Developer revives housing proposal in Beacon Falls

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

BEACON FALLS — A developer is making another attempt to build over 100 homes on an undeveloped parcel of land off Oakwood Drive near the Bethany border.

Hopp Brook Developers, LLC, which is based in Shelton, is seeking to change the zone of the 135-acre parcel from Residential 1 to a Planned Residential Open Space District as well as a text amendment to proceed with a development called “Hopp Brook Village.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission scheduled hearings on the applications starting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 at a location that was to be determined.

This isn’t the first time Hopp Brook Developers has gone down this road.

In 2017, the then-Planning and Zoning Commission approved changing the zone of the land for the project, then called “Hopp Brook Estates,” but the legal notice announcing the change incorrectly stated the area for the change as Burton Road and Fairfield Place instead of Oakwood Drive.

Last September, Hopp Brook Developers submitted two new applications — one for the zone change and another for a special exception for the project. The purpose of the second zone change application was to amend the legal notice.

Dozens of residents opposed the proposed development, expressing concerns about the new homes and residents putting a strain town services.

The commission in February unanimously denied the application without prejudice, meaning Hopp Brook Developers could reapply.

Stephen Bellis, an attorney and a principal with Hopp Brook Developers, said the plan for the development is basically the same. The proposal is for 109 three-bedroom homes, an outdoor community pool, a pool house and recreational area. There would be private water and a private homeowner’s association would be responsible for maintaining the roads. Forty acres of the land would be designated for open space.

Unlike the previous proposal, the new plan would set aside 30% of the homes — about 33 homes — for people who earn 80% of the average income in the area.

Bellis said if the commission denies the application, then the town has the burden of proof in Superior Court to prove why they denied it.

“It has to be a denial for reasons that outweigh the need for affordable housing,” Bellis said.

Bellis appealed the commission’s decision in February to deny the application submitted last fall. He said the appeal will move ahead simultaneously with the pending applications.

Bellis said he still thinks the proposed development is good for the town.

“It might even be a better plan,” Bellis said. “It allows some people to buy these homes that might not be able to buy them.”