Town officials give status of projects, road construction
The status of project developments, the state of the roadways, and a new Weed Beach walking trail were among the topics discussed at the recent Operations Planning Committee meeting in town.
Baywater Corbin Project
Developer David Genovese is getting state approvals since the development is on a state road, according to Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Sini.
The Corbin Project is a mixed-use redevelopment of downtown Darien. It has a 7.17-acre site area spanning from Corbin Drive to the Bank of America building on Post Road.
The Commons at Noroton Heights redevelopment project
Groundbreaking on this project should occur by the end of the year.
Jeremy Ginsberg, director of Darien’s Planning & Zoning Department, is working with the architectural review board in getting assigned regulations in place.
This is a mixed-use development that will bring 122 new apartments and a retail makeover to Noroton Heights.
This project is on the property that is now where Stop & Shop and Walgreens in Noroton Heights is located.
Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club
The Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club came back to the Planning & Zoning Commission for an amendment to the club’sspecial permit, which would allow a different class of members for paddle sports. The Planning & Zoning Commission approved this.
Sini further said to The Darien Times that a paddle member will now be considered one-tenth a regular squash or riding member due to its limited season (late fall to early spring) and typical playing times (nights, weekends).
“This will be an enhancement to what exists now in terms of impact on the neighbors with no more intense use,” Sini said at the meeting.
The town really needs to look at 55-and-older housing, Sini said. “It’s that next step from non-restricted housing to empty-nester housing, and then the next level, 62 and over,” he said.
There only needs to be one individual to be 55 and older in the household, “so you will find younger families and some with younger children, which is a more diverse community,” he added.
There are certain federal standards needed to be met to restrict the age to 55 and older.
State of the roadways
The main part of the town’s natural gas expansion project is complete, according to Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
“Now is the time when folks who live along those routes can connect to the gas system. The roads will remained patched for between a year and 18 months, so that you don’t have to continually cut into new asphalt,” said Stevenson, adding that the town will come back and repave all the roadways that have been dug up.
The gas main is on West Avenue from Stamford to the Post Road. It’s up Leroy Avenue all the way to Darien High School. It’s now up McLaren Road, poised to connect to Royle School when Royle School is ready. It came up Hilton to connect to Middlesex Middle School. and up Noroton Avenue to connect the Noroton Fire Department.
There’s also been Aquarion water main work that’s gone on throughout town. “We let it settle for a while and then we come back and repave,” Stevenson said.
The town will be doing its normal repaving program this summer — just under four miles, and then next year, about five and a half miles.
The sedimentation basin dredging project in front of Town Hall is underway. That is expected to be finished in September.
The town will be talking with the Ox Ridge Hunt Club about “what we perceive as challenges for next year when we have the parking lots and the walking trail,” Stevenson said.
“We’re in the process of developing a bid package for all of that work that will happen at Highland Farms and we hope that that will hopefully take place before the end of the year,” she added.
Joanne Hennessy, chairman of the RTM Planning, Zoning, and Housing Committee, said the town needs to do more market rate rental if it’s going to rent the property.
If the town rents Highland Farm, it also needs to look at how long Highland Farm will be out of service for the town. “We have to see what is the best use of that field from the taxpayer perspective,” Hennessy said.
Community value statement
The Board of Selectmen is going to undertake a project to develop a community value statement.
“From that will flow our updated goals and objectives,” Stevenson said.
The statement will address what Darien’s core values are “to give people a sense for who we are or who we want to be,” she said. “We want to market ourselves so people will come here with (their) business or bring (their) family here.”
The Darien Athletic Foundation, the Darien Foundation, and Parks and Recreation are going to partner to complete a walking trail around Weed Beach, which includes a boardwalk.
“It’s a very unique partnership. Each party, including the town, will take a third of the cost of that project,” Stevenson said. “This will allow us to activate the Short Lane property and to use part of Weed Beach that hasn’t otherwise been used.”
With Highland Farm, the Diller gift, and the gift at Weed Beach, there will be three walking trails in town.