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Two apartment buildings proposed at Route 44 parcel along Lawton Road in Canton

Published April 17, 2024


May 15: Update: The public hearing on this proposal has been postponed to 7 p.m. on June 5, 2024 in Room F of the Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave., Canton.


Editor's Note on May 10: We have learned the public hearing for this project will be postponed at next week's Planning and Zoning Meeting. We will note the new date as soon as it is scheduled.


By John Fitts

Staff Writer


CANTON – As expected, a Pennsylvania company has filed an application to develop 100 apartments at 115 Albany Turnpike. Site plan and special permit applications have been filed at town hall.


A.R. Building of Seven Fields, Pennsylvania is proposing two, four-story market-rate apartment buildings on the 4.35 acre parcel, which is behind the CVS and UConn medical building along Route 44 on the corner of Lawton Road.


Proposed are 57 units in one building and 43 in the other. The application states that

common amenities, such as a fitness center, would be located within each building and the plans include an in-ground pool adjacent to the larger building. A total of 144 parking spaces are proposed as are sidewalks through the development and tied in to provide pedestrian access to adjacent The Farmington River Trail and area shops.


The larger building is proposed at 13,389 square feet per floor for a total of 53,556 square feet. The other at 10,774 square feet per floor for a total of 43,096 square feet.


Pittsburgh Architecture firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative said the building standards in the application follow the Main Frontage Standard allowed in the East Gateway Design Village District – one area in the town’s form based code- a type of zoning that emphasize design standards over a traditional separation of uses.


As part of the application narrative Geoff Campbell, Principal at Rothschild Doyno Collaborative notes the study of architecture character at nearby UConn Health and CVS, as well as Canton Gateway Office Park at 50 Albany Turnpike in Canton.  For Four-story character, the firm looked at The Valley House at 130 Main St. in Collinsville as well as buildings at 68 and 72 Main St. in Winsted, according to the application.


“These six precedent building present a varied range in design guidance for the project. The most immediate buildings, which are directed noted in the design standards are of a significantly different scale from the proposed project. The four-story precedent are remote from the site, and created at a time where detailing and construction methods very different from now.

That stated there are some clear features that begin to imply some clear direction for the apartment design. They are primarily tied together through simple roof forms, with a few cross-gable accents. Building facades are simple, rectilinear, and characterized by brick or horizontal siding, usually carrying to the upper stories, windows are typically double-hung and repetitive throughout the façade."


The letter also states that several techniques are used to reduce the size of the façade.

Red Brick would be used extensively on the first three stories and brought down of the side elevations – which will further “reduce the scale of the building," according to the application.


Remaining façade of white horizontal fiber-cement siding ties into nearby building, the application also asserts.


The architectural letter also addresses several other points, including outdoor spaces.


“One of the notable features of A.R. Development buildings is the commitment to outdoor living space for every unit wherever possible,” it states. “These porches are typically six feet deep to make them more functional for tenants. In keeping with the characteristics of the precedent buildings, which do not have any outdoor space, these porches are most recessed into the façade. This lets the full façade read more planar, and simpler."


An existing stormwater system was designed for 2.35 acres of impervious surface, while the proposal proposed 2.33 acres, the application states.


A Traffic study was done by Meriden-based BL Companies and asserts that there would be estimated 37 trips in the morning peak hour and 39 in the evening and 39 in weekend peak hour.


A previously planned use of the site with 15,750 square feet of retail would have generated much higher amounts in the evening and weekend peak hours, according to the study.

The application does not come as a surprise as A.R. Building came before the Planning and Zoning Commission with an informal presentation about the apartment concept in the first half of 2023.

At that meeting Jason Kambitsis, President of A.R. Development Co., touted the upscale nature of the company’s work and said the Canton property is in the proximity of shopping and amenities such as the Farmington River trail, and benefits from infrastructure such as existing traffic signals and easy access to Route 44.

“As far as having access to everything, as far as being able to live in Canton and be able to kind of get everything you need – we feel this is the most perfect place to do that,” he said at that meeting. “It’s in a commercial district already. It has everything you would want.”

Last November, the company was back before the commission with some requested modifications in the East Gateway Design Village District. One was to formally allow multi-family uses on the parcel and the other modified the affordability requirements.


At that time, Canton had recently passed a requirement that 15 percent of the units in multi-family developments must be set aside as affordable under state statute 8-30g. The rule specified that half of those units would be for those making 80 % of the Area Median Income and half for those at 60 % AMI. With the change requested by A.R., the company must still set aside 15 units as affordable, but 85 percent of those can be at 80 % AMI and the balance at 60% AMI. The latter numbers only apply to the East Gateway District.


The public hearing is now set for 7 p.m. on June 5, 2024 in Room F of the Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave., Canton.

Such projects are approved or denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission based on their conformity to the town's regulations. Town staff does not vote and there is no direct public vote on such land use applications.



This photo of the site was included in the traffic study for 115 Albany Turnpike.

The proposed site layout as included in the application.

  


Above and below are architectural renderings for the proposed apartment buildings.


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