Developer asks planners to revisit age-restricted zoning
The Planning and Zoning Commission received an application on Wednesday, July 19, seeking to restore the Age-Restricted Overlay District (AROD). It was on Monday night’s agenda under “acceptance of new applications.” No date for a public hearing was set.
The application was submitted by Casey Healy on behalf of 183 Ridgefield Road, LLC, which owns a 13.4-acre parcel at that address.
The commission rescinded the amendments to the town’s zoning regulations permitting age-restricted housing it had originally approved on Nov. 14, 2016. That action took place on July 10 and was necessary because of an error in the timing of the legal notice publicizing the new amendments. A public hearing to consider revising the amendments once again will take place Monday, July 31, in Room A of the town hall annex.
According to the letter submitted by Healy, 183 Ridgefield Road, LLC offered several modifications to the original age-restricted regulations it says were based on public comment made since the Nov. 14 decision. Those modifications are:
- Limit an AROD development on Ridgefield Road to between Danbury Road and Ridgefield Road’s intersection with Drum Hill Road. (The property at 183 Ridgefield Road is within this area.)
- Increase the minimum acreage requirement from three to five acres.
- Decrease the maximum development density from three to two units per acre for properties on Ridgefield Road or Westport Road.
- Provide that the minimum building setback along the frontage of a state-designated scenic road be 100 feet.
- Decrease the maximum allowable building coverage from 20% to 15% and the maximum allowable site coverage from 40% to 30%.
The original age-restricted regulations allowed for a variety of options, including communities of detached, single-family and duplex houses or a mix of multi-family housing units.
The communities could have been built in a number of zoning districts, including one- and two- acre (R1A and R2A) as well as multi-family residential districts: DRD (Design Residence District), THRD (Townhouse Residence District), CRA-10 (Center Residence Apartment District), and MFA/AHD (Multi-Family All/Affordable Housing District).
Were an age-restricted community to be built in the R1A or R2A districts, it would have had to be on property that fronts, and has vehicular access from Danbury Road, Westport Road or Ridgefield Road. Lot sizes of no less than three acres and no more than 25 acres would have been permitted, and would require a special permit and site plan approval.
The regulations elicited an uproar in the spring when 183 Ridgefield Road LLC requested an extension of the town sewer line to 183 Ridgefield Road which was later withdrawn, but a proposal — although not officially submitted — to build 35 age-restricted homes and later, 16 homes, also brought angry comments from area residents.
One resident, Vicki Mavis of Ridgefield Road, submitted an application seeking a moratorium on any age-restricted housing development and to have Ridgefield Road removed from the areas where any such development could take place. That application has been the subject of a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission that is still open.
A lawsuit brought by Patricia L. Frisch claimed the legal notice published by the town in The Bulletin did not follow state statutes in that the new age-restricted regulations took effect the same day the notice was published. Later, town attorney Ira Bloom confirmed there should have been time between publication and enactment of the regulations. Hence, the regulations were rescinded.