94 Housing Units Proposed For Post Road East

Westport’s spotlight on affordable housing now shifts to the Post Road.

Real estate developers Phil Craft and Stephen Lawrence are part of a team hoping to redevelop the office building at 1177 Post Road East — across from Crate & Barrel, near Turkey Hill Road — to provide 94 residential units.

Thirty of those will be deemed “affordable housing,” under the state 8-30g statute.

1177 Post Road East today...

1177 Post Road East today…

The “adaptive reuse and redevelopment project” will renovate the current 2-story, 42,000-square foot office building. A 4-story addition will be built over the existing parking lot, on the 1.96-acre parcel.

The building is being designed as a green project, with LEED certification as a goal. Plans include a green roof system, porous pavement on outdoor parking areas, improved storm water drainage and treatment systems, enhanced landscaping and at least 2 electric vehicle charging stations.

...and a rendering of the proposed 94-unit housing complex.

…and a rendering of the proposed 94-unit housing complex.

Craft said that Westport needs “more affordable housing options” for teachers, firemen, policemen and other town staff and employees,” as well as more transitional housing options for “younger workers, recent graduates, relocated workers, retirees and seniors.”

Lawrence believes this is “the right project in the right place at the right time.” He says 88 units will be “almost entirely” studios and 1-bedroom;; only 6 will be 2-bedroom.

The site is zoned for commercial development, and is served by sewer and utilities. Fire and emergency vehicles will have driveway access on all 4 building sides.

Arthur Hersh, another developer associated with 1177 PRE Associates — the joint venture planning the project — cites “easy walking access to local shopping centers, stores and parks.” He also notes the location on bus routes, including Coastal Link and the commuter shuttle to Green’s Farms station.

1177 PRE Associates has submitted applications to the Conservation and Planning & Zoning Commissions for review.

61 responses to “94 Housing Units Proposed For Post Road East

  1. It would be nice to them to say what the actual charge(s) would be instead of a vague mention (i.e. a two bedroom will rent for $xxxx.xx dollars).

    • Jerry MacDaid

      I beleive “affordable” is defined by regulation. In any event, why would you, or anyone else, care if that is $100 or $1,000 or $10,000 per month?

  2. Wilhelmina de Haas

    How does one qualify for affordable housing and does anyone know the process? And yes, I agree with Matt. What would the rent be?

    • Daniel Katz

      “affordable” is determined by the average income in either ones Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area(SMSA) or the state average which ever is lower.
      So, low income affordable would be spending 30% of 50% of that figure on rental; moderate housing would cost 30% of 80% of the average in the SMSA or state.
      In Westport, because the SMSA is far higher than the state’s average income, the state average would control.

  3. i moved to westport for it’s charm. the rendering looks like it belong in an industrial park.

  4. CARYL BEATUS

    MOST TOWN WORKERS NEED MORE THAN ONE-BEDROOM APTS. IT WOULD SEEM THAT AT LEAST 15-20 PERCENT OF THE 88 UNITS SHOULD BE TWO BEDROOM APTS [13-18 UNITS] AS OPPOSED TO THE PROPOSED 7% [6 UNITS]

    • Jerry MacDaid

      Seemingly, most of your fellow Westporters would prefer fewer two bedroom units as that generally means fewer kids flooding the school system.

  5. Every time I drive by Sasco Apartments I think about the huge impact it must have on our schools. Then I read about the huge project in the planning stages by Franklin Street and again the impact on the schools. I think the 1 bedroom units preclude any discussion of “school age children” and therefore is a good idea to me. I think the type of tenants they are aiming for is a good idea. Most young people starting out can’t afford to live in Westport. I think it’s a very good and practical idea!

  6. Russ Hardin

    We live on North Avenue just before Staples. The traffic is already a nightmare w/ three schools on the street. Now w/ the new Coastal Construction takeover of the corner of Morningside and Post Rd. where they have narrowed the street to accommodate new sidewalks–it’s a real bottle neck. Add in these apartments and the Post Road and the surrounding area will become IMPOSSIBLE to navigate. Don’t even think about summer traffic which is already monumental. Of all the places to site a HUGE structure like this–the Post Road is the best solution they could come up with? How in the world is this going to work? Plus add in the new traffic that will come w/ the Coastal Construction retail/residential property–I cannot even think what it will be like trying to get around. This is crazy.

  7. It seems no one wants 8-30g housing anywhere in Westport.

  8. Matthew Mandell

    So is this to be the benign 8-30g? Still looks like Yonkers.

    There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, such as what is planned for the back side of the property? Is there a second phase or is this it? Is this the one we accept to get the moratorium points? Will 2 of the 6 two bedroom apts be affordable as per the 30% rule? Do all the studios and 1 bedrooms give us the same moratorium points?

    Anyway you look at it, the State is forcing densification down our throats. And I will note, just next door a different developer is building mixed use, including affordable housing, within Westport Planning and Zoning rules.

