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Ridgefield P&Z Commission Reviews Proposed Mixed Use Development

Preliminary plan submitted by Eppoliti Realty Company calls for mixed use development including affordable housing at 159 Danbury Road.

The Ridgefield Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday reviewed a preliminary plan submitted by by for a mixed use development including affordable housing at 159 Danbury Road.

Michael Eppoliti, owner and president of Eppoliti Realty Co., presented the conceptual plan for the one acre parcel located in a B-3 commercial zone, a designation which permits office space and service-oriented businesses in addition to residential uses.

"We're considering a development scenario where we would have two interconnected buildings each with a footprint of approximately 3,000 square feet," Eppoliti explained, adding that the two residential style buildings would be connected by a stairwell and elevator tower.

Eppoliti said the plan includes 6,000 square foot of commercial use on the ground floor, designated for service-oriented businesses and/or retail. The second and third floors of the two buildings, he said, would have a total of 12 residential units, including eight two-bedroom and four one bedroom units, with a yet-to-be-determined number of units designated "affordable" under the state's affordable housing statute, 8-30g.

The development, including parking, would cover 42 percent of the site — well within the 75 percent allowable in a B-3 zone, Eppoliti said. "Building coverage is 13 percent of the site," he said, adding that the development will in no way impact the wetlands to the rear of the property.

The project's parking lot, with 50 to 55 spaces, will be designed "with no hammerhead parking," Eppoliti said, "so there's no need to back out into the street." He added that currently there's a parking lot with 37 parking spaces on site, but no existing structures.

Eppoliti said his Ridgefield-based firm "considered different development scenarios for the property" including making it all office space.

"Under conventional zoning, depending on building layout, I believe we can accommodate 55 to 58 parking spaces — that would be for 12,000 square feet of medical office space, 17,000 square feet of Class A office space, or 14,000 square feet of service use," he said, discussing the options that had been explored. "Any of those scenarios would also allow for two apartments [on the third floor]."

"We also looked at strictly residential, utilizing 8-30g," Eppoliti said. "Under that scenario we could achieve 55 parking spaces, which would yield 23 two bedroom units; 30 one bedroom units; or 17 two bedroom apartments and eight one bedroom apartments, or any combination thereof…"

Board member John Katz pointed out that retail is not permitted in a B-3 zone and said Eppoliti would need to get a zone change in order to include retail in the plan. Katz added that he would not support the conceptual plan if it includes retail.

"I'm not prepared to go forward with an approval of the concept, if the concept includes retail," Katz said, adding that in his view, "retail is not appropriate for that spot…"

Eppoliti said although he understood that retail was not permissible in the zone, "we're not really applying under the B-3 zone [regulations], we're applying under 8-30g… which overrides all local zoning regulations."

"But 8-30g does not allow you to change the underlying zone," Town Planner Betty Brosius said. "It allows you to build affordable housing, but it does not allow you to change the zone for other uses that are not normally permitted in that zone."

Eppoliti, however, said his new legal counsel had advised him that the retail use would be allowable under 8-30g.

Board Vice Chairman Patrick Walsh said he believed that 8-30g "only applies to the residential part, which must be a 'set aside' development," however the commissioners agreed that they would need to verify that assumption with town counsel.

Walsh asked Brosius if she had ever heard of any mixed use developments where the affordable housing is built "over the commercial," as proposed in the plan. Brosius said yes, it has happened in other towns, "but as far as I know it has only happened in zones where retail was already permitted."

The commissioners made it clear that they do not support the proposed retail use. Eppoliti said if it is determined that retail is not permissible, under 8-30g, "then we will move forward with development for the approved uses."

Faced with a , officials in Ridgefield, seeking to , have on which, if approved, would temporarily relinquish it from having the comply with the 8-30g statute.

Meanwhile the town Affordable Housing Committee is exploring the possibility of a public-private partnership and land swap deal that would pave the way for a .

