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Berkshire Plaza Gains P&Z Approval

Following a February 20 public hearing, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members unanimously endorsed revised plans for the construction of a commercial building that would hold retail businesses and medical offices at 146 South Main Street (Route 25).

P&Z members approved the application known as Berkshire Plaza submitted by Summit Properties Group, LLC, of Norwalk for construction of a two-story, 18,750-square-foot building on the sloped 2.35-acre site on the west side of South Main Street. The site is in a B-2 zone designated for general business use. The Berkshire Plaza property lies across South Main Street from Newtown Self Storage.

The 18,750-square-foot structure approved by the P&Z is almost 30 percent larger in floor area than a 14,580-square-foot building which the P&Z had approved for the site in 2006. While the building approved in 2006 had a partial second-story, the newly approved structure has a full second-story.

After Berkshire Plaza initially was proposed in March 2004 as a 20,400-square-foot complex, the project drew strong opposition from an adjacent commercial property owner who filed two court appeals against two versions of the project in seeking to prevent it from being constructed.

Under the revised plans approved by the P&Z on February 20, the topography of the sloped site would provide for walk-in access at both levels of the building from a driveway that would encircle the building. A site plan for the project shows approximately 75 parking spaces.

The driveway for the site would intersect with South Main Street at the southern end of the lot, near the property line that separates #146 from #150 South Main Street. The state Department of Transportation requires that the developer have a driveway permit for the project because South Main Street is a state road.

Claris Construction, Inc of 153 South Main Street is listed as the firm that would construct Berkshire Plaza. Construction is slated to start this summer.

In his review of the project, Rob Sibley, town deputy director of planning and land use, noted that the development site is not within the town’s Aquifer Protection District.

Also, the site’s erosion/sedimentation control plans and its stormwater control plans appear to meet applicable town/state regulations, he said.

The town Health Department found that the project meets applicable regulations for water supplies and septic waste disposal.

 

Concerns At Public Hearing

At the public hearing, resident Thomas Cassin of 9 Cedar Hill Road raised concerns about a tree buffer and also about fencing in the area between the planned commercial building and his property, according to P&Z records.

Also, Paul Fadus, who owns property at 136 South Main Street, said he favors the construction of Berkshire Plaza, according to P&Z records.

Following the public hearing, P&Z members placed several requirements on the construction approval, which takes effect on March 3.

The P&Z is requiring that the height of a fence to be installed on the western side of the site will be subject to the approval of Mr Cassin; existing mature trees on the site will be checked to learn whether some can be left standing to serve as visual buffering for the project; and new trees would be added to the site, provided that soil conditions are suitable.

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