81 unit affordable housing complex proposed for Lincoln Street
WESTPORT — Town’s next big land-use battle is clear: a proposal for a six-story 81 unit affordable housing apartment building at 1 Lincoln St.
The proposed 6-story multi-family residential development qualifies as affordable housing under the Connecticut general statute 8-30g.
In total, 25 of the 81 units will be affordable pursuant to CGS 8-30g, said Fairfield-based attorney John Fallon, representing Cross Street LLC, presented an overview of the project to the Planning and Zoning Commission, June 7.
For towns, like Westport, that have not received a moratorium as a result of the lack of affordable housing in compliance with 8-30g, applications for housing pursuant to 8-30g regulations can bypass town zoning laws.
“The continued lack and need for affordable housing in Westport still exists and has been candidly admitted to over the years,” Fallon said, adding the Lincoln Street proposal could housing for young and old people in Westport and town’s police, fire, school, and municipal employees who may otherwise not be able to afford to live in Westport.
The project will have 27 one-bedroom and 54 two-bedroom units, along with 153 parking spots.
Fallon said the application’s proximity to transit and location in an area with diverse property-uses makes it an ideal spot for an affordable housing application.
Cross Street LLC’s development will be built along Lincoln Street, Post Road West and Cross Street.
Although the fire safety and traffic impact reports for the proposed development are not yet available, State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-136, and his challenger for the 136th Assembly District, Republican Greg Kraut, both spoke at the June 7 meeting in opposition to the affordable housing development application.
Steinberg disagreed 1 Lincoln St. is an ideal spot for a large affordable housing development, saying the location’s placement on a hill and at the apex of two busy roads -- Post Road and Riverside Avenue, pose traffic and driving safety concerns.
“It’s a six-story building, which, to my understanding would be unprecedented in our community,” Steinberg said, albeit noting that neighborhood character is not a reliable basis for denying an 8-30g compliant application.
The salient elements upon which to deny the application are grounded in issues of health and safety, Steinberg said, questioning whether the town has the adequate sewage capacity to accommodate a complex that would house in excess of 100 people.
Kraut took the lectern and chastised Steinberg for his recent vote in the state assembly to take away the phrase “character of our town,” as a criterion for approval or denial of an 8-30g compliant affordable housing development.
“The project is simply not appropriate. It is entirely out of character with this neighborhood,” Kraut said, adding he is not against affordable housing but believes, “a 119 square foot, six-story industrial looking structure, which can not be built anywhere in town under current zoning regulations is, out of character with this neighborhood.”
The next public hearing on the 1 Lincoln St. application will be held in Westport Town Hall on June 21.
svaughan @hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1