to approve the SMVDD/SDD-6 zoning regulations for 146 South Main Street, P&Z members agreed that the approval is consistent with the 2014 Plan of Conservation and Development and with the Comprehensive Plan.

The SMVDD zoning process allows applicants to propose customized zoning regulations that are tailored to an individual property’s development or redevelopment. The P&Z created the SMVDD zoning regulations in 2007 to foster economic development that is in harmony with New England architecture along the four-mile-long South Main corridor.

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