44 Westport Road may be saved in municipal real estate deal

A plan engineered by the town may save 44 Westport Road from development under Connecticut’s affordable housing regulations, First Selectman Bill Brennan announced Monday.

At the Dec. 1 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, developer Patrick Downend’s attorney, Casey Healy, said his client was interested in purchasing a one-acre, town-owned lot on Old Danbury Road for development purposes. A price has not been made public.

As a term of the purchase of the town-owned property, Mr. Downend plans to sell his property at 44 Westport Road with a deed restriction “in favor of the town” that prohibits future development of any multi-family housing on the site.

This deal has been negotiated by the office of the first selectman since residents expressed widespread dissatisfaction with the possibility of a multi-family housing complex on Westport Road, Mr. Brennan said, calling it a “win-win” for the town and the developer.

“This didn’t come in out of the blue,” Mr. Brennan said. “The town has been searching for more affordable housing, and for the right places for affordable housing that are appropriate and suitable. [This plan will also] solve the problem at 44 Westport Road.”

According to Mr. Healy, Mr. Downend plans to build a 30-unit apartment building on the Old Danbury Road property, which abuts Wilton Commons and Trackside Teen Center. Nine of the rental units would qualify as “affordable” under state regulations.

“The one- and two-bedroom units that Mr. Downend proposes will range from approximately 750 to 1,300 square feet, attracting younger tenants, single parents and seniors,” a letter from Mr. Healy said.

In his letter, Mr. Healy also referenced the $500,000 state grant the town has been awarded to build a walkway from the Wilton train station to Wilton Center. Adding Mr. Downend’s “mixed-income housing development,” which is within 1,000 feet of the station, “to this composition of transportation oriented development creates a cohesive and attractive environment in which to live, work, shop and visit,” he said.

“These apartments would provide affordable housing options for the work force, young professionals, and seniors,” Mr. Healy said Monday. “We think this is an ideal site next to the train station with a signaled intersection [at Route 7].”

Mr. Brennan agreed with Mr. Healy, saying the plan falls in step with the state’s ideas for transit-oriented affordable housing.

Now, the first selectman said, the plan must be approved by the town’s land-use boards “but we think it has potential and that is the reason we are bringing this to the public now.”

Above is an updated version of the story that originally appeared here.