Fairfield Metro Concourse 'tweaks' get pass from TPZ
The Town Plan and Zoning Commission, with the exception of one member, is on board with "tweaks" to the proposed Concourse building at the Fairfield Metro train station.
Richard Jacobs was the only TPZ member Tuesday to vote against a finding that the changes proposed by private developer Kurt Wittek of Blackrock Realty are consistent with the original permit for his first structure on the site, and need only administrative approval.
"I sat through the process when I was not on the commission and I sat through the changes while I was on the commission," Jacobs said. "We have given them so many changes with this, the original plans are gone."
He said the Concourse, which abuts the rail depot that opened last December and is to house a waiting area and bathrooms for commuters, "grew enormously."
"Changes, changes, changes," Jacobs said. "At this point, I'm done with changes. They are significant changes that have gone on and on and on with this."
The changes include eliminating a portion of building's atrium, reclaiming some lobby-level parking and relocating a loading dock. The size of the building will increase 19,461 square feet, but a corresponding amount of square footage will be taken from another building in order to keep the total square footage of the private developer's project the same.
The project is envisioned as a 1 million-square-foot development of commercial, retail and hotel elements on the former foundry site off lower Black Rock Turnpike. However, there is no specific date for the start of construction on any of Blackrock's buildings.
"They're making changes and they should come before us and explain," Vice Chairman Seth Baratz said. "After reviewing it, I believe it is consistent with the approved application."
Commission Matthew Wagner said it is significant that Wittek and Blackrock Realty came back to the TPZ and explained the revisions.
"This is a work in progress," Wagner said. "It's only going to be successful if they can find tenants. There has to be some measure of flexibility. The other side of that coin is this is a public railroad station and citizens of Fairfield are entitled to see what's going on."
Commissioner Douglas Soutar said he and fellow TPZ members were able to learn more about the project from the recent presentation on the proposed changes. "This might be the only building that gets built," Soutar said, "and I think we have to keep a close eye on it."
TPZ Chairman Bryan LeClerc said he thought the developer's changes to the Concourse make sense.
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