Danbury commission backs plan to reduce accommodation space at summit to make room for career academy

DANBURY – The city’s Planning Commission has approved the latest revisions to plans for a 1.2 million square foot development which is expected to include the quarry academy.

The commission voted on Wednesday to give the proposal a positive referral to the Zoning Commission, which will hold a public hearing on the matter on January 11. The Zoning Commission will vote on the new master plan.

To make room for the $99 million career academy, Summit developers sought to build a minimum of 180 residential units, rather than the previously approved 404 apartments.

This reduction concerned Vice President Joel Urice, who said developers were “reducing residential again to increase commercial space”.

“There’s a lot of non-residential space that’s needed…that percentage, the career academy could be reduced by it,” said Urice, who ultimately voted in favor of the positive recommendation. “I don’t buy that he has to come out of residential.”

Commission President Arnold Finaldi had no problem with the plan.

“It has to be done to accommodate the school,” he said. “It’s going to be a school, a school controlled by the town of Danbury, and it’s to make room for him. They have to reduce the residential.

Commissioner Perry Salvagne IV agrees.

“I would also be concerned about the reduction in residential if it was just the addition of this school that helps the city,” he said.

This request is “in accordance” with the city’s zoning regulations, wrote Sharon Calitro, city planner. report at police stations. She said renovating part of the building for the public school would be “beneficial” to the city.

“Commissions should note that a revised site plan will need to be submitted and approved reflecting the decrease in the number of residential units in the building,” she wrote. “This sitemap may also include a request for school approval.”

Other proposed changes to the Summit’s master plan include increasing the number of square feet allowed for non-residential use – from approximately 950,000 square feet to nearly 1.04 million square feet.

The developers also requested additional flexibility in the number of square feet allowed for non-residential uses.

“This request does not seem unreasonable,” Calitro wrote.

In May, the Zoning Commission approved regulatory changes that paved the way for developers to request these changes to their master plan, which was originally approved in June 2020 and revised in May.

The former headquarters of Matrix Corporate Center and Union Carbide spans nearly 100 acres on the west side of town. The structure had been largely vacant for years, until Summit developers purchased the building and created plans for office and residential space, as well as various amenities.

Nuvance Health is expected to occupy approximately 300,000 square feet of office space, with a hair salon, yoga studio, nail salon and fitness center operating within the building. A restaurant plans to open. Most apartments have one bedroom.

Mike Basile, project manager, announced earlier this month that a few domestic companies could get into development.

Clancy Moving Systems also plans to build a 190,000 square foot warehouse and associated buildings next to the summit, a project the Environmental Impact Commission is considering.

The city, meanwhile, is negotiating with developers to buy three so-called “pods” for the careers academy, which would serve 1,400 middle and high school students. Basil said he hopes the deal will be done this month or next month.

Danbury’s schools do not have enough space to accommodate its growing number of pupils. The academy aims to alleviate this overcrowding, while offering students the opportunity to study various careers.

Aurora J. William