Exit 11 ‘Commercial Design District’ proposed
Posted: Jun 03, 2019 10:15 AM
REMARK: This version of the story updates an earlier version published in the May 31, 2019 print edition of The Newtown Bee. This story is based on revised information that was submitted by the applicant to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will hold a public hearing on a local man’s proposal to create a Commercial Design District (CDD) overlay zone near the Interstate Exit 11 interchange 84 at Sandy Hook.
The development approach is similar to the Exit 10 Commercial Design District (X10-CDD) overlay area, which the P&Z created in 2015 at the request of a developer for the Church Hill Road / Edmond Road area.
The public hearing on the proposed Exit 11 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at the Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street. However, the hearing could be postponed and be held at a date later than June 6, according to the city’s land use planning agency.
Because the request calls for a âtext changeâ to the zoning by-law, the legal announcement of the public hearing was made through newspaper advertisements. The request does not require that mailed notices of hearing be sent to landowners living near the area that would be affected.
The P&Z proposal is only for creating regulations for the proposed area, which is listed as the Interchange Commercial Design District (ICDD) area on the mapping submitted with the May 21 application.
James F. Walsh of Yearling Lane is the applicant seeking P&Z approval for the ICDD zoning bylaws. Monroe’s Solli Engineering LLC prepared the request.
If the P&Z creates such a zone, the applicant will later need to obtain a change of zone for the land where such development would take place and will also need to obtain a special zoning permit and site development plan approval. Mailed notices of public hearings on these aspects of a development project would be sent to landowners with properties within 500 feet of the affected site.
The land under consideration for potential commercial development is in the northern section of a 2.86 acre lot with address and access to 32 Berkshire Road. As shown in a map submitted to P&Z on May 29, the theoretically proposed area for the rezoning of (M-5) Industriel to ICDD is approximately half the area of ââthe rezoning area that the developer had proposed in a P&Z submission of the May 21st. The May 21 proposal included land on the west side of Toddy Hill Road which has two access points on that street. The land at 32 Berkshire Road currently owns a mulching business.
The approval of the X10-CDD zone by the P&Z in 2015 followed a lengthy review, one of the key aspects of this zone being the arrangements for an ATM service for a restaurant. It was the first time since the city’s zoning came into effect in 1958 that the P&Z had agreed to allow such a drive-thru for a restaurant. Allowing drive-thru for restaurants has long been a hot topic among local land use planning agencies, with potential waste and traffic jams among the concerns.
A shopping complex at 73-75 Church Hill Road, which was built under Zoning By-law X10-CDD and is nearing completion, will include a Starbucks Coffee tenant with drive-thru.
Likewise, the proposed ICDD zone near Exit 11 would allow restaurants with a drive-through counter service. The proposed zoning rules include detailed specifications for such drive-thru facilities.
The zoning application states that the proposed zoning by-law for the ICDD zone would change the wording of the X10-CDD zoning by-law, adapting these rules for use on land near Exit 11. The proposed development for an ICDD zone near of Exit 11 would be subject to and landscaping review and commentary by the city’s Design Advisory Board (DAB).
Under Mr. Walsh’s proposed zoning by-law, all land uses that are currently permitted in an M-5 zone would continue to be permitted, if the M-5 lands are ultimately rezoned into ICDD, thereby allowing the lands to be re-zoned into ICDD. ‘be used for various industrial, commercial and commercial uses.
New uses that would be permitted in an ICDD zone through a special zoning permit would include restaurants with outdoor service and drive-thru facilities, but no outdoor entertainment, financial institutions, and financial institutions with parking facilities. drive-thru facilities. In view of the traffic problems, access to businesses would be controlled by a traffic light or permitted via a restricted-turn lane.
Typically, land use officials formulate regulations for proposed overlap areas. Other local overlay areas are the Sandy Hook Design District (SHDD) at Sandy Hook Center, the Hawleyville Center Design District (HCDD) in Hawleyville Center, the South Main Village Design District (SMVDD) along South Main Street, and the Animal Sanctuary Design District (ASDD) in Fairfield Hills. Such design districts usually allow more flexibility in the design of a project than the underlying area allows.
The proposed shopping area near the I-84 Exit 11 interchange precedes the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) $ 17.7 million project to make a series of road improvements at Exit 11 and nearby to facilitate movement in an area that regularly becomes congested during the daily morning and evening peak periods for commuters. This DOT project is expected to begin construction in fall 2020.
A key feature of the DOT project is the creation of an auxiliary access ramp for Exit 11 which would provide motorists with another access point to this sweeping interchange. This ramp is intended to allow westbound traffic on Berkshire Road (Route 34) to enter the Exit 11 interchange via the area just west of the intersection of Berkshire Road with Toddy Hill Road, offering motorists alternate access to both east and west of I-84. The new ramp is expected to reduce traffic at the often congested intersection of Berkshire Road and Wasserman Way.
The Exit 11 Improvement Project has been in the planning stage for over 20 years.
Likewise, the creation of the X10-CDD zone at Church Hill Road preceded a national road improvement project. The $ 2.85 million project created a four-lane intersection with standard signage at Church Hill Road, Commerce Road and Edmond Road, which aims to improve traffic flow in this congested area.
Shown is the access to land at 32 Berkshire Road where a mulching company does business. The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider an application to create a new “commercial design district” area at Exit 11 near Exit 11 of Interstate 84. âBee Photo, Gorosko
The city’s land use agency received this map on May 29. It represents a site at 32 Berkshire Road where a developer wishes to create a “commercial design district” area for Exit 11 of Interstate 84. The left central area of ââthe map, which is marked with a thick outline and dark, is a possible site for such zoning. The map indicates a proposed new shopping area that would be about half the size of such an area that the developer proposed on May 21.