    • Jerry MacDaid

      Nice that you have those questions. Too bad for you that most of them are completely irrelevant as to whether proposal passes 8-30g requirements and the developer has zero obligation to answer them if they don’t feel like it.

  9. Why would any young single people want to live in Westport? And aren’t most local police and firemen/women married w/ kids? Confused as to who would live in these proposed units.

    Has anyone explored the idea of allowing auxiliary apartments to be built in existing houses ? This could help current empty nester and senior homeowners rattling around in large houses stay in place by cutting down on operating expenses and adding income while supplying needed rental units to an underserved goup, thereby answering two housing problems. My understanding is that there are some grandfathered units but, at this time, this is not an option for other homeowners.

    With a Westport population of 4,300+ residents over 65 years of age — and better than 22% over 60 years of age — producing 100 affordable units with this option does not seem that implausible.

    • Jerry MacDaid

      “Confused as to who would live in these proposed units.” Seems to me that is the developer’s problem. Why do you care? Concerned they won’t make enough money?

    • Michael Calise

      We have an accessory apartment regulation which allows accessory apartments in three categories (pre 1959, elderly and affordable). While it is more restrictive than neighboring towns we do have it, Few people take advantage of it for varying reasons but we do have it.

      • Bobbie Herman

        If the affordable was built before 1990, it isn’t counted.

        • Jerry MacDaid

          I beleive it would be if the owners would be willing to slap deed restrictions on the properties ensuring they will remain “affordable” for 20-30 years. For obvious reasons, no one has a personal incentive to do that.

          • Bobbie Herman

            Canal Park and the Saugatuck Apartments were built before 1990. They are certainly affordable and probably won’t be torn down, but they’re not included.

      • Jamie Walsh

        Mike,
        I wish we could apply such regulations towards fulfilling the 8-30g requirement.

  10. David Loffredo

    I think the target demographic is empty nesters / seniors, and the ever growing population of divorced parents (mostly the dads) who want to stay local.

    It’s happening, buckle up, this one is tough to stop as will the be the one by Saugatuck. Push to keep it to studio/one bedroom units so the already packed schools aren’t completely overrun.

  11. Westport should understand that it must take control of affordable housing, as Greenwich has done, if it does not want developers to do so, or end up wasting money on endless lawsuits in court. The town should purchase land in areas it deems suitable and build beautiful affordable housing strictly for such use and stop fighting everyone in sight hoping they will not come back. Let us welcome such residents, make room for seniors, and stop praying it will not happen. And by the way, how much is the town paying Ira Bloom and his firm for his attacks on individual home owners and residents to stop them from doing what is in the best interests of the town, another waste of money?

    • Bobbie Herman

      I’ve said this before, and I will repeat it — I think the site that housed the former Arrow and Jasmine restaurants would be ideal for affordable housing. It’s close to public transportation, close to parking and isn’t in anyone’s backyard. It’s been vacant for two years.

      • That’s a very good idea! Is it for sale?

        • Bobbie Herman

          I have no idea, but, as I said it’s been vacant for two years. Maybe one of the realtors reading this could tell us.

          • David Loffredo

            Several restaurants are considering the space, the issue is that it is low lying and floods every time there’s any significant rain.

            • There is a much bigger drawback to the location. It is within 1/4 mile of the train station. Malloy is seeking legislation that would allow the state to take, through eminent domain, any property within 1/4 mile of any train station. Why would anyone invest in property Malloy can confiscate at will if he gets his way?

              • It’s about 1.25 miles from the station, I’d ask for a refund on your tape measure.

                • Susan Shuldman

                  Glenn — what tape measure are you using? The old Jasmine restaurant was located at 60 Charles Street — about 200 yards from the train station!

                • Michael Petrino

                  It is one block from the station .

    • Jerry MacDaid

      You are absolutely correct. The town needs to either affirmatively deal with the issue or plan for a lot of litigation, much of which it will lose, and have developers shove things down Westport’s throats.

  12. Dan I thought only full names are allowed here?

    • That is correct. I can’t monitor this 24/7. I do the best I can. I don’t want a cumbersome registration process. I remove comments that violate the policy when I can, and ask them to re-submit using full names.

  13. Jerry MacDaid

    Finally, someone who admits the real objection to affordable housing. Don’t particularly agree with you but I appreciate the honesty.

  14. Carolanne Curry

    This is clearly another entry to the profitable and participatory players group now in the game of Westport’s 8-30g housing market.

    Thanks for the post.

    Carolanne 203-227-3573

    >

  15. Sally Campbell Palmer

    The real problem with affordable housing is the density, the cost (hardly affordable) and that it doesn’t get us anywhere near closing the affordable gap – we are skating sideways.

  16. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    This says it all. Ignorance. Greed. This mentality sums up why the U.S. refuses to take in refugees. This mentality also explains the country’s outlandish prison population. This mentality explains the current election uproar. Shame.

    • How special, thanks for the sanctimony.

