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August 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Developer taking Westport to court – again – over proposed housing complex

Stamford developer Garden Homes Management Corp. has sued the town of Westport over a proposed housing complex at 122 Wilton Road – the second time it has taken the town to court by invoking the state’s controversial 8-30g affordable housing statute.

At issue is Garden Homes owner Richard Freedman’s revised plan to build a complex on the 1.16-acre site. In 2016, he had proposed a 48-unit complex, 30 percent of which would have been affordable housing. When the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission rejected that proposal, citing various safety-related and environmental concerns, Freedman took the town to Hartford Superior Court with the argument that Westport was being unfairly biased against 8-30g.

That statute allows developers to disregard existing zoning regulations if a municipality has not deemed 10 percent of its housing stock as affordable, which Westport has not. That suit was dismissed in 2017 when the court ruled that Westport had acted properly.

Garden Homes’ revised proposal calls for: a 19-unit complex, 12 of which would be affordable; reduced its total square footage from 42,532 to 20,078; reduces its height from seven to four stories; and includes additional space for fire access. P&Z has rejected that proposal as well, with objections including what it maintains is still insufficient fire access.

The latest legal action requires that the P&Z appear in Superior Court on Feb. 19.