Fairfield considering an affordable housing development on Oldfield Road

File Photo of Old Town Hall in Fairfield.

File Photo of Old Town Hall in Fairfield.

File Photo / File photo

FAIRFIELD — Another affordable housing development may be in motion as officials review a residential development proposal at at 888-898 Oldfield Rd.

The project includes 10 two-bedroom units, along with 11 parking spaces — 10 in the garages and 11 outside.

The new proposal is scaled down from the original submitted in November 2020, which called for 17 units. That plan has gone through a series of changes, including submitting the application under the state law Section 8-30g, which states the only way the commission could deny the plan is to prove it poses a threat to public health, welfare and safety that outweighs Fairfield’s need for affordable housing.

“There has been significant evolution here in regards to the development of this project,” said Attorney John Fallon, who represents the developer, 888 Oldfield Rd LLC.

As the plans for the site came together, the number of units became the main issue for residents who live in the area of Oldfield Road. Sixteen neighbors represented by Attorney Joel Green and several other individual residents voiced their concern of the impact that a 17-unit development would have on the neighborhood.

After numerous conversations, the developer reduced the plan to only include 13-units, a number that still didn’t sit right with neighbors.

With the reduction in units, the amount of affordable units was also modified. Three units instead of the previous four are now set aside as affordable housing for the required 40-year period. In this case, two of the units will be reserved for people earning less than 60 percent of the statewide medium income and one unit will be reserved for people earning less than 80 percent, according to the application.

“I like to thank the applicant and Attorney Fallon for their generous cooperation, “ Green said. “You know we’re all resistant to change. For my clients this isn’t perfect and it’s not perfect for all involved. I know the developer would like to have a larger development the one they started with and we would like to have a smaller development, but we engaged in dialogue. We shared our concerns and objectives and we were able to reach this common ground.”

He said these kinds of conversations were needed to address the housing crisis in Connecticut.

Fallon echoed Green’s sentiments by saying that while 8-30g is controversial, it can be used in a way where developers can collaborate and work constructively with their neighbors.

“We’re glad we were able to reach this consensus with the neighbors,” Fallon said. “We think we have a development that will inure to not only the benefit of Fairfield with regards to its need for affordable housing, but also to this fine neighborhood.”

The only other major concern involved landscaping. In order to satisfy this concern, the developer plans to add additional landscaping which will include a screening buffer of evergreen trees. The trees will run down the southern portion of the property and parallel to Oldfield Road.

The public hearing closed Tuesday. The commission is now expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.