Noroton Heights redevelopment poised to become a reality
DARIEN — Drainage, traffic and parking were three of the largest looming issues for the redevelopment of the western side of Noroton Heights heading into Tuesday night.
By the end of the Tuesday Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, any remaining doubts appeared to be assuaged.
Up to that point, the commission had already accepted a redevelopment concept that would raze the existing buildings west of Palmer’s Market in Noroton Heights and build two three-story buildings with 59 residential units and first-floor retail, complete with a public plaza.
“The additional traffic from the proposed redevelopment will not have a significant impact to the study area with the proposed improvements,” said Transportation Engineer Craig Yannes, of Shelton-based engineering firm Tighe and Bond.
Those improvements include widening Heights Road westbound to allow for a left-turn lane onto Hollow Tree Ridge Road, restriping Heights Road to signify a bypass lane heading eastbound, and optimizing traffic signals throughout the area.
The plan also calls for 397 parking spaces, 74 of which would be subsurface spots reserved for tenants.
In order to mitigate flooding on the eastern side of the property, where drainage issues are most severe, the applicant presented an amended plan that would relocate a water detention system originally planned west of Palmer’s Market, according to John Richer, also of Tighe and Bone.
“This change represents a significant concession by the applicant in the interest of being good neighbors and helping to reduce this flooding issue,” Richer said.
Both Holt McChord, of Wilton-based McChord Engineering Associates, who was contracted by the town, and Director of Public Works Edward Gentile acknowledged the proposed mitigation techniques were not a panacea to the area’s drainage issues, but were a major step in the right direction.
“This project here with regard to the flooding issue on Heights Road is not as critical as the next one you folks are going to see. But it does play an important role in setting a standard on how we address flooding in a localized area,” Gentile said, referencing the Federal Realty-proposed redevelopment east of Edgerton Avenue, for which site plans are expected soon.
With the public hearing closed, the commission will discuss the matter at a future meeting not yet set. The commission has until May 11 to vote on the development.