Eileen June 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I really have no problem with the affordable housing portion of this. However, MORE commercial space? There's new construction going on by Spagone, etc. The old Young's building (by Khol's) looks like it's been converted to a small strip mall. Who's going to occupy all this space? I grew up on LI and it's the way it is today because of similar circumstances and they still haven't learned. They just keep building and building while existing structures sit empty. Wake up, or we can be the next LI too....
sebastian dangerfield June 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Wayne I am not certain of what i am about to say--but a couple of responses to your criticisms of Ridgefield P and Z. 1-the Oxford call for a one year moratorium was illegal, and should have been ignored by any developer. The entire idea of 830g is to usurp the power of local planning and zoning rules that have, in the State's eyes, prevented construction of affordable housing, by placing certain zoning restrictions. 2- If towns got together to form a strategy, the only strategy that they could employ would be to lobby to get this law changed. If towns somehow conspired to combat affordable housing in other ways, they would be slapped with a Department of Justice lawsuit for violations of the Fair Housing Act. (google Darien and the Department of Justice) The question here, is of desire by our government to achieve a moratorium. Democrats have largely been in favor of affordable housing---we have a Democrat First Selectman.... how many points does Ridgefield need and how many do they have for a moratorium? I have never read these numbers, despite the fact that quite a few units have been constructed here in recent years. My guess, --because Im no Rudy fan--is that , his aspirations for higher office in the State, motivate him to refrain from counting. Good Democrats dont take on Hartford.
Tom Falconieri June 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The HVCEO report showed that there is a need of over 1000 affordable homes in Ridgefield So Wayne build a couple in your back YARD. Dont you just love LIBERALS. Why dont this happen in other towns And one more thing WAYNE who the hell is going to pay for the sewer plant expansion???
Leoj June 20, 2012 at 07:44 PM
You mean Michael Eppoliti hasn't offered to pick that up? Say it ain't so.
Louis June 20, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Doesn't sound right to me that 8-30g now is parsed to mean that stores can go in. I've read the 8-30g statutes, I see nothing in there suggesting a green light for retail. I hope P&Z takes a stand and fights this. We can't just keep avoiding legal confrontations.
Tom Falconieri June 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Wayne i know that. But their comes a time when the residents of this town should fight back. We dont need SOCIAL ENGINEERING BY THE STATE. The state is circumventing town ZONING and that should be challenged and the builders should be brought to court. This town cant sustain any more of these projects. And now some dirt bag builder wants to incorporate it with COMMERCIAL. This is just another scam that Rudy and his crew either understands as a scam or if not they are DUMBER THAN ROCKS. Either way in my view all of these elected officials must GO. I totally disagree this town needs more of these SLUMS .And wayne i thought you of all people would know better.
Tom Falconieri June 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Louis you are correct this is another turner HILL SCAM plain and simple. And rudy should know better and do the right thing and fight this GARBAGE TO THE HILT!!! Time to take a stand and also talk some sense into that guy GOLDENBURG. He is another one that should find a HOBBY other than DESTROYING THIS ONCE NICE and beautiful TOWN. Disgraceful and another SCAM PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!
Fact Checker June 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Hey Tommy, how about including a fact or 2, instead of the usual teabag BS?
Tom Falconieri June 21, 2012 at 01:13 AM
So i guess packing this town with SLUMS IS A TEA BAG THING!!!! Clearly if i may do you have investments in this town that will be effected by this GARBAGE HOUSING. Take a quick ridr to the intersection of 7&35 and spout you liberal JUNK. Clearly that is the GARDEN SPOT OF RIDGEFIELD!!!
Tom Falconieri June 21, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Hey Tommy, how about including a fact or 2, instead of the usual teabag BS? 1 Unfunded mandate plain and simple 2 Builders are the only ones laughing all the way to the BANK 3 A liberals dream come true until it effects them!! 4 The state circumventing town zoning laws and the people who agreed to them 5 Busing without the BUSES!! 6 And destroying towns one block at a time. 7 The liberals are intrenched in this state and it shows it!! 8 People that want a free ride on my DIME!! 9 Destroying quality of life in the towns most effected by these DUMPS. 10 Takes a big toll on town services with no compensation by the builder The builders are on an island in HAWAII SIPPING COCKTAILS and living the good life for the rest of their lives on the backs of us suckers that pick up the slack. Another words they could care less about the taxes bestowed on us to pay for these free loaders!! And the increased demand on the town services we all pay through the nose fore. Basically SOCIAL ENGINEERING AT IT'S BEST PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!
Giuseppe Francesco Verdi June 21, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Very enlightened there tommy, equating affordable housing with slums, suppose that all your ancestors came over and moved into $500K homes!
sebastian dangerfield June 21, 2012 at 04:18 AM
sebastian /eagle/rufus and now giuseppe... always the same approach. you and tom are 2 peas in a pod. extremists....
Tom Falconieri June 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Very enlightened there tommy, equating affordable housing with slums, suppose that all your ancestors came over and moved into $500K homes! A good friend of mine is a ROOFER. He is always out bided by illegals on job estimates. Kind of funny that these illegals have better houses than ME!!!!
Tom Falconieri June 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Very enlightened there tommy, equating affordable housing with slums, suppose that all your ancestors came over and moved into $500K homes! Actually if you research the law it is a bone for the builders with the liberal touch thrown in. This law is with out a doubt planned social engineering. Now if i can only find the plans for my 100Car garage and submit it to P&Z. I was turned down 2 times HIMMMMMMMMMM??? WHY???? Oh yes no place for the free loaders!!

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