Wilton Road Apartment Approvals Begin

In March, Westport’s 8-30g moratorium ends.

Four months from now, developers may again apply to include “affordable housing” in their plans. Some believe in it. Others use it as a ploy for approval of projects otherwise too big to pass zoning muster.

(8-30g is a state statute requiring at least 10% of a community’s housing stock to be “affordable,” according to a state median income formula. Westport would meet that standard if all affordable units were included. However, only those built after 1990 — when the regulation was adopted — are included.)

Meanwhile, an 8-30g project approved before the moratorium is moving through Westport’s approval pipeline.

122 Wilton Road — the 1.16-acre parcel bordered by Wilton Road, Kings Highway North, the Saugatuck River and Taylortown Salt Marsh — is the planned site of a 3-story, 19-unit,  20,078-square foot apartment complex.

122 Wilton Road is the site of a planned 3-story, 19-unit apartment complex.

In 2018, the state Appellate Court denied a plan by Garden Homes of Stamford to build a 7-story, 48-unit apartment complex.

The developer returned with the smaller, 19-unit proposal, which included an 8-30g component.

Again the P&Z rejected the request. The scale was still too big; there were still traffic and fire safety issues.

But Garden Homes appealed, and a court overruled the P&Z. According to 8-30g, affordability trumps traffic and safety concerns.

COVID pushed back the 122 Wilton Road schedule. But last month the Conservation Department issued a permit. Still ahead are permits from the Water Pollution Control Facility and Building Department.

But with the court’s okay, the project moves steadily ahead.

19 responses to “Wilton Road Apartment Approvals Begin

  1. So, perhaps TWO units will be “affordable” and 17 units will be there to enter and exit at the peril of all who pass through the intersection….that makes sense by any reckoning.

  2. Already a Devils Triangle of an intersection as is, how in the world..

  3. Susie Kowalsky

    I would love to understand why the 78 homes completely rebuilt in 2012 are not included as part of Westport’s affordable housing under 8-30G. I understand that the original homes were built in the 50’s but the new units were completed in 2012, after the adoption of 8-30g in 1990. https://06880danwoog.com/2011/05/05/hailing-hales-progress/

  4. Ridiculous and shame on that developer and our lawmakers. 830g is not really about affordable units. I wonder if any of the affordable units will even be onsite.

  5. Michael Mossman

    A better idea is to build entirely affordable units, get in compliance and short circuit 830-g. Developers have no stake in life in any town. They’ll use this law to build luxury apartments, leave a traffic mess and go on to the next victim. If Westporters don’t take ownership of getting in compliance, developers will to everyone’s detriment. Can the town initiate its own building project? 100% affordable units? Choose its own site? Is a public/private partnership possible?

  6. Matthew Mandell

    Technically units built and deed restricted affordable before 1990 do count towards our 10% affordable, but they cannot be counted for points towards a moratorium. We also did get points for the redo of Hales, but not at the full rate.

    8-30g is simply a developers dream. Bust a zone and get 70% market rate, and an annuity for the other 30% that pays off in 40 years when they too become market rate.

    With the state pressing for as of right multifamily zoning, who do you think will benefit and at whose expense.

    • Rich Santalesa

      This plan is nuts on stilts. That corner is always a disaster during rush hour and this will just make it worse. If we were serious about cheap and easy “affordable housing” we’d set up a mobile home park somewhere – like the one on the border with Norwalk. But that’s considered too declasse for Westport, so we keep running into these developer disasters.

  7. Glad to learn this project seems to be moving forward. Ultimately, the community will benefit from it in a variety of ways (tax income, local commerce, workers and services to build and maintain the property, etc.). Yes, of course it’ll add a bit more traffic but not material considering only 19 units. Too many refuseniks around here that never want any change or progress.

    • Deirdre O'Farrelly, archhitect

      Its just an unsuitable site – try and drive past there any day 5-7 pm. The development is not going to benefit the town, there will not be significant tax income on rentable and affordable units, the town will lose money- cost per child of K-12 education, town facilities, infrastructure etc. The developer will make money.
      Yes, affordable units are necessary for workers and teachers etc. – the town should fill the quota by building them and not have developers build what they want in direct conflict with our zoning regulations.
      But there are other developments already permitted and in the works that include affordable units, most un-attractive multi story apartment buildings, surely we have reached the quota by now?

  8. Nancie Rinaldi

    I am not a “refusenik” but I am realistic. That corner, from every direction, is already a clogged mess. Adding another condo complex is only going to make it much, much worse. The infrastructure of the town cannot accommodate all this building.

    • Dermot Meuchner

      End stage capitalism inevitably leads to rapacious greed. The town should be looking toward initiating its own affordable housing as a number of folks have said. The amount of units would quell a lot of this ridiculous development all over Westport not just this embarrassment.

  9. Russell Gontar

    Massachusetts has a similiar law called “40b”, allowing developers to bypass your localing zoning requirements and jam oversized, multi floor, apartment complexes onto tiny lots. No town is exempt unless they have reached 10% “affordable” housing stock. Should the local zoning board of appeals deny the developer’s plan, they can appeal that decision to a state board which is, by design, set up to favor the developer. The system is deliberately rigged to favor the developer.

  10. John D McCarthy

    If this can happen at this location, then there is nothing to stop 10 story condos on Compo Beach

  11. When will this end?

  12. Clark Thiemann

    Can there be any movement in turning the Westport Inn site into legitimate affordable housing to move us towards 30-g compliance? That site makes all the sense in the world. It’s on the bus line, not at an awful intersection, near grocery shopping and on a plot of land large enough to actually put a decent sized building without it looking silly. The opposite of this project.

  13. That’s so wrong for so many reasons. Town officials stop this!

  14. Nothing keeps a town from buying land, developing affordable housing. Good investment on multiple levels…

  15. If this is built, P&Z should reject anything else the developer proposes.