WATERFORD — Over 200 additional apartments were approved Tuesday night for a 30-acre site adjoining the 204-unit Waterford Woods complex in town.
The new 216-unit complex, called Waterford Central, received unanimous approval for a site permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission, and unanimous approval from the town’s Design Review Board.
“This is a standalone property and a separate development; however, it is unified and somewhat of an expansion of Waterford Woods as we are connecting to their internal road network and utilities, but we are treating it as a separate application and a separate property,” said Brandon Handfield, an engineer with Yantic River Consultants, who presented the project.
The two complexes will share a driveway at 394 Willetts Ave. and will have interior connecting roads and sidewalks. They will also share amenities, including a clubhouse, pool, grilling and recreational areas, a dog park, two pickleball courts, and raised-bed organic gardening for tenants.
Waterford Central will consist of six three-story buildings of 36 apartments each. Each of the new buildings are 190 by 76 feet, or 31,715 square feet each, with a height of 40 feet to the highest gable. Parking was calculated at 1.5 spaces for each one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment, with 325 parking spaces total.
Eighteen apartments in Waterford Central will be designated as affordable housing for tenants earning up to 80 percent of the area median income. Waterford Woods has nine units designated as affordable.
A significant part of the Waterford Central application includes widening about 300 feet of Willetts Avenue to create a left turn lane.
Traffic engineer Joe Balskus, of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, said the proposed lane would alleviate some of the traffic congestion caused by cars “queuing” along Willetts Avenue as it connects with Route 1, a busy intersection.
He said trip generation estimates for the new complex were 90 in the morning peak hour between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., and 113 in the afternoon peak hour between 3 and 4 p.m., after traffic counts were performed in October 2022.
The road widening has received preliminary approval from the Office of State Traffic Administration and final approval is expected by late summer, Balskus said.
Building permits for the apartments at Waterford Central cannot be issued until the road has been widened, according to Jonathan Mullen, planning director for the town.
The public hearing for adjoining parcels at 61 and 61a Myrock Road took place last August, 9, when the developer, Waterford Central LLC, submitted an application to change the zoning to Commercial-Multi-Family Residential. The properties were previously zoned General Commercial and Medium Density Residential, respectively.
Abutters within 500 feet of the new project received notice of the public hearing, in adherence with the town policy, according to Mullen. Eleven members of the public spoke at the August hearing.
Waterford Woods underwent a similar process. The public hearing for the zoning change was held in September 2020, with no public comments given.