NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Zoning Commission appears set to grant another six-month extension to POKO Partners for its Wall Street Place project – this time with many conditions.
The three-member Plan Review Committee voted unanimously to recommend that POKO be given that extension at Wednesday’s Zoning Commission meeting. This would be the sixth extension for the developer, which Commissioner Mike O’Reilly described as “poorly funded.”
Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo said the conditions came out of a conversation with new Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola. This would be the first time the commission has put conditions in an extension for POKO, Santo said. The conditions include paying the building permit fee by May 22, before POKO would be eligible for another extension.
The current extension expires Dec. 20. If the commission does not approve the extension, POKO could conceivably pull a building permit and be in compliance, but Attorney Liz Suchy, representing POKO, said that wouldn’t happen.
Under the new agreement, POKO would be required to submit seven pieces of information by Jan. 23:
- The details of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) commitment of a $5 million Urban Investment Grant
- The details of POKO’s application to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) for low income housing tax credits
- Evidence of Norwalk Redevelopment Agency support for the project and details for any conditions
- Estimated date of completion for drawings needed to obtain a zoning permit
- Estimated cost for obtaining a building permit and written confirmation of that amount from the building department
- Estimated date for the surety to be submitted
- Provide funding source for above surety
By March 20, POKO would be required to:
- Provide evidence of closing on the $19.8 million loan from Citibank
- Provide updates on funding commitments from DECD and CHFA
- Submit the required surety
- Submit zoning permit drawings
- Provide estimated date for completion of building permit drawings
By May 22, POKO would be required to:
- Provide updates on DECD and CHFA funding and the Citibank loan
- Show evidence that approved zoning permits have been obtained
- Show evidence that completed building permit drawings and building permit fees have been submitted to the building department
“I don’t think they have demonstrated good faith at all and I have serious doubts that this project is going to get built,” Commissioner Jim White said. “… It’s just disgraceful the condition this property has been kept in and I don’t think they deserve an extension.”
Nevertheless, White seconded the motion to recommend approving the extension. Mike Mushak made the motion.
Santo said he agreed with White, before speaking about the matter with Coppola.