    • Nancy, can you please shut up for once? There are many comments here, from many perspectives. Westport is a town of many viewpoints. The US is a country of over 300 million people. Stop with your incessant bullshit about why Canada is the greatest place on earth, and the United States is the spawn of the devil. If you want to add to the discussion that’s going on here, fine. But can you please stop sitting 3,000 miles away, and perseverating about every single thing that happens in a town I don’t think you’ve visited in 30 years?

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        Just wondering how Westporters would view a halfway house in their vicinity? Why, why, why isn’t “Affordable housing” welcomed?

        Sorry, Dan, but your topics here are not unique. Perspectives do differ.
        I’ve lived in many, many places, so I have perspectives from each.

        I’ll “shut up” now.

        p.s. you have no idea when I last visited.

        • We have housing for homeless and Project Return for girls in need. We do care! Are you competing for sainthood because your arguements really don’t encompass reality

      • Dan – you the man! Here’s a thought – perhaps next April Fools Day can be a town-wide invitation for Ms. Wilson to begin to comment on this beloved blog again.

      • Really – telling her to shut up?

    • Jamie Walsh

      Nancy….really??? You are one crazy Canuck!!! Find a local Vancouver blog! You are one of the most caustic individuals who offers useless opinion and zero solutions!

      • I learned a great new word today, and the perfect use for it: per·sev·er·ate: to repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased. Thanks, Dan!

  17. Bart Shuldman

    By law, a housing unit is affordable to low- and moderate-income households if it costs them no more than 30% of their income. A person is considered low- or moderate-income if he/she earns less than or up to the Area Median Income (AMI), as determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Anyone applying for affordable housing including senior citizens must also add into the income test a percentage of all their assets such as pensions, 401k plans and any home they own (or did own) when they calculate their income (called asset test), to qualify for affordable housing, Many Westport senior citizens might find it difficult to qualify.

    Also by law, housing units are considered affordable if a person earning no more than the AMI pays no more than 30% of his annual income for it (CGS § 8-39a). HUD annually issues a listing of states’ AMIs by Metropolitan Statistical Area and by county. The 2005 AMI for a single person living in New London County is $49,834, according to HUD. Thus, a housing unit in New London county would be considered affordable under the above statutory definition if a person earning the AMI spent no more than $14,950 per year on it.

    Hope this helps.

  18. There are several issues here that I don’t feel qualified to debate–traffic, environmental impact, etc. But I do want to comment on the aesthetics. As Lisa Goto said above, the proposed building doesn’t look like it belongs in Westport. If this development is approved as is, I worry that it will forever change our town’s New England feel and usher in a flood of similar proposals. Some of you might say, “Westport has already lost its character,” but I beg to differ. Yes, we have an epidemic of tear-downs, and new construction is a constant; but there are still numerous historic houses and quaint spots in town. Since I moved here in 1962, I’ve seen many changes–some wonderful, some less so—but up until now, the town has managed to retain its charm. This development appears to be as far from charming as one can get.

    One question: Has any CT town tried to get the underlying 8-30g statute changed? I think this regulation is well-meant but is having unintended consequences. If the statute has been challenged—and I’m presuming it has—what’s the current status?

    • Bart Shuldman

      Prill. This location is probably one of the best locations for affordable housing. Replacing an existing office building keeps this away from infringing on residential houses. It also is on Post Road which is lined with many ugly buildings–CVS shopping center give you a good example.

      Unless CT tax payers are willing to change the party in office in Hartford, then we will deal with projects like this forever. The fact we cannot count in the 10% number housing built before 1990 is just ridiculous. But the law is the law.

      In this instance, P&Z should work with the developer and make it more ‘New England’ looking. The town must show that we can approve affordable housing projects or developers will have a case to show we will not support it. That will cause some of the projects where the land and traffic don’t work to potentially get attention by the courts.

  19. The town of Westport has not quite lost its charm, but the the charm has changed. Now Westport has more attractive features than small town character. As I said in a previous post, until the town takes control of affordable housing by purchasing land and building the kind of housing to keep the character that is always promoted, we leave it in the hands of litigious developers as they empty our wallets.

  20. Daniel Katz

    Finally, at long last, Stamford has come to Westport.
    Couldn’t wait.

  21. Luisa Francoeur

    Without getting into the many issues involved with this project, my first reaction from seeing the proposed development was also an aesthetic one. Isn’t it possible to build something less monolithic looking to achieve the same kinds of units? A development that would actually look like homes for people?

  22. Barbara Ryan

    Again I say too much building going on. This was a quiet community with unique homes. Now any space is being crammed with oversized homes and the charm of Westport is being lost. This proposal has no charm at all.

  23. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Author Ian McLaren writes: “Be kind: everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.

    I regret my heated comment above, but will always speak up for the “riff-raff”.

  24. Keith Roche

    well we all see what happens in Westport with people from affordable housing. Spit at our police officers while trying to arrest her for assault in a parking spot outburst. Oh yea and racial comments. Yes I think all are welcome…2011 caught stealing flowers…Phil you and Arthur must be smoking something funny(Idiots)One more thing your building proposal looks ridiculous for this town