Charter HQ hearing delayed
STAMFORD — Charter Communications will have another week to hone its pitch for expanding the telecommunication giant’s South End headquarters.
The Zoning Board this week pushed pause on accelerated hearings after a tepid Planning Board recommendation and a letter from that board’s vice chair outlining the group’s misgivings about the project. The letter questioned the building’s design, called for less office parking and pointed out potential adverse affects on train commuters.
Charter and Building and Land Technology, the developer behind the large-scale, glass building now rising just south of Interstate 95, will present next Thursday a change to Zoning Regulations and earlier plans that pave the way for the expansion.
Charter wants a nine-story building in addition to the 15-story tower now being erected. The two would link via a three-story block.
The complex would be perched atop a voluminous garage — that too, Charter wants to expand by nearly 300 spaces. The company is also offering a combined $9.6 million buyout of two zoning mandates, including a previously promised 500 parking spaces for train commuters.
The Zoning Board was slated to hear and potentially decide upon Charter’s plan Monday so construction — with the additions —could be uninterrupted.
But the board pushed the meeting, only after reading the harsh Planing Board letter into the record.
“Given the importance of this site as the gateway to the city of Stamford, the board concurs that these buildings need to be of ‘superior design’ and as presented is not,” wrote Vice Chair Jay Tepper. “It is also important that the responsibility of finding solutions to the 500 dedicated commuter parking spaces be handled by Charter Communications not the Stamford commuter.”
William Hennessey, an attorney for BLT and Charter, said Charter and BLT are “anxious to present.”
The 500-parking-space pullback has been the most controversial aspect of the proposal since it was unveiled late last year.
Charter argues that the 500-space loss will be more than met by a new 960-spot commuter garage the state now plans to come online in September 2022, but whether those spaces are ready by the time commuters are bounced from current spots at the so-called Gateway Garage, below Charter, is an open question.
The Planning Board still recommends Charter’s expansion be approved, but wants the company to pay for studies and ensure commuters aren’t left spotless.
BLT Chief Operating Officer Ted Ferrarone said in an email statement that the company was “pleased that our proposal with Charter was unanimously approved by the Planning Board.”
“This is a fantastic project with a multitude of benefits for the city of Stamford, including hundreds of new jobs, and we look forward to demonstrating to the Zoning Board how we’ve addressed each of the Planning Board’s concerns at our hearing next week,” he wrote.
Zoning will next meet on the Charter plan on Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the Government Center’s fourth-floor cafeteria.
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