Affordable housing threat leads to Ferry Boulevard approval

The Zoning Commission approved a controversial large apartment proposal for Ferry Boulevard on Jan. 30, with the developer having filed an affordable housing application on the property.

By a 5-0 vote, the commission passed the project in a resolution that includes a provision prohibiting any affordable housing plan from being pursued at the 2.5-acre site in the future. The resolution also requires the developer to withdraw the pending affordable housing application.

The motion will allow 119 units in two buildings to be constructed at 382 Ferry Blvd. and Willow Avenue. The building closest to Ferry Boulevard will include 1,254 square feet of ground-floor commercial space that can be converted into two additional residential units if not rented within two years, for a total of 121 units.

The commission has denied two previous applications on the parcel, for 131 and 119 units. The earlier proposals called for three buildings on the property.

The developer, Rolling Thunder II, was appealing the denial of the earlier 119-unit application in Superior Court. In the meantime, the developer had filed an affordable housing application under state statute 8-30g for a 143-unit complex that had yet to be heard by the Zoning Commission. State statute 8-30g allows housing developers to circumvent local zoning laws in municipalities where less than 10% of the available housing stock is affordable.

The vote came after the commission discussed the proposed settlement for more than an hour behind closed doors in executive session. The regular meeting then resumed and a vote was taken.

“I’m a happy man,” developer representative Nick Owen said after the approval vote. “It was a long road.”

Before the executive session, Assistant Town Attorney John Florek told Zoning Commission members they needed to discuss a “proposed settlement” in Rolling Thunder’s lawsuit. He said the executive session — closed to the public and press — would allow them to learn about “a pending claim and litigation” and be an opportunity to “talk frankly about the strengths and weaknesses of the case” and the town’s legal strategies.

Four of the five members voting on the resolution had not been on the commission when it denied the previous applications. The makeup of the commission changed in the November 2017 election.

The commission’s vote is subject to approval by the judge who is hearing the Rolling Thunder legal appeal.

The plan approved by the commission is quite similar to the 119-unit application denied last year, but has one fewer building and certain other restrictions. The denied plan had 140 parking spaces.

Most nearby residents have opposed the apartment complex proposals, fearing the buildings would tower over their neighborhood of single-family homes. They also are worried about increased traffic and on-street parking.

The property is where the commission previously approved a repair, office and warehouse facility for AAA Northeast, a decision that later was overturned in court after a successful appeal by neighbors.

Portions of the land are in two different zones — one for commercial use near Ferry Boulevard and one for smaller residential lots in the rear. The parcel is within the town’s Transit Oriented District that allows for denser development near the train station.

In addition to being on Ferry Boulevard and Willow Avenue, the development property borders back yards on Homestead Avenue and is near Housatonic Avenue.

 

Approval specifics

According to the commission’s approval resolution, the building closest to Ferry Boulevard will be five stories and have 67 or 69 units, depending on the commercial space status. The rear building will be four stories with 52 units. All units will be one-bedroom except for four studio units.

Required setbacks will be 20 feet to the east (from the rear apartment building to Homestead Avenue properties), 25 feet to the south (toward Willow Avenue properties), and 48 feet to the southeast (the rear of the property, closest to Housatonic Avenue). A six-foot-high fence will be built with landscaping along the eastern border, and the southeast corner will become “passive open space.”

The only development allowed in the part of the property zoned for residential use will be parking.

 

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  • Benjamin

    HOORAY. With so many residents being priced out of their homes it is wonderful that affordable places will become available. If less than 10% of our housing stock is affordable, hopefully more similar projects will be encouraged.

    • No Transparency

      Hope they put it in your neighborhood.

      • Benjamin

        ok

  • Thayer

    This is bul****t!!!! Owens gets his way with bribery and threats and Stratford get a horrible apartment development!!! I really feel for the residents of that neighborhood. The town has really let them down!!

    • doug douglas

      Melvin statements like Thayer’s here are the reason he should be banned.

  • Thayer

    And once the commission changed the the project gets approved!

    • doug douglas

      The vote was 5 to 0 that Democrats and Republicans working together.nIf you don’t like the result run for office or move. Scott didn’t like AAA so he ran for office and Rolling Thunder is the result now he says he wants if move if doesn’t change his mind about running for State Rep like he changed his mind about the council seat too.

  • Thayer

    Nick Owens only cares about one thing and Stratford ain’t it!!

    • Danny

      The building at that site have not been used for many years. Our town needs more affordable housing for those who cannot afford high rents. I do believe that it is best for our town. I do not care for Owens and do not trust him.

      • CT Sam

        This area could have been developed into something better than affordable housing, Nick Owen & Barry Knott want to turn Stratford into Co-Op City. In a few years the TOD areas will all be vacant with these ugly white elephants left for the vandals and arsonists. With Fredette, Henrick, Silhavy & Vocolla on board everything that Laura & Lou wants will get pushed through. They all have no morals and don’t care because it wont be in their back yards. The taxpayers spoke last Novemeber and decided they wanted to elect people that are rubber stamping puppets that want to raise taxes and give the BOE a blank check and don’t want to audit the books.

        • Danny Cook

          More MANURE and INSULTS coming from a well know LOSER.

