Some in Hartford oppose housing development

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

April 15, 2015

HARTFORD - Despite opposition, Hartford’s Plan Commission cleared the way for an 84-unit residential development.

Four people spoke against the change for lots at 820 and 860 E. Loos St. from business to multi-family at a meeting Monday. They said too many residential units will be built on the two adjoining properties.

“This won’t be a good fit for the neighborhood,” resident Tom Lisko said. “This is too dense a development for such a small space. It will just add to the problem we have already of speeders going through the neighborhood.”

A second neighbor had another reason.

“I’m concerned about property values,” Michelle Barlow said. “It’s a small piece of land and it will bring many more people into the area.”

City Planner Justin Drew said the developer, Nagel Investments LLC, wants to build seven 12-family residential buildings instead of the 64 units in an earlier plan.

The Plan Commission approved a site plan for these properties in 1997, Drew said. It called for construction of a three-story 40-unit building at 820 Loos St. and three eight-family structures at 860 Loos St.

Drew said neither project was built, but a developer could turn in plans to the Building Inspection Department consistent with the plans approved 18 years ago without having to appear at a Plan Commission or Common Council meeting.

“But because the new plan includes more units than planned in 1997, the properties need to be rezoned and a conditional use permit along with a site plan would need approval,” Drew said.

Others who opposed the zoning change were concerned about low-income housing in the area, but Alderman Wayne Rusniak said that wouldn’t be the case with this project.

“There are not going to be rent subsidies at this complex. It won’t be for low-income housing,” Rusniak said.

Commissioner Dennis Regan said the developer has shown drawings to the commission and the units “will be built with quality materials.”

Drew said it will be just a matter of time before development in that area.

“The land will be developed for multi-family uses,” Drew said. “It’s simply a matter of layout, building size and number of units. The proposed seven 12-family structures would better mesh with the existing pattern of surrounding development, meets the requirement of the Smart Growth Plan and meets the requirements of the Rm-2 Multi-Family Residential District.”

Drew said the development would generate about 557 vehicle trips per day on East Loos Street and South Wilson Avenue.

“Staff doesn’t expect the small increase in vehicle trips (9.5 percent) to create traffic issues,” he said.