Do seniors really want higher toilets seats in the 399 apartments slated to be created in two new towers at the Bella Vista complex?
That question came up, along with lingering concerns about parking plans and storm water drainage. In the end the $150 million proposed project limped forward Monday night as the Board of Aldermen’s Legislation Committee recommended the proposal to the full board.
For the last two months lawyers Jim Segaloff and Laura Sklaver (pictured) and staff for Carabetta Enterprises, which owns Bella Vista, have been trying to provide City Plan staff with more detailed information about parking plans, storm drainage, and just what the seniors at Bella Vista truly want by way of amenities.
That incompleteness delayed approval at last month’s Legislation Committee meeting, even though developers were concerned that delays could interfere with their financing deadlines. Read about that here.
At Monday night’s hearing, aldermen continued to feel frustration, especially at still incomplete traffic studies and how close to the ground the developers and management’s ear is about what residents’ preferences are.
That’s where the toilets come in.
Only a handful of residents and Carabetta staffers seem to have contributed answers to a survey submitted with the application for the planned development district, required for the two new towers.
Fair Haven Heights Alderwoman Maureen O’Sullivan Best pointed out another discrepancy: Management has reported that residents don’t want to garden, she said, referring to the report.
She said they do want to garden but there is not enough green space.
“Does the developer listen to the consultant or to the residents?” Hill Alderman Jorge Perez, the committee chair, asked.
“The developer wants to make these people happy, replied Segaloff.
“That’s the right answer,” replied Perez (at right in photo with Quinnipiac Meadows Alderman Gerald Antunes).
Then there was parking. Would enough be provided in the two new towers to relieve the chronic problem of guests, visitors, and vendors not being able to find a spot?
To maintain the proper ratio between slots and people, which is .66, developers suggested that approximately 149 spots would be created in a field on the north side of the development. But that land is yet to be leased from the owner. It wasn’t fully clear if some of it lies outside the PDD area, perhaps even in East Haven.
Alderman Antunes listened to a description of a tiered set of catch basins culminating in a pond with plants to catch any bad stuff from the urban runoff. Although it meets all state and city standards, said project landscape architect David S. Golebiewski, Antunes ofered an amendment requiring that the system be inspected, twice in the first year and then annually after that.
That amendment was added to the City Plan Department’s list of 14 other conditions. The list includes that parking plans satisfactory to the city’s traffic department and to City Plan be approved prior to final site plan. There’s also another shot to improve the overly-massed look of the towers in a peer architecture review. That’s another requirement put off to future dates.
So amended, the committee voted unanimously to adopt the City Plan report and recommend the project move forward to the full Board of Aldermen.
Although it was inappropriate to make it a condition, Chairman Perez added that if in general “there’s a dispute between consultants and tenants, go for the tenant.”
Jim Segaloff: “I agree.”