[Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version to correctly report that, as proposed, the project does not include any retail use and the traffic added would be minimal.]
An application for a mixed residential and commercial development that includes affordable housing received its second airing Tuesday at a Ridgefield Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) public hearing.
It will be continued on Feb. 12.
Applicant Michael Eppoliti told the commission that he expected to present revised plans to address the concerns of the Conservation Commission, the PZC and the zoning commission’s engineering consultant, Kevin Clark, but wanted to wait until he received all of them before starting the revisions.
The zoning commission acts as the town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, and some concerns were also expected related to that regulatory body as well.
The applications request approval of a building with business uses on the ground floor and 12 apartments above — four two-bedroom units and eight one-bedroom units. The one-acre property is located at 159 Danbury Road in a B-3 business zone.
Eppoliti has requested approval for the apartments under the state’s affordable housing law, 8-30g, which makes it harder for local regulatory commissions to turn down the proposals. Under the law, the developer would have to put deed restrictions on at least four of the 12 apartments mandating rents that are below the local market rate.
Last summer, Eppoliti sued the Ridgefield PZC over wetland permit restrictions it approved for a different affordable housing development he sought approval for on North Salem Road.
According to a staff report by Planning Director Betty Brosius, this is Ridgefield’s first mixed-use development involving an affordable housing application.
Her report said the property is located “in what may be considered a ‘transitional zone’ between commercial and residential zones.”
Eppoliti assured the commission that the only uses for the commercial space on the first floor of the development would be uses normally permitted in a B-3 zone. This was a point that Brosius’s report insisted on.
The applicant’s engineering and architectural experts testified that they were already planning to make revisions to the storm water drainage system in accordance with the wishes of the various town commissions. Those revisions would be presented at the Feb. 12 continuation of the public hearing, they said.
The rear of the property drains into a wetland area, which raises concerns about pollutants and possible storm flooding and erosion.
Another concern is traffic, because of rush hour traffic congestion that already exists on Danbury Road, but Eppolitti's traffic expert, Michael Galante, said the development would only slightly increase peak vehicle traffic at that location.
Brosius’s report said the state Department of Transportation raised no objection to the proposed development.