Downtown Darien development makes strides, receives first Planning and Zoning approval
DARIEN — For the developer who proposed a bold new redevelopment for downtown Darien, the second time in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission was the charm.
“We are very encouraged by the response of P&Z to our recent application for a text amendment and we believe that the adjustments made will work overall,” said David Genovese, principal of the developer Baywater Properties, whose second application for amendments to downtown zoning regulations was approved by the commission.
Baywater had originally proposed buildings of up to 95 feet in 2016, before pulling its application for amendments to regulations in October and then debuting new, scaled down plans in January 2017. The mixed-use development would feature ground level retail and restaurants with 64 apartment units above in the area currently bounded by the Bank of America Building on Post Road, Corbin Drive and Interstate 95. The commission also allowed modified parking dimensions of 9 feet by 18 feet, smaller than the 9 feet by 20 feet dimensions elsewhere in town.
The newly approved regulations allow for four story buildings up to 55 feet and 5 story buildings of 70 feet. Genovese said in a public hearing earlier this year the peak of the tallest building would not exceed 69 feet.
Though the new regulations are reduced from his original plans, Genovese said he feels positively about the way in which the plans were received.
“This was a hard and long process and we are looking forward to the future. The discussions with P and Z in this last application were very constructive. Everyone worked hard to achieve what will hopefully be a great result,” Genovese said.
Also stipulated is a substantial public plaza that Genovese has agreed to build. According to the commission’s conditions, the “town green” must be at least 10,000 square feet. It would likely be located across from the current Webster Bank.
Genovese and Baywater must now return to the commission with site plans before any building can start on the premises.
“We will be engaging the rest of our team of consultants now, with the goal of submitting a site plan application to the P and Z Commission in the late summer or early fall. With continued focus our goal would be to attain site plan approval by year-end 2017,” Genovese said.