Torrington: 62-unit apartment building approved on Torringford West Street

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[image: Ben Lambert – The Register Citizen Conceptual drawings for a 62-unit apartment building planned for 380 Torringford West Street.] Ben Lambert – The Register Citizen Conceptual drawings for a 62-unit apartment building planned for 380 Torringford West Street.
By Ben Lambert , The Register Citizen
Posted: 02/09/17, 5:26 PM EST | Updated: 10 hrs ago 0 Comments
TORRINGTON >> The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve a 62-unit apartment complex at 380 Torringford West Street Wednesday evening.
The four-story apartment building will feature 50 affordable units and 12 market-rate units, according to City Planner Martin Connor.
The building was proposed by the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that also owns the neighboring Torringford West Apartments senior living complex at 356 Torringford West Street.
POAH originally proposed a second senior-living complex be constructed on the property at 380 Torringford West Street, which was approved by the commission in 2014.
State priorities changed in the interim, according to previous statements by Cory Fellows, vice president of real estate development with POAH, making it effectively impossible to secure funding for senior-only housing. This prompted the group to change its plans regarding the development of the property.
Commission member Greg Perosino objected to the altered project Wednesday, suggesting that creating further affordable housing in Torrington would inappropriately concentrate such housing in the city, as opposed to the rest of Litchfield County, and that housing for seniors was of greater need for the community given its demographics.
Perosino referenced a 10 percent state threshold for affordable housing , which allows developers to appeal decisions in communities with a lower amount of such housing to state Superior Court.
“I see it this way — we’ve met the threshold of what we were asked to do at the state level. Going beyond that is a burden we’re taking on — and it’s an unnecessary burden,” said Perosino.
Rejecting the project because of the shift from senior-only to all ages would likely be considered discriminatory, Connor said, and open the city up to a lawsuit.
“I think that there is a need for affordable housing, there’s a need for market-rate housing,” said Connor. “And I think that you could be in federal court so quick if you were to say that this property was appropriate for a housing development for affordable seniors… but it’s not for people of other ages.”
The apartments will still be available to seniors who fall within the income requirements, Connor said.
“If there is a need for seniors in affordable housing, then they can fill that building with seniors,” said Connor.
There is a two-year waiting list for vacancies at the neighboring senior living complex, according to Connor.
Connor also said that new apartments had not been built in Torrington during his 18-year tenure with the city, and noted that local residents had come forward to describe a need for further affordable housing in the community during a public hearing in December .
Multi-family housing is concentrated in Torrington, Connor said, as the city has a municipal sewer and water system — septic systems cannot support such housing.
The commission considered asking city corporation counsel Jamie LaMere come to a future special meeting to discuss the matter, but ultimately voted to approve the project.
Features planned for the four-story facility, which has been christened as “Torringford Terrace,” include community space on all three floors, 112 parking spaces, and trees and shrubbery.
Fellows said in November that construction on the project was expected to begin, if further state funding can be obtained, in late 2018, with a potential opening in late 2019.
Preservation of Affordable Housing purchased the property at 380 Torringford West Street in 2006 , according to city property records, for $4,168,339.

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