Grove Street Study unveiled
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, June 30, 2016
NEW CANAAN — A speculative plan of redevelopment of the area directly west of Grove Street was presented Tuesday at a special meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission could see the expansion and enhancement of New Canaan’s downtown.
Peter Linker, principal at Dodson and Flinker - a landscape architectural firm that worked with Planimetrics and Brovitz Community Planning and Design to complete the Grove Street Study, a sequel to the Cross and Vitti Street study of Fall 2015 - outlined to the commission and Town Planner Steve Kleppin the potential for growth in the area
According to Linker, in multiple phases of development the town could conceivably tear down Acme and rebuild the grocery store nearer to Elm Street, making room for a tiered parking structure that, by consolidating parking and adding spaces, would help circumvent what Linker said are relatively strict parking restrictions and allow for larger buildings of various uses to be built.
“When you factor in required parking, you’re really restricted to a very small amount of development that’s likely to happen… This is depressing any economic incentive or possibility for redeveloping that site,” Linker said.
The study also suggests that in a second phase of the project, three- to four-story buildings, styled not unlike those on Elm or Main streets, could be built along Grove, starting on the corner of grove and Elm, creating apartment-style living near to the train station for commuters.
Planning and Zoning Chair John Goodwin asked Linker, in response to the mention of tiered parking, how high the structure could be built before negatively impacting the views of neighbors.
Linker responded that regardless of height, any number of treatments to the facade could help to avoid an unsightly concrete structure.
“I think it’s going to be a very big deal for those neighbors, so I think we need to come up with some ideas,” Linker said of the potential garage. He suggested a green facade, or one designed to blend in with other downtown buildings.
Also emphasized in the plan is the enhancement of crosswalks, pedestrian friendliness and the streetscape, the last of which, Linker said, might be done simply by planting trees along the road.
The next step of the plan, according to Linker, is to put together a document consistent with the study that details necessary zoning variances and other changes to the master plan before presenting a draft to Planning and Zoning.
“There are real benefits to establishing a master plan that has real teeth. In practice, the only way that’s going to happen is if you get those landowners together and get them to agree with it,” Linker told the commission.