Affordable housing deal moves on

Multifamily development will be prevented at 44 Westport Road if a deal between town officials and developer Patrick Downend proceeds successfully.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 20, town officials announced they had come to a preliminary agreement to sell one acre of land on Old Danbury Road to developer Patrick Downend. Nine of the 30 units to be built on the property will be affordable under state guidelines.

Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Downend will purchase the town-owned land for $1.045 million, its independently appraised value after a $100,000 credit for extended sewage lines.

The developer has also agreed to sell his property at 44 Westport Road, which he had earlier proposed for redevelopment into 20 units of multi-family housing. As a term of that sale, Mr. Downend will attach a deed restriction to the property limiting it to single-family development.

“This agreement is the result of many weeks of constructive negotiations to enable the development of an affordable housing project in a suitable town location and to resolve a controversial project that Mr. Downend had proposed last year in a residential zone,” the town said in a press release.

According to First Selectman Bill Brennan, a contract of sale will be ready to sign in approximately 30 days.

“The town has worked very hard to address the community’s need to provide its residents with affordable housing options and to simultaneously resolve the controversy created by Mr. Downend’s original proposal. The sale of this land on Old Danbury Road does both,” Mr. Brennan said.

A final deal is subject to permit approvals by the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Commission.

The attorney for Mr. Downend, Casey Healy of Gregory and Adams, said he and his client are confident their plan will pass these permit processes.

“Having looked at preliminary concept plans, I talked to [Town Planner] Bob Nerney and [Director of Environmental Affairs] Pat Sesto and we believe we will be able to get our approvals,” Mr. Healy said.

The $100,000 credit on the sale price for sewer extension was included in the deal because Mr. Downend agreed to dig a deeper sewer than is required by regulations. The deeper sewer will allow the town to more easily develop the additional five acres of land it owns on Old Danbury Road.

After Mr. Downend’s building is complete, the town will restore Old Danbury Road to its current standards. The new multifamily unit will be near Wilton Commons and Trackside Teen Center, which are on Station Road.