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Zoning Rule Changes Proposed For South Main Veterinary And Residential Uses

Published: December 29, 2017 at 12:00 am


The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) is scheduled to hold two public hearings on Thursday, January 4, on two proposals for new zoning regulations, which would allow separate veterinary and residential uses on South Main Street (Route 25). The P&Z session is slated for 7:30 pm at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.

Both applications are submitted under the terms of the South Main Village Design District (SMVDD), which is an overlay zone. The SMVDD process allows applicants to propose customized zoning regulations that are tailored to an individual property's development or redevelopment.

The P&Z created the SMVDD zoning regulations in 2007 to foster economic development that is in harmony with New England architecture along the four-mile-long South Main Corridor.

On January 4, the P&Z is scheduled to continue a public hearing, which began on December 7, concerning 94 South Main Street. Applicant Prithvi Real Estate Management, LLC, of 119 Mt Pleasant Road, Hawleyville, has already received a two-lot subdivision for that property.

Dr Rakesh Vali, the owner/veterinarian at Mt Pleasant Hospital For Animals, is a principal in Prithvi Real Estate Management, LLC.

The firm is now seeking P&Z approval for its proposed Special Design District-5 (SDD-5) regulations, which would allow the construction of a veterinary hospital, a boarding facility for small animals, and a related retail use at a 2.06-acre lot.

That lot, which has South Main Street frontage, is located on the southern corner of South Main Street and Greenbriar Lane. The other lot that was created in the P&Z's November subdivision comprises 1.07 acres and holds a house with access to Greenbriar Lane. The two lots have R-1 (Residential) zoning.

According to documents filed by Prithvi, the proposed hospital and animal boarding facility would enclose 12,791 square feet of space. Also, about 3,000 square feet of related retail space would be built.

The SDD-5 application may require a wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the Inland Wetlands Commission. Also, a change of zone from R-1 to SMVDD/SDD-5 would be required for the 2.06-acre lot at 94 South Main Street. The project's site development plan also would need to be approved by the P&Z.


The Summit Update

In the other P&Z public hearing, applicant General Real Estate Holdings, LLC, on behalf of The Savings Bank of Danbury, is seeking to create SMVDD/SDD-6 regulations, which would apply only to 146 South Main Street. That site is about seven-tenths of a mile south of 94 South Main Street. The steeply sloped 2.5-acre 146 South Main Street site has B-2 (General Business) zoning.

Following a July 2014 public hearing, the P&Z approved the construction of an 18,750-square-foot mixed-use two-story building at the site in which the lower level was approved as commercial space and the upper level was approved for up to ten rental apartments. The P&Z approved the project known as The Summit at Newtown submitted by Summit Properties Group LLC of Norwalk. The site is on the west side of South Main Street, across that street from Newtown Self-Storage.

Developers had sought to build on the site for more than a decade, submitting various commercial construction plans, which for one reason or another had failed to materialize until The Summit plan gained approval in July 2014.

Business setbacks, however, have resulted in The Summit project being only partially constructed, with the structure now suffering the effects of wind and weathering.

George Benson, town planning director, said the SDD-6 regulations being proposed by the applicant would allow the entire structure to be used for rental apartments, among various possible other uses. Under the proposed zoning regulations, a maximum of 20 apartments would be allowed.

A complicating factor is that there are no sanitary sewers in that area. Consequently, all wastewater would be discharged into a septic system for disposal. The site, however, is known to have extensive rock ledge which may require the construction of an expensive "engineered" septic system for wastewater disposal.

Other possible uses listed for the 146 South Main Street site in the proposed regulations include retail sales; banks with drive-through window service; administrative/professional offices; medical/dental offices; restaurants that include outdoor seating; grocery stores that contain cafe service with fixed seating; delicatessens and cafes with fixed seating; and a mixed-use building that has commercial tenants on the lower level and up to ten apartments on the upper level.

Before The Summit gained P&Z approval in 2014, several residents from the nearby Cedar Hill Road neighborhood listed various objections to the project.

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