P&Z Watch: Oak Ridge 31-Unit 8-30g Proposed to Replace Two 1920s Houses

Joe Pecora appeared before the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday with a pre-application for a 31-unit housing development in Chickahominy to take the place of two houses in Oak Ridge Street.

Pecora, whose name is increasingly associated with developments submitted to P&Z under the State’s affordable housing statute 8-30g, was this time representing someone else, Newfield Properties LLC.

Typically an attorney represents an applicant, but in this case Mr. Pecora, not an attorney but rather an owner’s representative, spoke on behalf of  Newfield Properties, LLC.

According to the Secretary of the State website, Newfield Properties LLC is registered to Elidon Amiti of Stamford.

This particular 8-3og proposal is for “assisted housing” at 25-27 Oak Ridge Street.

Oak Ridge streetscape looking south.

Parking is in the basement.

Mr. Pecora said the Affordable Housing Trust Fund had provided a “conditional commitment letter” that would allow the building to be reduced from four stories to three, under the condition that the 31 units include 7 affordable units at 80% Area Median Income (versus that is typical which is 15% at 60% State Median Income and 15% at 80% State Median Income which is lower).

The proposed building will be four stories tall, but the rendering in the file shows 3. The basement parking is considered a story, but is not visible from this view.

Per the Assessor’s office at Greenwich Town Hall, 25 Oak Ridge Street sold from Sutton Real Estate LLC to Newfield Properties LLC on May 4, 2023 for $1,100,000.

27 Oak Ridge Street sold in February of 2020 from Dragon 27 Oak Ridge LLC to Newfield Properties LLC for $1,062,888.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pecora noted that there are other buildings on the street with three-story multi-family houses. (They are grandfathered; today the max for new construction in theR-6 zone is for two-family homes. However, under 8-30g the applicant is exempt from local zoning.)

Pecora said initially the proposal was for a five-story building.

“I was asked to help get this through the approval process. I quickly indicated to the developer that five stories probably wouldn’t fly,” Pecora daid. “And given the amount of parking on site, four stories would be a better choice.”

“When we looked at the financials, I quickly tried to see if there was a way to work with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to reduce it from four stories to three stories – and we were financially able to do that. I think it will help for the neighborhood and for parking.”

He said although there is on-street parking,  48 parking spaces are proposed, including 2 ADA spaces, and they would recommend no parking be allowed in front of the building except for deliveries and emergency vehicles.

The units will be rental apartments with the following breakdown: eight (8) 1-Bedroom/1 Bathroom apartments and twenty-three (23) 2-Bedroom/2-Bathroom apartments.

As for sewers.

“It is what it is,” Pecora said. “You know as well as I do what’s going to happen. Richard (Feminella from the Sewer Dept) and the gang will look at it during the final applications, analyze it and make recommendations as to how to get it through the process.”

“If you approve it, they’re going to make it work, and if the sewer department knows where the problem is, they should probably fix it,” he added.

Mr. Macri noted the basement level parking goes all the way to the property line.

“Can you consider creating some kind of buffer around the edges so it’s a little further away from the other properties?” Macri asked, adding that that would mitigate the impact to the street.

“We obviously looked at that,” Pecora said. “We helped build 62 Mason Street* which had the same thing related to parking in the garage and on the lot line. This is unfortunately a similar situation. To get to the parking you have to get to the property lines.”

*Downtown Greenwich Prepares for Redevelopment at 62 Mason Street Sept 29, 2020

Commissioner Dennis Yeskey asked if Mr. Pecora thought there might be potential for copycat opportunities on the street. Pecora said there were not, but that was mainly due to the cost of properties.

There were no public comments on the application.

Ms Alban said she would like to see more green area included, especially for families with children.

She noted that when the housing authority came into existence in 1949 their properties were mandated to include playgrounds.

The application is only a pre-application and the discussion was non binding.

Stay tuned.

See also:

Pre-Application for 31-Unit 8-30g in Chickahominy Submitted to Greenwich P&Z

Oct 25, 2023