P&Z Watch: “Pemberwick Hills” 8-30g Requires Substantial Removal of Ledge Rock

A proposed 10-unit apartment building at 237 Pemberwick Road was discussed at Thursday’s Planning & Zoning commission meeting.

The property is zoned R-7, Single Family Residence 7,500 square feet.

The applicant is 237 Pemberwick LLC , Joe Pecora, manager. Mr. Pecora participated in the discussion. He was accompanied by attorney Chris Smith.

The application is being submitted under the state’s affordable housing statute 8-30g as government assisted and the applicant worked with Greenwich’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund toward that end.

In August the trust approved a $50,000 loan.

Two 1-bedroom units will be “housing opportunity units” for a period of 40 years.

House proposed to be demolished at 237 Pemberwick Road in Greenwich to make way for “Pemberwick Hills, a 10-unit development.

Street view looking south from 237 Pemberwick Road.

They propose to demolish a 1,368 square feet single family house built in 1879 and build three 2-1/2 story buildings with a total of 8,600 sq ft:

Building 1 – 4 one-bedroom/1BA units

Building 2 – 4 one-bedroom/1BA units

Building 3- two 1-bedroom units

Parking: 15 spaces including one handicapped space

Mr. Pecora said the concept for the development was to be flat in order to place all 3 buildings at the same elevation. That way the first floors will be ADA compliant.

He said ledge to be removed was substantial, but worked in his favor as it related to the east and south properties.

“We’ll be lower than both of those properties. We’re going to line drill the south side and east side and create our own wall, so that we are lower than they are,” Pecora said.

“The amount of ledge would appear to be a problem as it relates to drainage. But actually, everywhere else outside that ledge is great material, according to Tony D’Andrea and Bryan Smith, his drainage engineer. We’re going to comply with the drainage manual, no problem.”

Pecora said blasting and hole ramming would be required, but all work would comply with building and fire codes

Commissioner Peter Levy said, “It would be nicer for the community if the parking lot didn’t go all the way out to the road.”

Mr. Pecora said since proposed buildings are identical to those he previously developed at both at 180 an 303 Hamilton Avenue in Chickahominy and building 1 and 3 at Orchard Street in Cos Cob, he would like to be exempt from review by the Architectural Review Committee.

The commission agreed.

“No big deal. We’ve seen it before. The results have been successful on the others,” Mr. Macri said.

Pecora said the property was larger than his development at 180 Hamilton which meant he could add more landscaping between the parking lot and the buildings.

P&Z commission chair Margarita Alban said that Glenville had been developed with condos for a time.

West and East Lyon Farm date back to the mid-1970s. River Run dates back to 1981. Hawthorne Condominiums were built in 1991.)

Then, she said, “Development just stopped. Then the Mill converted officers to apartments.

“Then nothing happened for a while. Now, all of a sudden. Glenville is surprised with that, and is trying to get their around around it,” Alban said.

She said her concerns included removal of ledge rock removal, the steep drop off from the neighbors, drainage and sewer capacity.

Public Comment: Traffic, Loss of Trees

During public comment, Patricia Adams noted that since the property is at the top of a hill and she was concerned about sight lines for traffic.

“From 2017 to 2023 there have been numerous motor vehicle accidents on Pemberwick Road – four of which involved injuries in the Comly Ave and Pemberwick Road area,” Adams said.

Further she noted that while there was an overall lack of trees in the neighborhood, creating a heat sink. She said 237 Pemberwick had has 15 mature trees and Oaks that absorb water and keep the neighborhood cool.

She said there had been major flooding in the area on Sept 29.

“Doing anything to absorb the water – any stormwater runoff – so it doesn’t add excessive pressure on the neighbors downstream is really key,” she said.

She also noted the proposed parking was “very close to the road.”

Mr. Pecora said the entire parking lot would be pervious.

“We’ll have an enormous pool ability to hold water,” he said. “And we recognize there is no parking on Pemberwick Road at all. We have 15 parking spaces, which is a lot compared to what we normally need at any of our other projects.”

He said they would do whatever it took to meet or exceed requirements for water retention.

Ms Alban noted that Mr. Pecora had been focusing more in landscaping, providing green and amenities like bicycle racks.

“I know that in particular, for Glenville, they have been very active on the idea of increasing bicycles and alternative transportation. I believe they will be pleased with that.”

With just one comment from the public, the commission moved on to the next application.

See also:

P&Z WATCH: Mason St Apartment Building Could Be “A Pretty Good Fit”

Nov 3, 2023