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Apartments, small retail approved for Westport Avenue and Renzulli Road

Screenshot from Wednesday’s Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Zoom.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved plans for a mixed-use development, featuring 136 apartment units, more than 6,800 square feet of retail space, and amenities for residents at Westport Avenue and Renzulli Road, near the Westport border.

Currently the site includes a dry cleaner and a vacant building that was used as a liquor store.

“We are here to turn this into this,” said Craig Flaherty, the principal engineer for the project, pointing at the architectural rendering of the property.

Screenshot from Wednesday’s Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Zoom.

The building will include a mix of apartments from studios up to three bedrooms:

  • Two studios
  • 55 one-bedroom units
  • 69 two-bedroom units
  • 10 three-bedroom units

 

As per the city’s workforce housing requirements, 10% of the apartments will be affordable, including two of the three-bedroom units, which Flaherty noted was a need in the city.

The property amenities for residents will include a pool, dog run area, and walking trails. Flaherty highlighted the “significant amount of landscaping” that was added to the site, particularly trees around parking areas and around the back property to provide a buffer between the site and the neighbors, as well as plantings throughout. He also noted that the site would feature a much-improved stormwater management system.

The City’s Transportation, Mobility, and Parking department had multiple requests, some of which the applicant did, such as pulling crash data and reducing the number of curb cuts, or how cars can access the site, to one. Flaherty said that the property owner would work with TMP to see if they could also add pedestrian enhancements to Lois Street, which is nearby, which was also a request of the department. The project also closes off Renzulli Road, a private road, into a cul-de-sac, instead of extending through to Westport Avenue. The project still has to get final approval from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), because Westport Avenue is a state road.

Greg Del Rio, a traffic engineer for the project, said that the development would add about three seconds of delay at some of the peak a.m. and p.m. times.

“It maintains the efficient flow out there today,” he said.

Just three members of the public spoke during the public portion of the meeting. Resident Diane Lauricella praised the detail and site design that went into the plans.

“I wanted to highly recommend this application because of the details and the care given,” she said, adding that she appreciated the additional housing and smaller retail that would come to the site. “It’s a major improvement. There seems to be a lot of care given to planting native plants and very careful improvement of stormwater management.”

Lauricella did ask about environmental remediation on the site, particularly the dry cleaner’s property, which Flaherty noted had some “trouble spots,” that they were working with an environmental consultant on.

Resident Giby Gregory, whose home backs up to the project, said that he believed he would be “right next to the commercial development.” He also said that he was concerned about the trees and whether that’s “going to be a problem.”

Commissioners, who voted unanimously to approve the project, praised the design work and efforts to buffer the neighborhood.

“I’m satisfied that all of those have been met,” said Richard Roina, a Planning and Zoning commissioner, who added that one of his priorities is compatibility with the neighborhood that has been met. “I think they’ve done fantastic design.”

2 comments

Ben Hanpeter January 20, 2023 at 11:51 am

It’s great to see more housing being built in Norwalk, it is sorely needed to help address the housing affordability crisis we suffer from.

My only complaint is that this part of Route 1 has poor connectivity, transit, and walkability, so this isn’t quite the slam dunk in the same way that projects around SoNo and the train stations are. But that’s not a huge deal; for now it’s just important that we have more housing. Nice work P&Z.

James Izzo January 20, 2023 at 3:22 pm

The project looks beautiful and would be a great improvement. My question is where is the entrance going to be? Kings Highway South Westport? A new on created? It would make sense to keep the flow out onto Connecticut Avenue for First Responders, deliveries etc.

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