Folklore says that cats have 9 lives.
The proposed Hiawatha Lane housing development has been rejected 8 times by town officials.
Its developer is betting the 9th time’s the charm.
In June, Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission struck down Summit Saugatuck’s plan for 187 units on the narrow road nestled between Saugatuck Avenue and I-95 exit 17. Board members cited concerns about access by firefighters and first responders, as well as traffic and pedestrian concerns.
Applications for sewer connections were denied earlier, by the P&Z and/or Board of Selectmen, in July and September 2007; January 2015; July 2016, and February 2017.
A text amendment and zone change were voted down in November 2016. The text amendment, map amendment and zoning amendment request defeated this past June was the 8th request.
Every denial was unanimous.
But Summit Saugatuck principal Felix Charney will be back again. Because the proposal is submitted as an 8-30g application — meaning it falls under the state’s “affordable housing” regulation — it’s been re-submitted. A public hearing is set for September 12.
The plan would include 130 market-rate units, and 57 deemed “affordable.” Hiawatha Lane already includes many homes that are among the most affordable in Westport.
The 8-30g statute mandates that 10% of a town’s housing stock be “affordable,” under a state formula. Westport is currently at 4%.
However, only units constructed after 1990, and those that are deed-restricted for 40 years, are considered. Most Westport units serving lower-income groups do not fall into either category.
In March, Westport received a “Certificate of Affordable Housing Completion” from the state Department of Housing. The result was a 4-year moratorium on 8-30g.
The moratorium was granted “based upon the significant progress Westport has made in supplying affordable housing,” 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. Yet the moratorium does not preclude more submissions, like the one Summit Saugatuck is proposing.
Summit Saugatuck and Garden Homes — another developer whose proposal to build on untenable land was denied by the town — tried to get the state to vacate the moratorium. Their petition was denied on Monday by Connecticut’s Department of Housing.
The town has received “moratorium points” for these units:
- Rotary Centennial House, 10 West End Avenue (6 out of 6 total units)
- Bradley Commons, Bradley Lane (4 of 20)
- Saugatuck Center, Riverside Avenue (5 of 27)
- Bedford Square, Church Lane (5 of 26)
- 20 Cross Street (3 of 10; a portion of all others also earn points)
- Coastal Point, 1135 Post Road East (2 of 12)
- 1177 Greens Farms, 1177 Post Road East (29 of 94; a portion of all others also earn points )
- Sasco Creek, 1655 Post Road East (31 of 54)
- Hidden Brook, 1655 Post Road East (4 of 39)
- Hales Court (38 of 78).
As noted earlier, that does not count any affordable housing built before 1990.
(Hat tip: Carolanne Curry)