Development project for Parcel B moves forward

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BY ANDREAS YILMA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — The mixed-use development project for Parcel B is rolling ahead after creating a new zone downtown.

ANDREAS YILMA CITIZEN’S NEWS
Pennrose Developer and Project Manager Karmen Cheung speaks at a Naugatuck Zoning Commission meeting on Nov. 16 at Town Hall.

The Zoning Commission on Nov. 16 approved text changes to the land use regulations that creates a special development district to create a “combined working, service, shopping, retial, restaurant/dining, entertainment, recreation, residential, hotel, medical, technology, industry, educational, energy creation, office and other compatible uses in a coordinated environment.”

“We’re trying to revitalize downtown and turn it into a combined downtown living, working, pedestrian-friendly multi-mobile restaurant dining, entertainment, recreation, residential and office use zone,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

The text change had an effective date of Dec. 5. The commission also accepted a special permit application and set a hearing for Dec. 14 at Town Hall for the proposed mixed use residential and commercial development for Parcel B.

This comes after the Planning Commission agreed Nov. 7 to send a positive referral to the Zoning Commission for both the text change and the zone change to six properties: 0 Maple St., 83 Maple St., 87 Maple St., 98 Water St. and 0 Elm St.

Along with the approval, the Planning Commission gave three recommendations: to add the word technology, to add research facilities in the area of alternative energy production and not allow drive-through commercial windows.

Earlier this year, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses chose Pennrose, a real estate development company with its headquarters in Philadelphia, and the Cloud Co., a Hartford-based firm, to develop 7.75 acres at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road, also known as Parcel B. The borough board also selected Bridgeport-based Corvus Capital Partners as the preferred developer for Parcel A or the Naugatuck Event Center at 6 Rubber Ave.

The new zone will encapsulate Parcels A and B as well as Parcels Y and Z, which are further south of the Naugatuck Event Center and where there’s abandon vehicles and junk, Hess said.

“We’ve put together the engineering and development teams from Pennrose, from Corvus and from the town with all of our staff to come up with a regulation that will fit the needs so that we can develop these projects in a manner consistent with the regulations,” Hess said.

While those two projects begin to move ahead, the borough is spending its American Rescue Plan Act money to redo the infrastructure by bringing in all new sanitary sewers and storm water systems and the complete rebuild of Maple and Church streets, Hess said.

Hess said the borough has waited years to have a real commuter line on the Waterbury Branch Line, which was launched this year. Changes to the demographics of downtown makes it much more attractive to investors and developers.

Pennrose Developer and Project Manager Karmen Cheung said the Parcel B development will be divided into three phases with 60 units for each. Developers plan for in the range of high 70s of parking spaces per 60 units. The parking lot will be located between the proposed building and the train station.

“I don’t envision that being an issue for our residents,” Cheung said.

Town Planner Lori Rotella said Pennrose Cloud submitted a special permit application on the week of Nov. 7 for the mixed use development of Parcel B.  “We want a vibrant downtown, a livable, a workable one and we want a lot of people walking around, going to restaurants buying things and have a lot more activity in downtown Naugatuck.”