The contractors working on the Allen-O’Neill redevelopment project in Noroton Heights, to be renamed “The Heights at Darien,” reached a compromise with Darien Police on construction and noise start times last Friday morning, according to Sgt. Jeremiah Marron, public information officer for the department.
Marron said Viking Construction, which previously was beginning construction at 6 a.m. on the Noroton Heights project, as was reported in last week’s Darien Times, told the police Friday morning it is “sympathetic to the concerns of the community.”
Going forward, Monday through Friday, no machinery will be turned on before 7 a.m. On Saturdays, only non-machinery work will begin at 7 a.m., with machinery not starting before 8 a.m.
Previously, neighbors of the project, which will double the currently 53 single-family homes to 106 units, complained of loud construction noise beginning too early and waking up their children.
The project, which received approval for the $2.47 million of 9% low income tax credits from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority last year, kicked off in March. On Monday, state and local officials, including Gov. Dan Malloy, spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony on the site.
The developers recently presented the project’s progress to the Planning & Zoning Commission. Developer John McClutchy talked about the name change and how the project’s heritage would be preserved.
McClutchy said the idea behind “The Heights at Darien” is that it looks like any other town residence.
He said when real estate agents pick up buyers at the train station, and they drive through Noroton Heights, he wants the end result to be that those buyers ask to see units in the new development.
The name “The Heights at Darien” came up to give the project some sense of place and make it a part of a community, in that it is located in Noroton Heights.
McClutchy also said that in his experience, the only complexes that are named after a person, or people, such as the current name, the Allen-O’Neill homes, named for two Darien soldiers killed in Pearl Harbor, are housing authority projects.
“We want the only thing that makes this project different from others in town to be on the applications the residents fill out,” he said.
In terms of preserving the history, McClutchy said local and state historians have determined that none of the current buildings hold any historical significance. The brick apartment building, the only building with any part of the former veterans’ home remaining, has been renovated to eliminate any remaining historical value.
McClutchy said the current monuments on the property where the Fitch Home for Soldiers once stood will be relocated on the project, and a path will be designed near them using the bricks from that building.
The project, recently praised by state and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony, has also drawn some criticism from residents and neighbors who cite concerns about the intensification of the site, increased traffic, and lack of privacy due to third floor balconies, as well as the construction noise.
Previously, Marron told The Darien Times while the town has a noise ordinance, construction is not included in it, likely because the definition is too broad and would be hard to regulate.
Marron told The Darien Times Friday morning that the shift commander for the department’s overnight shift ending at 7 a.m. spoke with the two senior project superintendents about the change last Friday morning.
“They explained the reason they had started work earlier was due to heat,” he said.