New Homes Coming To Vacant Lots

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.

Click here, here and here for background.

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.

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posted by: robn on September 12, 2013  8:31am

I’m not sure I agree with the UD critique. Yes the project will; be facing (cross street) two Extremely minimal modern housing projects…

...but the project is directly adjacent to traditional historic fabric.

Can’t tell a lot from one elevation (other than the proportions don’t exactly agree with me) but the historicism itself isn’t irrational.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 12, 2013  10:24am

What’s to stop anyone in the city from winning a bid on a property and then saying “Oops I just discovered that I need a variance to build this”, when they knew all along that what they intended to build wouldn’t fit?

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 12, 2013  10:56am

Surely there’s something better than this bulkly, lopsided design.

posted by: robn on September 12, 2013  12:16pm

LNH and DS,

In an earlier article I was wondering why the competitor with NO illustration was chosen over the competitor with a completely rendered idea. I guess this is why.

posted by: Stephen Harris on September 12, 2013  12:42pm

Wood construction with brick veneer. What? No vinyl? How disappointing.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 12, 2013  12:52pm

Note to future developers: Use this for your submission…

posted by: A Contrarian on September 12, 2013  1:50pm

NH has plenty of dumpy old buildings, but why build more?  Is Robert Orr’s actual design available to view?  I’ve only seen that rendering of what sort of houses might be built.

posted by: Esbey on September 12, 2013  10:09pm

Why forbid the rental of the third floors? We don’t want folks to live in New Haven?  We have too much tax revenue already?