Three Wooster Square parking lots moved a step closer to becoming three new two-family homes thanks to a vote of approval from city zoners.
The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted Wednesday night to approve zoning variances to allow for the new home construction at 9 Brown St., 109 Olive St., and 176 Chestnut St.
The three lots are former city-owned parking lots that the Livable City Initiative sold off to promote housing development in Wooster Square. Developer and retired police Capt. Andrew Consiglio (at left in photo) bought the three properties earlier this year for about $110,000.
After the purchase, Consiglio realized he’d need some zoning relief to build on the properties, his attorney, Norman Hurwitz (at right in photo), told the BZA Wednesday evening.
Consiglio and Hurwitz appeared before the BZA along with architect Peter MacPartland to request zoning variances to have smaller side yards and larger wall heights than otherwise required. The BZA voted unanimously to approve the requests with the condition that Consiglio clarify parking plans. The BZA also clarified that attic spaces in the houses are not to be converted into third apartments.
Wooster Square Alderman Michael Smart spoke in favor of the plan, as did a Wooster Street neighbor.
Hurwitz said the request had the backing of the Urban Design League, which BZA Chair Pat King noted when she moved approval of the requests.
However, a letter from the Urban Design League’s Anstress Farwell indicates that the backing came with some caveats.
“The League is in full support of the plans to build new residences on the former City of New Haven parking lots in the Wooster Square neighborhood,” the letter begins.
The letter continues: “We are concerned though that the design of the buildings fail to conform with the objectives articulated in the City’s Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP required the new building be compatible on congruent with the historic character of Wooster Square. The proposed buildings fail to do this. Each building shares basic design elements, such as overly large cross-gables, porches with irregular column spacing, brickwork which lacks the articulation of basement and upper levels, front doors with oval windows none of which is typical of the historic of modern architecture of the area. Additionally, the proposed buildings, which are planned for very different locations within the neighborhood, do not respond to their particular architectural context.”
Plans for the houses call for wood construction covered with a brick veneer. The houses on Brown and Olive streets will have cupolas on top.