development City wants developer to pay up
STAMFORD — The city’s transportation bureau chief has asked a developer seeking to expand the scope of a downtown residential project to help fund nearby traffic improvements after it got away with not paying years ago.
Transportation Bureau Chief Jim Travers has requested True North LLC to pay nearly $400,000 to split the cost of a new traffic light with the developer who is constructing an adjacent downtown apartment.
Travers said developers typically pay for these neighborhood traffic improvements and True North has not contributed since the high-rise apartment project was originally approved two years ago.
True North has been approved to construct a 220-unit, seven-story apartment building on the parking lot of the Basilica of Saint John on Atlantic Street, but is now back before the Zoning Board hoping to add two more stories and 70 units to keep up with the large Lennar apartment building planned for next door.
The new proposal opened the door for Travers to impose conditions that he said should have been established in the original approval. However, Travers said Stamford’s Transportation, Traffic and Parking Bureau was in transition at the time before he was hired.
Travers said Lennar, the developer constructing the adjacent project, is contributing $340,000 to pay for half of the traffic light and $150,000 to remove a pedestrian bridge over Tresser Boulevard.
“The other developers are doing significantly more,” Travers said Monday during a Zoning Board hearing.
Travers believes it’s fair for True North to pay for the other half of the traffic light, but William Hennessey, attorney for the developer, disagrees.
“His view of fairness might not be our idea of fairness,” Hennessey said. “We think there is a solution here. We’re not saying we shouldn’t pay anything, it’s about what’s fair ... the $400,000 just doesn’t feel right.”
Hennessey said True North would agree to pay a third of the cost to match the amount the company wants to expand the project.
But Travers said that would not be enough.
“Anything less than a signal, I can’t install,” Travers said.
The Zoning Board will likely take up the matter at a special meeting on Monday.
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