On October 27th, the Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission will have a public hearing on a proposed redevelopment of the property at 155 Greenwood Avenue in downtown Bethel that spans from Greenwood Avenue to School Street.
The proposal calls for significant expansion of the existing building, addition of a restaurant with outdoor dining patio, 18 additional residential units in a multistory structure with 8,600 square feet of mixed use retail shops at street level. The application also requests a special permit to have fewer parking spaces than would normally be required.
The developer, Stephen DeMarco is represented by Peter Olsen in the application process. Mr. DeMarco’s firm, DeMarco Holdings LLC, recently developed the now sold out 11 unit complex Chestnut Corners. That development on less than 2 acres includes 10 detached buildings, including 1 duplex. The dense development was permitted under the recently adopted Transit Oriented Development Overlay that overrides a number of normal zoning requirements.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has come under increasing scrutiny as a number of projects have been approved that did not confirm to existing zoning when requested.
Current lot usage at left and proposed at right
Significant zoning changes to allow development upon request by a developer are generally not allowed in Connecticut. Such “spot zoning” would violate state regulations that mandate zoning changes only be made to accommodate overall community benefit and must be in conformity with the Plan of Conservation and Development. The most recent approval, at 80 South Street, involved moving the property from one zone to another to allow for the removal of a 19th century farm house and construction of a 10 unit complex in a mostly single and two family home neighborhood.
A virtual public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27th at 7 p.m.