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Could more affordable housing be coming?

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KENT—Affordable housing is the hot topic in Northwest Connecticut and now Kent is about to get some more. Two weeks ago, townspeople approved a conditional agreement to transfer 1.16 acres of town land to Kent Affordable Housing for development of 10 more dwelling units and now John Casey has revealed more housing may be on the way on land he currently owns adjacent to Kent Green.

The Planning and Zoning Commission agreed April 11 with the request from John Casey to merge the lot lines for three parcels of land (labled B, C and D on this map) to create a larger parcel that measures 19 acres of land on Kent Green with the intent of creating some affordable housing on the property. Contributed photo

“I have about 12 acres of land under contract to sell to a local person,” he said. “He’s planning to do a larger-scale development, all of which is residential and a component of which will be affordable.”

He said he is not privy to the plan and has no idea how many units might be developed, but that the prospective buyer is doing due diligence. “We have a way to go on how best to develop the land,” Casey said.

The land lies between Kent Green and Maple Street Extension. “That is where we need housing,” Casey said.

Casey appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission in April to feel out that board’s reaction to combining three lots into one creating a parcel of about 20 acres. He detailed that one lot was 8.6 acres and an adjacent lot just over three acres and a component of the south part of Kent Green. “But since it is contiguous to the other lot, I think the easiest way is to incorporate it with the larger lot by changing the lot line,” he told the PZC.

The third lot was a large, steep section of land behind the Town Hall and IGA.

A final, separate, lot is located in Kent Green with an unrented building on it. “It is optioned to the prospective purchaser who has been given a period of time to do due diligence to see if he would like to include it in his development,” Casey told the PZC.

Casey said the property has been on the market for a long time. “This is the first person who wants to build affordable housing,” he said. “That piqued our interest more than anyone else because housing is one of the larger problems we have. If he can make it come together, it is a winning project for entire town.”

Casey’s only involvement in the plan would be putting the 10 acres of land in conservation. “The 10 acres of land behind the Town Hall and the IGA is pretty steep, and most is undevelopable,” he told the PZC. “I would designate it as preserved land either as direct donation or through an easement.”

The PZC approved the lot mergers, which will not become official until Casey decides to go ahead and file a new mylar map and change his deeds.. Land Use Officer Tai Kern said that the town had approved Incentive Housing and Mixed-use Overlay zones for the area years ago.

The incentive housing overlay zone would allow the developer to have a greater density of occupation than that of the underlying commercial zone as long as 20 percent of the dwelling units are held as affordable for 30 years.

Kathryn Boughton
Written By

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Stuart Wurtzel

    May 16, 2024 at 6:10 pm

    I think we have to look hard and fast at combining all three properties into one huge land development plan. Yes, because they are contiguous it seems to make sense to combine them but then the developer has free rein to create a complex that completely changes the character of our town. Whether it be rows of cookie cutter houses to make them affordable or blocks of combined townhouses neither reflects the patchwork charm of our Early New England look. And is the reason we have so many visitors throughout the year who help support the economy of the town. Please do not be so quick to change zoning for development. I know we may need more affordable housing but do it with sensitivity and not the bottom line dollar.

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