Large apartment building proposed for site near Greenwich High attracts complaints from neighbors

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GREENWICH – Plans to build an 86-unit apartment building near Greenwich High School are facing opposition from neighbors who have raised concerns about traffic, flooding and what they say is the excessive size of the project.

Neighbors also lamented that a number of trees were cut down at the 5 Brookridge Drive site on East Putnam Avenue earlier this winter.

The proposal by development firm Pecora Brothers would designate 26 of the 86 units as “affordable”. Under state law, affordable housing initiatives are granted wide latitude over local zoning restrictions to promote the growth of residential opportunities for middle incomes.

The building plan includes 183 parking spaces.

A dozen neighbors participating in a preliminary discussion on the housing proposal at a meeting last Tuesday at the Planning and Zoning Commission drew attention to flooding in the area and frequent traffic jams on Post Road in the area around Greenwich High.

Tara Restieri, a local resident, said the proposal carries “a high risk of further accidents” in the area, and she pointed to flooding which is already a frequent problem in the neighborhood.

Susan Meyers, another resident, said the proposed building, which would be around 55 feet tall, would cast her property into shadows. At night, she feared, the building would create the effect of “Times Square” from her residence.

“This project will create an impossible entry and exit situation,” said Donald Hamilton, another resident.

Other neighbors spoke of flooded basements during heavy rains and noted that Brookridge Drive had been closed for some time due to flooding earlier this year. Greenwich Creek and several other smaller streams flow through the neighborhood, the commission noted.

Planning commissioners have said they will pay close attention to traffic, flooding and sewage issues when the formal bid is presented.

A lawyer, Mario Coppola, told the commission he had been retained by a group of neighbors to ensure their concerns were taken into account.

Commission Chairperson Margarita Alban raised many concerns over ‘rush hour accidents’ on Post Road, and said traffic flow from the property would be closely scrutinized, particularly on how motorists would exit the roadway to the Brookridge Drive site.

“It could mean the cars are returning to Post Road, and it means you are in danger,” she said. “It has the potential for accidents. “

Commissioner Nick Macri said: “One thing that concerns me, we will be looking at the traffic and the turn patterns. … That seems to me to be a real security problem.

A number of speakers also criticized the development team for cutting down trees on the property, and Alban said she was “saddened” by the clearcut. The commission has traditionally made it a priority to preserve existing trees and plant new trees in building proposals it reviews.

Bruce Cohen, the lawyer representing the development team, said no state or local laws were violated by the tree removal.

“The applicant has chosen to start doing some of the work that will need to be done to develop this property,” he said.

Tuesday’s review was preliminary, and a formal submission will be considered by the commission when it is presented to City Hall.

The Brookridge Drive site is being sold. The land is owned by a company managed by Chris Franco, a local developer and builder. He said the sale has not yet been finalized, but is on hold.

“We have nothing to do with current demand – in fact, we only learned of their plans for the property a few weeks before they were filed with the city,” Franco said in an email at Greenwich Time.

“Also, we didn’t know the property was going to be clear cut. Under the purchase contract, after the emergency period expires and before the close, buyers have the right to cut trees, ”he said. “However, we had no idea the magnitude of what they had planned, and the job was done while we were out of town.”

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