WATERFORD – A wooded parcel of Great Neck Road in an area zoned for industrial use will be developed into a mix of duplexes and houses that town officials hope can serve as a model for future development as the town looks to diversify its housing stock.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Ivy Hill Village, a proposal by Adams Builders to develop 20 single-family houses and 10 duplexes on about 11 acres at 48 Great Neck Road. Two of the duplexes, or a total of four units, will be designated as affordable housing — half for people earning 60 percent or less of the median area income and half for people earning 80 percent or less.
The developer used a “Planned Design District” to take a property zoned for industrial use and gain approval for a common-interest community that would add a mix of smaller and affordable housing to Waterford. The single-family homes will be around 1,200 square feet.
Town Planner Mark Wujtewicz told CT Examiner that the Planned Design Districts, or PDDs, are meant to help develop commercial and industrial properties that have been difficult to develop under the existing zoning.
Under the rules of a PDD, a developer can come to the commission with an idea of how to redevelop a property, and the commission can decide to essentially create a new zone for that property to allow the development. It was first used in Waterford to redevelop a bowling alley on Boston Post Road into a plaza with an Aldi and a bank.
The property on Great Neck Road that was just approved for a housing development was previously zoned for industrial use, but it neighbored a residential development and was too small to develop for an industrial use, Wujtewicz said.
“The concept here was, it’s a good transition to put this PDD, which allows multifamily, between the existing single-family district next door and the remaining industrial properties,” Wujtewicz said. “Prior to the PDD, you weren’t allowed to put residential uses in industrial zones, so the concept was to take this industrial property, rezone it to something that can act as a transition and provide more housing options.”
The PDD-2 zone – which includes only this property – is the only area zoned in Waterford to require housing units to be set aside as affordable, Wujtewicz said. The town had asked the developer if it would include the affordable set aside, but the decision to include it as a condition of the zone was voluntary by the developer, he said.
Before the commission voted to approve the project, commissioner Karen Barnett said she hoped the development was an opportunity for other projects in Waterford to follow. Wujtewicz said he was hopeful it could be a model not just for having more designated affordable housing in town, but for more common-interest communities with smaller residential units that could diversify the town’s housing stock.
Joe Wren, the engineer representing Skip and Gordy Adams to the commission, said that the prices of all of the homes would be in the “300s and 400s” range, which he described as “affordable” for the area.
“There’s been a lot of interest in this already, even though there’s not a shovel in the ground yet, and the Adams feel that it will be wildly successful and diversify the housing portfolio in town,” Wren told the commission.