P&Z Oversees a Four Hour Marathon

by Diana Stricker | Nov 22, 2016 8:00 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission held a marathon four-hour session Thursday with seven public hearings ranging from dog kennels to solar panels to condo projects. Even an old project, Sterling Ridge, found its way back to the commission. And when the hearings were over, The P&Z approved a special exception that will enable Hallock’s popular warehouse and outlet store to move to Branford. The outlet is currently located in West Haven.

Two hearings were continued, four projects were approved and one was discussed but no vote was taken. The commission scheduled five new hearings for Dec. 15 for new applications, and they discussed other projects that didn’t require hearings.

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Town Explores New Sites for Parkside Village

by Diana Stricker | Nov 21, 2016 8:10 am

GIS Photo Plans to replace the aging Parkside Village I are still in flux, and the developers are looking at alternate sites for the public low-income housing project. If none are found, the project would most likely be built at the current site at 115 S. Montowese St., which houses 50 low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

“Our intention right now is to see if there are alternative sites and we’re open to any and all offers of interest,” said Dara Kovel,  president of Beacon Communities LLC of Boston, the development team hired by Branford’s Housing Authority.  “I’m definitely dedicating my time to see if there is something out there.  On the timeline question, our target is to apply (for funding) next November.”

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Two Town Denials, One Appeal in Pawson Road Property

by Diana Stricker | Nov 7, 2016 6:44 am

File Photo UPDATE—The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission unanimously denied a request Thursday to build affordable housing on a half-acre lot at 239 Pawson Road that contains tidal wetlands and is prone to flooding.

The P&Z subsequently met in special session Saturday night to vote again on the Pawson Road affordable housing proposal. Two issues arose after the Nov. 3 vote—- an extra date for the public hearing was listed in the resolution; and commissioner Paul Higgins mistakenly said he had attended both sessions of the public hearing, but later discovered he had not. Prior to Saturday’s vote, he listened to the tape of the meeting, and was then eligible to vote.

On Nov. 5, the Thursday night vote was rescinded and another vote was taken. The result of the second vote was the same, and the commission denied the project. Saturday was the deadline for reaching a decision.

But controversy about the site continues. The property owner has filed an appeal of a recent decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to deny a request for a variance to build a single-family home on that lot.

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Parkside Village Application Abruptly Withdrawn

by Diana Stricker | Oct 10, 2016 6:00 am

Diana Stricker Photo Doug Denes, chairman of Branford’s Housing Authority, said he was “absolutely dumbfounded that we are not receiving accolades” for a project to replace the dilapidated Parkside Village low-income housing.

Then, in an unexpected move, Denes withdrew the application at Thursday’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) hearing just as the developers from Beacon Communities LLC were ready to present revised plans. The original plans met with questions from neighbors and town staff last month. The developers were hoping for approval of both a Planned Development District (PDD) and site plans by early November to meet an annual deadline for federal funding applications.

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Harrison House Honors Contributors

by Sally E. Bahner | Oct 4, 2016 6:41 am

Sally E. Bahner Photo It was a garden party… in the lovingly maintained gardens of the Harrison House, Branford’s own historic treasure.

The 1724 Harrison House can truly be called Branford’s own since the Branford Historical Society successfully raised the funds in just one year for its purchase from Historic New England (formerly the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities).

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Parkside Village Project Downsized

by Diana Stricker | Oct 3, 2016 6:00 am

With Permission The developer seeking to rebuild Parkside Village I, which houses low-income seniors, has downsized the project after complaints that the proposed building was too large for the site.

“We’re really trying in good faith to find a solution,” said Dara Kovel, president of Beacon Communities LLC of Boston.  Beacon is working with Branford’s Housing Authority on the project.

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Parkside Village Zoning Changes Face Obstacles

by marcia chambers | Sep 21, 2016 7:10 am

With Permission More than 100 neighbors, some respectful, some rude, challenged plans to redevelop Parkside Village 1 last week, saying a massive new building 40 feet high was out of sync with the neighborhood both in scale and design.

Dissent against the proposed plan to redevelop the low-income senior housing project came not only from a well-organized group of neighbors, but from a few Planning & Zoning commissioners as well as by Harry Smith, the town planner. Smith seemed disheartened by the scale and scope of the proposed changes, which requires that Parkside 1 buildings be demolished and rebuilt. He said the proposed new housing was “more akin to a commercial building.”

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P&Z Consensus: Deny Pawson Park Project

by marcia chambers | Sep 16, 2016 12:00 pm

Marcia Chambers Photo The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) won’t vote on a small affordable housing project on what is termed an “unbuildable lot” in Pawson Park until its next meeting, but the commissioners expressed concern and disapproval about the project last night.

The half-acre property at 239 Pawson Road is located in a flood plain, and contains tidal wetlands and an easement to an adjacent 20 acres of state-owned open-space property.

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Rising Seas, Tidal Wetlands and Affordable Housing?

by Diana Stricker | Sep 8, 2016 5:59 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission has two months to discuss a request to build affordable housing on what has been termed an “unbuildable” lot on Branford’s shoreline. The half-acre property is located in a flood plain, and contains tidal wetlands and an easement to an adjacent 20 acres of state-owned open-space property.

“We have time,” said Chairman Charles Andres following the close of the public hearing last week.  Andres said the commission needs to discuss and review all the documents and testimony before making a decision.  “This is something that I think we should take very carefully … and discuss it thoroughly,” he said.

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ZBA Rejects Controversial Shoreline Home

by Diana Stricker | Aug 17, 2016 12:30 pm | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo A Middletown man showed Branford’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) photos of the half-acre lot where he hoped to build a shoreline home, but the board denied his requests for variances, saying he knew when he bought the land last year it was not a buildable lot.

Diana Stricker Photo The ZBA voted unanimously to deny the variances after a two-hour public hearing Tuesday night that attracted about 50 people. The previous owner‘s request for variances was denied in January 2015.

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