Thursday, January 23, 2014
By James Lomuscio
In what was called a seamless transition from one administration to the other, the Baron’s South Committee met today with Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and Second Selectman Avi Kaner, who both pledged their support to move the planned senior housing project forward.
Marpe and Kaner are currently negotiating a “memorandum of understanding” with the developer Johnathan Rose Companies for the construction of a 130-unit facility, plus 32 memory care units, on several acres of the 22.7-acre town-owned property called Baron’s South.
Kaner said that the understanding agreement should be completed within a week, then go to the Baron’s South Committee and Town Attorney Iran Bloom for approvals before being presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission for required (P&Z) permits.
“The selectman’s office is very supportive, and we want to support that journey and move it forward,” said Marpe, adding that such a center, with 30 percent affordable units, would allow seniors to age in place.
Kaner, who ran the meeting, stressed “full 100 percent support” from the administration.
“It’s wonderful that this project is going seamlessly from one administration to the other,” said Martha Hauhuth, who co-chairs the committee with Steve Daniels.
The senior housing project was a key initiative of the previous administration of First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Second Selectwoman Shelly Kassen.
At the request of Marpe, local developer Robert Heroun said he has joined the committee “to impart developmental expertise.”
Also present were Caroline Vary, director of Connecticut operations for Johnathan Rose Companies, Jason Patch, the company’s project manager, and Rachel Rangelov of the Freshwater Group, a development company working with Jonathan Rose.
Rose representatives presented an artist’s rendering of the complex, noting that it would be accessible from Compo Road South and via the Center for Senior Activities on Imperial Avenue.
The illustration depicts the town property being divided into five adjacent parcels. According to Kaner, one of the blocks of land is being eyed to store the town’s school buses, so the school system can avoid $250,000 annual rental costs to park the buses on a nearby, private piece of land.
Kaner also pointed out that the Compo Road South section of land south of the proposed complex would remain open space, a buffer for homeowners. Hiking trails would also be part of the mix.
“Jim and I are in the middle of negotiating a memorandum of understanding for the project, and we expect it to be negotiated and completed over the next week,” Kaner said.
“The developer will be doing due diligence on the project,” he added.
Posted 01/23/14 at 06:21 PM