Parking spaces spark debate at Old Danbury Road hearing

An easement, and the parking spaces located within that easement, were a point of contention at Tuesday’s Planning & Zoning hearing on an application to build affordable housing units on Old Danbury Road.
Some of the parking spaces to be built on the site would encroach on town property outside the one-acre lot being purchased by developer Patrick Downend to build apartment-style housing.
“I still don’t sufficiently understand why some of these [spaces] couldn’t be eliminated to reduce the easement,” Commissioner Joe Fiteni said on Tuesday, May 26. “Eliminate some on the east side and increase some on the west side.”
Downend’s attorney, Casey Healy of Gregory and Adams, questioned why the easement was a cause of concern for Fiteni.
“The purpose is to not encumber the property on the other side,” Fiteni said.
Healy also outlined some of the ways the housing units would be regulated by the state’s affordable housing rules.
Healy proposed that the commission approve the housing plan with four units of the housing affordable for someone making 60% of the state’s median income and five units affordable for someone making 80% of the state’s median income.
The commission may decide to reverse those numbers, making five of the units affordable for someone within the 60% category and four units affordable for someone within the 80% category.

Rebranded Mobil station

The Mobil station at 26 Danbury Road may soon see some big changes. A proposal submitted by the property owner, John D. Burke, proposes replacing the service station at the site with a convenience store.
He would also rebrand the site as a Citgo-brand gas station.
Burke said at Tuesday’s meeting that in recent years gas stations have had to move out of the service field due to the increased computerization of cars.
“New cars are mainly going to dealerships and are becoming more difficult to repair. They require more expensive diagnostic computer tools. The older cars are being phased out and it’s been more of a struggle to do business,” he said.


Representatives of the professional team managing the renovation of Miller-Driscoll made their first presentation to the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday.
Randall Luther, an architect with Tai Soo Kim Partners, told the commission his team has tried to make the design plans for Miller-Driscoll look “more like a school and less like a 7-Eleven.”
“We’ve got some big concepts for the exterior. It will be a little more playful and help with the building at the same time,” he said.
The team acknowledged existing parking issues at the site, and said they had tried to address those problems as best they could.
“There’s going to be some [parking problems],” said Barry Blades, a landscape architect. “This is not a perfect plan that could be drawn on a blank piece of paper. What we see out there is working right now, but we see this plan as an improvement.”