One step closer to Parcel B’s future

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BY ANDREAS YILMA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — Parcel B developers for the proposed mixed use residential and commercial development cleared a hurdle to move further closer to construction.

Geoffrey Fitzgerald, Professional Engineer with Bohler, gives a presentation at a public hearing at the Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at Town Hall.
ANDREAS YILMA

The Zoning Commission at its regular Dec. 14 meeting on Dec. 14 closed the public hearing before it approved the draft architectural drawings and the special permit application with for phase one of the Transit Oriented Development project.

The special permit application approval comes with 10 conditions that include the applicant needs to provide a landscaping storm water quality and sediment and erosion bond for $234,000; the developers needs to submit a more detailed landscaping plan; the applicant needs to submit a supplemental drainage report; and the developers need to submit a detailed traffic impact study.

The commission on Nov. 16 approved text changes to six properties: 0 Maple St., 83 Maple St., 87 Maple St., 98 Water St. and 0 Elm St. to the land use regulations that creates a special development district to create a “combined working, service, shopping, retail, restaurant/dining, entertainment, recreation, residential, hotel, medical, technology, industry, educational, energy creation, office and other compatible uses in a coordinated environment.” The text change goes into effect Dec. 5.

Earlier this year, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses chose Pennrose, a real estate development company from Philadelphia, and the Cloud Co. of Hartford  to develop 7.75 acres at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road, also known as Parcel B.

The project will connect the existing downtown area to the TOD project on Parcel B. Parcel B adjoins the Waterbury Branch Line adjacent to the location of the new train platform to be relocated by the state Department of Transportation. The state DOT has allotted funding for the relocation of the Naugatuck train station from Water Street to Parcel B. This also comes after improvements and expansion of service to the Waterbury branch line of the Metro-North Railroad have taken place.

The approval is only for phase one of the Parcel B project, which covers roughly one-third portion of the north end of the parcel at the very corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter said phase one is the only part of the project the borough is selling to the developer at the moment. The train station portion will still be owned by the borough, he added.

Pennrose Developer and Project Manager Karmen Cheung said phase one will have 60 units with a mix of one and two bedrooms, 2700 sq ft. of retail and 77 parking spaces.

“We designed this to be a TOD project, to attract tenants that’ll be interested in living a lifestyle that takes advantage of being close to the train station and downtown,” Cheung said. “We want to attract people who want to walk and take a public transit to their destinations whether it be work or entertainment and ultimately be less car dependent.”

Cheung said they are hopeful to get a shovel in the ground by the end of 2023.

Geoffrey Fitzgerald, a professional engineer with Bohler, a civil engineering company out of West Hartford, said Maple Street is important and the gateway to downtown.

“We recognized the importance of the redevelopment of this piece, not just to provide much needed housing and diverse types of housing but to provide economic development on the site and spur economic growth throughout the rest of downtown and Naugatuck and the region,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the original surveyors who laid out the borough more than 100 years ago knew to line up the streets and put the buildings out in the forefront on the streets and is what developers envision for the first phase proposed building on the corner of the downtown intersection.

There will be 69 parking spaces dedicated to DOT along the rail line for commuters, said Fitzgerald. There will be space for buses as well, Fitzgerald said.

Cheung said the DOT will be responsible to further develop Water Street all the way to the new proposed train station and the borough will look to undertake efforts to continue the street all the way to Rubber Avenue.

There will also be a new public street going east to west in between the first phase and the other two phases of the project, Cheung said.

The intent is to turn it into a town road, said borough attorney Ned Fitzpatrick said.

Joseph Healy, an architect and managing principal of the firm WRT, out of Philadelphia, said the two big points around the vision of the project are the opportunity for the project to connect with community and the downtown as well as creating a destination.

“Maple (Street) is really an important part of creating that gateway so that you kind of get that continuity moving right into that downtown core area itself,” Healy said.

Healy said they want to make sure that whatever they are doing is to be complimentary with what’s already happening in the town itself. Developers look to reinforce that existing tree canopy on Church Street. They also look to create garden areas and other landscaping.

Carter said the police and fire commissions approved the special permit application. The planning commission also gave a positive referral with a recommendation to receive a full drainage plan.