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Thursday, September 24 News

Fairfield: Planning and Zoning Commission hears part of metro presentation

FAIRFIELD — The town Plan and Zoning Commission heard a three hour presentation on Black Rock Realty Group’s plan for the Fairfield Metro Center development, but were not able to finish due to time constraints.

The developer needs the commission's approval of plans for five apartment buildings and a hotel, complete with amenities and some office space.

More than a decade after the company started discussions with the town to build an office building on the site where a foundry once stood, this new plan seems more in line with the trend of transit oriented development that has become a focus for the state and many municipalities.

The Feb. 11 presentation was supposed to be paired with a public hearing but, due to the meeting needing to be closed by 11, will need to be continued at a later meeting. Some officials said that, due to a full docket on the next meetings agenda, it is unlikely the presentation will pick up in two weeks.

According to William Fitzpatrick, the attorney representing Black Rock, the company wants to build 357 units of studio and one and two bedroom apartments on the property in addition to the 518 room hotel. He said the company needs a permit allowing residential building on the property that was originally allotted as commercial space.

He said there would be mixed income and affordable housing options for the development.

Regarding the hotel, he said there are several companies in negotiations with the developers to occupy the space once it is constructed.

The commission asked many questions of the architects and engineer brought in to present about their respective contributions to the development. The topics included available parking, impact on traffic in the area and the possibility of retail space being added to the project.

They took particular interest in the method the developers would use for containing the contaminated soil left behind by the factory that used to occupy the land.

George Andrews, and engineer and licensed environmental professional from Loureiro Engineering out of Plainville, said some of the land has been cleaned completed while others have been capped with a durable membrane used to prevent any contamination from coming into contact with residents.

Asked about the timeline for breaking ground after the meeting, Fitzpatrick said that his client would move quickly as soon as they received municipal approval.