        • doug douglas

          It is not affordable housing read the story. Scott and friends didn’t want AAA and empty space doesn’t pay the bills.nThe taxpayers spoke and they want doers that’s why the Democrats lost and are falling apart as we speak.

    • doug douglas

      Nick is a business man who works within the law and has built some great projects that contribute to the tax base in the town where he lives. Why are you such a hater Thayer?

  • Alta Vista

    “…the commission passed the project in a resolution that includes a provision prohibiting any affordable housing plan from being pursued at the 2.5-acre site in the future. The resolution also requires the developer to withdraw the pending affordable housing application.”nnOK, I’m confused by all these comments. nnThe new plan has been approved contingent on there NOT being ‘affordable housing’ at this location. It seems the threat of ‘affordable housing’ was the club used to force acceptance of these 119 or 121 apartments.nnThe project may still be a net negative for the town as overdevelopment of apartments is slowly changing the character and lowering the home values in Stratford. nnBut there will be no ‘affordable housing’ at Ferry Blvd. Not according to this article. Or am I mis-reading this?

    • SCR

      Reading is fundamental.

      • Alta Vista

        When Attorney Nick Owen says u201cIu2019m a happy man” you can be sure the rest of us have cause to weep.

  • TyronJ

    I kan’t wait for afordible house. I want my kids to go to school there. This is great. I kan’t aford hi rents.

    • Danny Cook

      We agree with you about people including seniors cannot afford the raising high rents. Nobody else wanted to purchase that property.

    • doug douglas

      yeah this is a real comment NOT! just another Democrat scare tactic

  • doug douglas

    This is great news for the gas station across the street. 119 units should bring in close to 300 people and 200 cars. Cigarette and gas sales should increase and add tax revenue to the state and more spill over business to other Town merchants. If we can get Shakespeare up and running I see a shuttle bus or monorail from the apartments to the theater.

    • Alta Vista

      Mayor Hoydick: Forget everything else anyone has ever said in the entire history of Stratford about economic development.nnForget even your promise to ‘work hard’ to bring Amazon to town. Who needs ’em?nnThe ONLY answer to all of Stratford’s many complex problems is contained in doug douglas’ comment: MONORAIL. nnRemember, you read it here first!

      • Danny Cook

        More MANURE and INSULTS coming from a know LOSER.

      • doug douglas

        Alta an elevated monorail above our greenway path will provide clean transportation to our residents and provide protection to our hikers and bikers below, protection from the rain and sun. Our less mobile seniors could enjoy our greenway while riding in comfort inside the monorail on the way to the Baldwin Center

        • Alta Vista

          DD: I’m so sorry. I honestly didn’t think you were serious. nnGiven the fiscal problems of both Stratford and CT state I think this is financially impossible. I thought you were referencing an old episode of The Simpsons cartoon show.nnIf you can direct me to another CT town of 50,000 or so that has successfully built a monorail I would love to check it out.

          • doug douglas

            Just doing a little outside the box thinking. Like Igor Sikorsky did many years ago. You know our Shakespeare Theater was not the first one but we made it work. This Town has a lot to offer and I am glad Laura Hoydick is in the driver’s seat and not Stephanie Phillips the voters where right last November and the recent Democrat voter fraud only reinforces that for me.

          • Alta Vista

            DD: OK, that’s so far outside the box it has rolled off the table, onto the floor and out the front door.nnYou simply can’t compare calling for a monorail in town to the genius of Mr. Sikorsky who invented/perfected two new forms of air travel: sea planes and helicopters. Not even close!nnYou may not know this, but the AFST was never self-supporting and was not run by, nor created by anyone from Stratford. We, as in Stratford residents, didn’t do anything to ‘make it work.’nnPersonally, I think the AFST was something of a particular time that cannot be re-created today without literally millions of dollars of investment. And if we were swimming in money, I’d say, Go for it. I love Shakespeare!nnI’m glad that you’re happy with the direction the town is going in. Many people are not. Let’s see what 2018 brings. I’m afraid it will be fewer services and higher taxes. But I would love to be proved wrong.

          • Lovejoy

            Our two can get federal funds. Insults are not welcome here.

          • Lovejoy

            Our town can get federal funds.

          • Lovejoy

            I am sure that the mayor will ask for federal funds to build a monorail that many of us would enjoy.

          • Lovejoy

            Take Doug serious like the rest of us.

      • Steve

        monorail is more of a Shelbyville idea.

    • TyronJ

      Coud they get the monirail to go to Popeyes to. There chicken is soo good

      • Not a Liberal

        Now that was the dumbest post yet.

      • Lovejoy

        We seniors love their chicken and other food.

  • Ed G

    I think the monorail is a great idea. From forest to shore with a stop at Shakespear. It would attract people from all over. Keep in mind Disney just didn’t pop up over night. Something like this would be a boost for Stratford. Let’s get Shakespeare going and we would would be moving in the right direction.

  • Thayer

    Why is there still talk about Shakespeare’s?? It closed because it couldn’t make any money, so what has changed? What a great spot for Nick to build more apartments. This would add more tax base that previous posters suggested!! More apartments in Stratford is that what most residents really want, this town is already overcrowded and a home built on ever inch of available property.

    • Ed G

      What changed? Now there is going to be a monorail in town.

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