Concern, support for Old Post Road condominium development
FAIRFIELD — A company’s proposal to build a multiple-unit condominium project at 766 and 780 Old Post Road was met with opposition and scattered support at a packed Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday night.
Old Post Village LLC submitted an application weeks ago asking the town body to change the two parcels it is interested in to a designed residence district. This zoning change is required before the land regulation body can approve the six-unit development.
780 Old Post Road is a landlocked property located between businesses on the Post Road and 766 Old Post Road. The property is adjacent to a number of neighboring houses on West Morgan Avenue.
Over 10 residents expressed their opinions on the proposed project, with many advocating that the commission should not make changes to the zoning areas. There also was a number of residents who supported the development.
John Fallon, the attorney representing Old Post Village LLC, said the company had decreased the original eight single-family units proposal to six, a change that was submitted to the town in a letter dated Dec. 3.
“This modification reducing the overall number of single-family residential townhomes by 25 percent is made by the applicant in an effort to address constructively comments and concerns raised by members of the public at the public hearing on Oct. 23,” read the letter, signed by Fallon.
The meeting, at parts, turned contentious with a back-and-forth occurring between speakers and the audience.
Opponents of the development said a six-unit condominium would still alter the historical character of the neighborhood and increase traffic in the area.
Charles Abercrombie, a Penfield Road resident since 1997, was in opposition.
“With respects to the recent changes, the fact that it has been changed from eight to six units is immaterial,” Abercrombie said. “What I would ask you to look at is the impact on the neighborhood and the deleterious effect on the character of the neighborhood by a project that fundamentally looks like a Marriott Motor Inn.”
Others in favor of the project said it would help the town’s real estate values.
Alden Stevens, an Old Post Road resident of over 30 years, said he supported the project.
“I’ve seen the plans and I think the luxury townhomes fit in quite nicely with other portions of the town and with regards to the traffic, I think all the traffic problems exist regardless of whether these six units are put on the street,” Stevens said. “I think these units will create a dramatic increase in real estate taxes paid to the town.”
The owners of the current 766 and 788 Old Post Road properties, John Curran and James Stirling, were also at the meeting.
“My father owned this property back in the 1960s,” Curran said, who has owned the landlocked property since 2009 and has previously proposed giving it to the town for affordable housing units, an unsuccessful effort. “I have the duty as the trustee to maximize the value of the land ... I think (the condominiums) would be a real improvement.”
The public hearing section of the application concluded Tuesday night; the Planning and Zoning Commission will revisit the matter at its Jan. 8 meeting.