Ad for low-income housing surprises officials



PROSPECT — A full-page ad that announces low income housing coming to 5 Putting Green Lane has left residents and town officials flabbergasted.

The advertisement appeared in this month’s Prospect Pages, a local monthly newspaper. Town officials, plus members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, say they were surprised or taken aback.

As of Tuesday an application for low income housing hadn’t been submitted for that property, said William Donovan, the town’s land use inspector.

The property is owned by Louis DiMuzio, also known as Louis Nichole, a Waterbury native who is an acclaimed designer and craftsman.

In April, a fire damaged a portion of Nichole’s palatial estate at 54 New Haven Road. Local and state fire marshals determined the fire to be accidental and the cause to be electrical.

The advertisement reads: “Low Income Housing, 5 Putting Green, One of Connecticut’s largest low income housing lifestyle communities … coming to PROSPECT … with spectacular vistas, glorious gardens, rolling hills and ponds, a church, a community center, a greenhouse with sustainable farming.”

Nichole couldn’t be reached for comment. An email sent to the email address listed on the ad was returned as undeliverable.

While there are no applications for low income housing at that address, Nichole earlier this year sought to redesignate the zoning of that property from residential two-acre to residential one-acre before the Planning and Zoning Commission, Donovan said.

The commission unanimously denied the application in June, according to meeting minutes.

Minutes show that Nichole sought to change the zone designation of 5 Putting Green Lane, as well as 54 New Haven Road, 56 New Haven Road and 78 New Haven Road.

According to the June meeting minutes, E. Gil Graveline Jr., commission chairman, referenced information the commission received from the state Department of Public Health, which stated that the properties’ current zone designation is consistent with the state’s Conservation and Development Policies Plan, with that plan recommending keeping minimum lot sizes at two acres.

In the minutes, Graveline also stated that the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development identifies these properties as “conservation area within a water supply watershed,” and that the plan recommends keeping minimum two-acre lot sizes.

Nichole at a March meeting told the commission that he wanted the zone change to simplify his estate for his heirs; as an alternative, he may want to sell the property in the future, minutes indicate.

Last week, Graveline, who lives on Putting Green Lane, said he was extremely surprised when he learned of the ad.

“Maybe (Nichole) is just looking for prospective developers,” Graveline said.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said the ad was a complete surprise. He said he would oppose the plan, adding that Prospect is a rural town.

“This would change the character of the town and add traffic,” Chatfield said.