118 apartment units pitched near Fairfield train station

FAIRFIELD — A large-scale development, with 118 living units, is proposed for the former Knights of Columbus property at 333 Unquowa Road.

The developer, 333 Unquowa Road LLC, lists its principal member as Robert D. Russo, Jr., of Fairfield Beach Road. The plans call for 81 one-bedroom units, 37 two-bedroom units, a rooftop deck with tables, cabinets, barbecue grills and a fireplace. The first floor will include exercise rooms, a lounge area and a mail office. The building would be three and a half stories and have 192 off-street parking spaces.

In addition to seeking a special permit, attorney Raymond Rizio is asking the Town Plan and Zoning Commission to determine the property, located near the downtown train station, qualifies as a transit-oriented downtown district.

According to Rizio, the 3.2-acre parcel qualifies as a TODD because of its size and its location within 782 feet of the entry door at the southbound downtown train station. Rizio cites the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development in his application, which states a goal of “creating a complete community” including residential uses “within easy walking distance of the train station ... within multifamily buildings and constructed at a minimum density to support transit.”

There is one transit-oriented district in town now, at lower Black Rock Turnpike and Commerce Drive, near the Fairfield Metro train station.

According to Rizio, Fairfield’s downtown is “lacking quality rental units to support the commercial development that exists.” The development, he said, would provide relief to the high train station parking demands downtown, and residents who live in a transit-oriented district want to reduce reliance on private vehicles. The proposed development is also within a three-quarter mile radius of a fixed bus route.

The majority of the parking will be located in the building’s basement level, accessed from the rear of the building. The property itself will be accessed by a single driveway off of Unquowa Road. A “significant portion” of the property will be lowered to create the basement parking area. Currently, the parcel’s grades are “substantially” higher than the abutting properties, according to the application. According to the application, this reduction will “lessen the visual impact” in relation to neighboring properties.

There are two other condominium developments adjacent to the site, and the Connecticut Audubon’s Birdcraft Museum, and Tomlinson Middle School are across the street. North of the site on Unquowa Road are Roger Ludlowe Middle School and Fairfield Ludlowe High School.