Proposed 8-30g Could Reduce from 386 Units to 220 Units If Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust Fund is Tapped

A new pre-application for a development of 220 residential units has been submitted to Greenwich Planning & Zoning on behalf of the owner of two lots in Pemberwick: 200 Pemberwick Rd and 0 Comly Ave.

The pre-application would comply with the state affordable housing statute 8-30g as an “assisted housing development” with participation of Greenwich’s Affordable Housing Trust.

The owners of the two lots are WH Parcel I LLC and WH Parcel II LLC. Both LLCs are registered to Aldo Pascarella.

WH stands for “Waterfall Hollow.”

The pre-application was submitted by Brent L. Carrier from CRE Development out of Larchmont.

On Pemberwick-Glenville Day in May 2015 Aldo Pascarella gave a tour of the historic commercial building and patio overlooking waterfall at Byram River. Photo: Leslie Yager
View from west side of the Byram River of buildings at 200 Pemberwick Rd.
Rendering of development at 0 Comly Ave and 200 Pemberwick Rd, “Waterfall Hollow.”
Rendering of development at Parcel II shows parking at ground level and a six story building.

Parcel I fronts on Pemberwick Road and features a two story office building that was built in 1900 and substantially remodeled in 1990. It also features a separate 1-story with mezzanine fitness center built in 1948, substantially remodeled in 2013, totaling 44,872 square feet.

Parcel II is across the river and fronts on Comly Ave. It is currently a parking lot for 154 vehicles.

Per the narrative on file, the applicant proposes to construct 3 separate FEMA-compliant buildings ranging from 2 to 6 stories of residential units with parking at ground level on Parcel II.

The lot area is 5.566 acres.

The properties are on either side of the Byram River and are connected by a pedestrian bridge.

Parcel I is primarily in the AE Flood Zone.

Parcel II is primarily in the X Flood Zone.

The surrounding neighborhood is mostly single and two-family homes.

During Pemberwick-Glenville day in May 2015 residents crossed the pedestrian bridge from 0 Comly Ave parking lot to the building at 200 Pemberwick Rd. Photo: Leslie Yager

Of the 220 units, 55 units would be deed restricted pursuant to standards established by the Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust as a condition of the funding they anticipate receiving from the Trust.

Per the applicant’s narrative, there would be good traffic flow because the property is accessible from both Pemberwick Road and King Street via Comly Avenue.

On Dec 1 the chair of the Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Bob Barolak, who is also a P&Z commissioner, wrote a letter to Mr. Pascarella saying he had shared Pascarella’s basic plan for the two properties that would feature 179 residential units in converted buildings on Parcel 1 and 207 units on Parcel II for a total of 386 units.

Barolak notes that under the set aside provisions of 8-30g the proposed density of the development would greatly exceed what would otherwise be permitted under the site’s existing zoning.

But, he added that through participation in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund the number of units might be reduced to the 220 units mentioned above.

“As an alternative, you have suggested that you would be willing to accept a modest funding amount from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which would confer upon this project the status of an ‘assisted housing’ project under 8-30g,” Barolak wrote. “This would enable it to utilize the rent and income standards established by the Trust for projects which receive its funding, which would be at 80% of area median income rather than an average of 70% of state median income.”

“You have indicated that, should the project be able to offer its affordable units at these higher rent levels, the size of the development could be reduced quite significantly,” Barolak continued. “You have shown me numbers for an ‘assisted housing’ development with a total of 220 units of which roughly 25% would be restricted to persons earning not more than either 80% or 60% of area median income.”

Barolak said he anticipated that the Trust would be able to consider issuing a conditional commitment for the project before the end of 2022.

The applicant seeks to present the project plans at the commission’s first available hearing.

“High Velocity Floodway”

The last time these properties came before the P&Z commission was when the applicant was The Cedar School in spring 2021. The school’s owner said he anticipated 25 students in the first year, who would all be driven and picked up from school.

At the time, commission chair Margarita Alban said DEEP had a comment that when the Byram River rises it is dangerous.

“They made the comment that you should closely monitor potential flood events because it is a dangerous high velocity floodway,” she said. “We would ask you when you have an upcoming storm event that you have an emergency evacuation plan prepped.”

A dam located up-river falls under the purview of DEEP, though at the time it was not clear who owned the dam.

The application for the Cedar School was approved in June 2021.

Rendering of Waterfall Hollow at Parcel I.
Rendering of development at Parcel 1 shows waterfall.
Aerial view of Parcel I and II, which are on either side of the Byram River.