Beacon Square developer withdraws affordable housing application in Fairfield

A proposal for 2-6 Beacon Square would see the property, which currently has two duplexes on it, turned into a 26-unit development.

A proposal for 2-6 Beacon Square would see the property, which currently has two duplexes on it, turned into a 26-unit development.

Josh LaBella / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — Developers have temporarily pulled an affordable housing application, which some neighbors were unhappy with, after officials determined changes needed to be made in their plans.

Planning Director Jim Wendt said the developer has plans to build a complex of townhouse-style units at 2-6 Beacon Square, but agreed to go back to the drawing board.

“Subsequent to our hearing, we followed up with the fire marshal’s office on some concerns that the commission had raised about access (to the property),” he said at a recent Town Plan and Zoning Commission meeting. “It turns out that there was a requirement that had been previously not recognized that would cause the applicant to modify the site plan to provide for a turn-around.”

Wendt said he expected the developer would send in a revised application in the “near-term” and the public hearing process will have to start over. He said the applicant did not have any “time left in our statutory clock” to re-open the public hearing to discuss the issue, so the applicant agreed to withdraw.

Commission Chair Tom Noonan said the news is evidence that the body’s process works.

“One of the commission members reached out to make a confirmation about something the fire marshal already looked into, and the second look at it brought about a separate conclusion — which was very important,” he said.

Wendt said the application will be taken up again “at the appropriate time.”

The proposal for 2-6 Beacon Square would turn two duplexes on the 36,000 square foot property into 26 townhouse-style units, eight of which would be price restricted as affordable.

In a commission meeting last month, John Fallon, the developer's attorney, said the three building development would contain 15 two-bedroom and 11 one-bedroom units. He said the two bedrooms would be approximately 1,800 square feet while the one bedrooms would be about 780 square feet.

In terms of parking, Fallon said each unit would have a garage on the first floor, and that there would be six additional spots on-site — meaning a total of 32 parking spaces.

The application was made under the state statute 8-30g, which allows developers to bypass municipal laws and regulations as long as a certain percentage of the project is affordable housing. Local boards must prove the project presents serious enough health or safety risks that outweigh the need for affordable housing there.

While the architect of the project said the developer attempted to design something within scale of the neighborhood, and the developer’s traffic engineer said the complex would have minimal impact on the area’s roads, residents were not so sure.

Both resident and commission members brought up concerns with the project in last month’s meeting, primarily about its potential impact on parking, traffic and its scale.

Fallon noted at the time that there was no quantifiable public safety issue with the project that would outweigh the need for affordable housing in Fairfield.

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com