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Riverwalk Proposal Under Design Review

Published: February 2, 2018

The town’s Design Advisory Board (DAB) is reviewing the aesthetic aspects of The Riverwalk at Sandy Hook Village, a 74-unit condominium complex proposed for an 11.8-acre site on the west side of Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center.

On January 30, DAB members Phil Clark, Peter Cloudas, and Kathy Geckle reviewed plans submitted by local builder/developer Michael Burton, Sr, doing business as Riverwalk Properties, LLC. The DAB is slated to resume its review of the project when it meets at 6 pm on Monday, February 5, at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.

The Riverwalk proposal was scheduled for a Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) public hearing on the night of February 1, after the deadline for the February 2 print edition of The Newtown Bee. Mr Burton is seeking a modified special permit for the project from the P&Z.

The Riverwalk plans under review represent the fourth version of the project. Three previous versions of the multifamily project, which date back to 2008, have been approved by the town, but have never been built.
Mr Burton explained to DAB members how the fourth version of Riverwalk differs in its design from the previous versions.

DAB members asked questions about architectural detailing on the structures proposed for the 11-building project at 10 through 22 Washington Avenue.

Because the project is proposed under the Incentive Housing-10 (IH-10) zoning regulations, 20 percent, or 15 of the dwellings, would be offered to the public as affordable housing, at prices significantly lower than the 59 market-rate units.

Ms Geckle suggested that the complex include a playground area for the children of the people who would live there.

DAB members suggested ways that the project’s appearance would be enhanced by making certain design changes in the buildings’ coloration and surface texture.

Mr Clark suggested that some dormers be added to roof lines to provide visual interest in the design. Mr Cloudas commented on the placement of windows and doors on the structures to improve the buildings’ visual aspect.

Mr Burton said that the proposed complex could become a project that combines condos and rental apartments.

Mr Cloudas commented that the project would be suitable for its location. The site layout appears to be good, he said. The complex would make for a nice neighborhood, he said.

In January 2017, the P&Z approved the third version of Riverwalk, which involved rental apartments, not condominiums. But that version of the project later fell through and was not constructed. That version would have had 65 dwellings.

Initially approved by the P&Z as a 24-unit condominium complex in 2009, under the terms of the Affordable Housing Development (AHD) zoning regulations, that version of the project was never constructed.

In early 2015, the P&Z created the IH-10 zoning regulations, which allow higher residential construction densities, resulting in Mr Burton submitting development proposals with higher construction densities.

The currently proposed version of Riverwalk would be constructed in three phases, with construction lasting an estimated three to four years overall, depending on real estate market conditions, according to the project’s application.

A streetscape-grade sidewalk would be constructed during the second phase of the project. That sidewalk is intended to provide easy pedestrian access for condo complex residents to nearby Sandy Hook Center businesses.

Riverwalk,  large building, elevation drawing_ADJUSTED

This elevation drawing depicts the facade of a large multifamily building at the proposed Riverwalk at Sandy Hook Village on Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center. The complex would contain 74 dwellings, 15 of which would be designated as affordable housing. 

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