BY ANDREAS YILMA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — Developers of the proposed mixed-use plan for Parcel B cleared a key hurdle last week.

The Zoning Commission closed the hearing, approving the architectural drawings and special permit for Phase 1 of the transit-oriented project.

ANDREAS YILMA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN Engineer Geoffrey Fitzgerald gives a presentation about Parcel B development plans during a Zoning Commission hearing Dec. 21 at Naugatuck Town Hall.

The special permit comes with 10 conditions, which include the applicant needs to provide a landscaping storm water quality and sediment and erosion bond in the amount of $234,000; the developers needs to submit a more detailed landscaping plan; the applicant must submit a supplemental drainage report; and the developers must submit a detailed traffic impact study.

The commission on Nov. 16 approved text changes to the land use regulations that creates a special development district including six properties: 0 Maple St., 83 Maple St., 87 Maple St., 98 Water St. and 0 Elm St. 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 change to the regulations went 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. from 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, which is being relocated by the state Department of Transportation.

The state DOT has allotted funding for the relocation of the Naugatuck train station from Water Street near The Station Restaurant to Parcel B.

These moves come after improvements and expansion of service to the Waterbury branch line of the Metro-North Railroad have taken place.

The recent approval is only for phase one of the Parcel B project that will be roughly one-third portion of the north end of the parcel at the 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 currently is selling to the developer. 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, 2,700 square feet of retail and 77 parking spaces.

“We designed this to attract tenants that will 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 Pennrose Management Co., who will be the property managers, have over 35 years of experience with managing similar properties and have a current portfolio of 10,000 units across the nation.

Cheung said they are hopeful to begin construction on the project by the end of 2023.

Geoffrey Fitzgerald, an engineer with Bohler, a civil engineering company from  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. This 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 and there will be space for buses, Fitzgerald said.