Fairfield reviews plans for 5-story apartment building near downtown train station
FAIRFIELD — A local developer wants to build a five-story apartment building near the downtown train station with about a third of its units designated as affordable housing.
The 26-apartment complex would be built at 78 Unquowa Place, according to John Fallon, the attorney representing Fairfield Station Lofts LLC. He told members of the Town Plan and Zoning Commission during a meeting earlier this week the proposed apartments, with their proximity to the train station, align with the town’s goals for transit oriented development.
Fallon said units would range from one bedroom to three and said the application was filed using a designation that guarantees that eight of the apartments would be considered affordable housing.
A state regulation, 8-30g, allows developers of affordable housing to ignore municipal laws and regulations in order to get such housing into communities with fewer affordable units than the state recommends — in Fairfield’s case, about 10 percent. About 2.6 percent of Fairfield housing is classified as affordable, Fallon said.
Fallon said four units would be reserved for people earning less than 60 percent of the statewide median income and four reserved for those earning less than 80 percent of statewide median income. He said the developer strongly believes that all the units, not just the affordable component, will be attractive to renters because of their location.
“Specifically for individuals maybe over 50 years old, empty nesters who want to downsize but still remain in Fairfield and keep their consumer and tax dollars in Fairfield; younger people who are looking to stay close to Fairfield (and close to) mass transportation and the train station,” Fallon said.
The apartment building would be 31,298 square feet with 27 parking spaces on the 0.32 acre lot, which is currently occupied by a single family home.
Architect Rich Granoff said the proposed building would have a light gray brick facade with metal paneling and what he described as an almost random window pattern. Plans also include a roof deck with dining areas, a fire pit and grilling stations.
TPZ commissioners asked the developers about the different building phases, traffic impact, parking plans and landscaping, as well as other aspects of the plan.
During public comment, business owner Harry Mercurio, who owns property on the corner of the Post Road and Unquowa Place, asked the developers how they would address parking issues if they were to arise. As a nearby property owner, he said, he was concerned about parking overflow filling his nearby lot.
Matt Finkle, the principal developer of the project, said because of the renters the developers are targeting, empty nesters and mass transit users, he said he did not think it would be an issue.