Hearing on apartment complex at Trumbull mall next week
TRUMBULL — Now that people can visit Westfield Trumbull mall’s acreage again, officials are moving forward with plans to allow them to live there.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing July 15 at 7 p.m. to consider an application for a 260-unit multi-family residential complex at 5085 Main Street, which is roughly defined as the land between Westfield and the Merritt Parkway. The meeting will be videocast on Zoom.
The proposal, called the Residences on Main, consists of five 4-story buildings with market rate apartments ranging from 830-square foot one-bedroom units to two-bedroom units with just over 1,100 square-feet. Plans call for a communal clubhouse and pool, and 494 parking spaces dispersed throughout the seven-acre property and in-garage spots underneath the buildings.
The plan is consistent with the zone change to mixed use design district approved by P&Z in 2018, according to the applicants, K&K Developers, Trumbull Shopping Center #2 LLC and WEA CT Houses.
“We had a lot of discussions with the developer at the time, because there were a lot of concerns,” said First Selectman Vicki Tesoro. “We negotiated for months.”
The original concept called for 580 one- and two-bedroom apartments with dens, offices, and other space that could be converted into bedrooms. The current plan calls for 260 apartments, no dens or offices, and no amenities like playgrounds or swingsets that would make the units attractive to families with children.
The 629-page application posted on the July 15 agenda includes site plans, traffic studies, school enrollment projections, financial impact estimates and more. Commission Chairman Fred Garrity said the application’s complexity merited a special meeting.
“It’s one of the biggest things going on in town,” he said. “It needs to be on its own for people to concentrate on, rather than being stuck on an agenda with a bunch of other things.”
For the same reason, Garrity said, the commission will meet in person for the first time in months.
“Even though the public will have to participate via Zoom, we’re working on a location for the commissioners and the applicant to be able to be together, socially distanced, in the same room so we can refer to specific pages and drawings,” he said.
Garrity cautioned residents who may be opposed to the project that the regulation allowing this type of development had already been approved in 2018.
“The current role of the commission is to review the site plan application to ensure that it meets the town’s regulations,” he said.
From the application, the residences will have multiple access points, including a designated turnoff from Main Street, and via the mall’s ring road. Pedestrian walkways will link the western end of the residence sites to the mall.
The application projects the residences will have a net $910,000 positive annual financial impact on Trumbull. Property taxes on the complex are projected to be $1.2 million, with the town collecting another $178,000 in personal property taxes, mostly on cars belonging to the residents.
“As contained in the Fiscal Impact Study prepared by Realty Concepts, The Residences will generate a combined $1.4 million in annual property and motor vehicle tax revenue,” the developers wrote. “Adjusted for the projected demand on town services, the net fiscal impact to Trumbull will be approximately $910,000.”
The impact on schools should be minimal, they wrote.
“Given the community design and expected rental rates, the development's residents are expected to be young professionals and seniors downsizing from single family homes in Trumbull and the surrounding towns. As a result, the projected school-aged population in The Residences is 27 students, some of whom are expected to be existing students in the Trumbull school system.”
The developers also state the traffic impact on Main Street and the surrounding areas should be minimal.
“The Residences will create only a minimal traffic impact to the area road network, one likely to be imperceptible given the history volumes generated by the mall property. Peak hour trips are expected to occur in the weekday evenings and Saturday midday, with 110 trips and 100 trips, respectively during those peak hours; these trips include both entrances and exits to the residential development. In light of a daily volume on Main Street exceeding 20,000 trips, The Residences will not adversely affect surrounding roadways.”
Tesoro said the development was a sign of changing times. Young professionals and older empty nesters are losing interest in owning a single-family home on an acre of property. But, she said, the development could allow Millennials to get their foot in the door of Trumbull.
“They move into town, and in a few years when they start thinking about having a family, that’s when they’ll start looking to buy a home in Trumbull,” she said.