By John Fitts
CANTON, CT — A New York developer, working with local partners, has formally proposed an integrated, 40-unit apartment complex on Commerce Drive.
Regan Development Corporation of Ardsley, NY is under contract to purchase the 6.95 acres at 300 and 350 Commerce Drive, with the idea of offer 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, 10 of which would be set aside for clients of Canton-based Favarh, an organization that supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.
The lots are near the Boulder Ridge Complex and the complex would be set back from the road and include a mix of 1- 2- and 3-bedroom units as well as amenities such large community room with kitchenette, other common areas, a mail center, laundry rooms and secure storage. The complex would be a tax-paying entity.
Stephen Morris, executive director at Favarh, or the ARC of the Farmington Valley, said the idea follows a trend of housing integration designed to give people a better sense of community and diversification. He is excited to partner on the project and said affordable units would help his clients as well as others in the community.
“It’s a great experience for young people to live in that environment,” Morris said. “There’s more value in having a truly integrated loving arrangement than just place to live.”
Ken Regan, vice president of Regan Development, said estimated rent prices aren’t quite ready to publicize but said they would be favorable to people out of college, young couples, single people or elderly folks looking to downsize later in life.
Exact rents numbers are a work in progress but the idea is to offer something more affordable than many local options.
“The rents are clearly designed to be affordable to local folks,” Regan said.
The Favarh clients in the building would have the advantage of the inclusive environment as well as apartments specifically designed for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Morris said.
The units would be designed with some general features, such as extra wide doorways and roll-in showers but also be built in such a way to allow customization for specific needs, Morris said.
The proposal also notes plans for several common areas such as a large community room with kitchenette, a mail center, laundry rooms, and secure storage.
In addition to everyday socialization, the community room will offer Favarh the chance to host such events cooking classes, or live music.
“We’ll be able to have some planned activities in there that anyone in the building can participate in,” Morris said.
Regan Development specializes in such projects and has projects that collectively include more than 200 “service enriched support apartments” for special needs.
Among their projects is Ojakian Commons, a 48-unit complex in Simsbury. Designed for MS patients, at the request of officials in that town, the developers set aside a few apartments for people of other disabilities, which led to a relationship with Favarh.
Members of Canton’s Planning and Zoning Commission have toured that facility and have conducted an informal review of the housing concept.
Regan said he is excited to have the chance to put the project before the commission for its consideration.
“We’re excited to put everything out in front of the town for their review,” he said. We think we’re providing something that’s good for the community.”
Regan Development has worked with on “enriched supportive housing” projects since early 2000s and has projects in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut
The Canton building would be set back from the road and to take advantage of topography include two stories at the main entrance and three on the rear face. Plans call for a stone veneer base and extending to various heights, premium “traditional” and cedar shake horizontal siding and an asphalt shingle roof with metal stand seam accents.
The application was submitted by Simsbury based Landscape Architectural Design Associates on behalf of the developer. The developer is seeking a design district, zone change and site plan approval.
In a separate project, FAVARH is finalizing plans for a Life Education Center, which now includes the idea to renovate and existing building at 150 Commerce Drive and build a new one at 100 Commerce Drive. Its offices are located at 225 Commerce.
But the proposed apartment building would be owned by the developer and be a tax paying entity and the applicant estimates it would generate an additional $58,000 in annual tax revenue for the town.
Regan said that number is also preliminary but based on the fact that the company would seek to be taxed at a level that reflects the affordability of its project.
The applicant is proposing 70 parking spaces.
The proposal will be the subject of a Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing on Dec. 21. The 7:30 p.m. meeting is slated for Room B of the Canton Community Center, 76 Simonds Ave.