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176-Apt Plan Wins Zoning Change OK

By January 4, 2022May 17th, 2022Press

Alders unanimously approved a suite of zoning changes designed to allow for the redevelopment of a long-vacant Science Park lot into 176 apartments and 88 parking spaces.

That vote took place Monday night during the latest regular bimonthly meeting of the full Board of Alders, held in person in the Aldermanic Chamber on the second floor of City Hall.

The alders granted a final, unanimous approval to a zoning ordinance text and map amendment to modify Planned Development District (PDD) #49 to expand the boundaries of Parcel K to include the entirety of 291 and 309 Ashmun St. and 178 – 186 Canal St.; and to allow for residential use of up to 176 apartments, 88 parking spaces, and associated community/amenity space.

The vote tees up a fenced-in 1.7 acre site bounded by Henry Street, Canal Street, and Ashmun Street to be built up into a new five-story apartment building, parking spots, and open space by RJ Development & Advisors LLC, which is run by local developer Yves Joseph.

Monday’s vote came one year and two months after the alders voted in support of a separate but parallel Development and Land Disposition Agreement (DLDA) and tax break deal that would have the city sell the publicly owned site to Joseph’s company for $500,000.

That same already-approved DLDA requires the developer to set aside one-third of the studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments in the planned new complex at below-market rates. That includes at least 25 units for renters earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), at least 15 units at 60 AMI, and at least 10 units made available for Section 8 voucher holders.

Now that the alders have approved the DLDA, the tax break agreement, and the underlying zoning changes, the developer needs to win site plan approval from the City Plan Commission before it can begin building on the vacant site. Joseph said during a recent City Plan Commission meeting and at a recent aldermanic committee meeting that his company will solicit input on the development’s design from neighbors before going back to City Plan with a final site plan proposal. 

“This would be the last piece of our puzzle in Ward 22,” Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison said in support of the zoning change Monday night, ​“to ensure not only affordable housing is in place for the City of New Haven,” but also in her Dixwell ward.

She praised the developer for promising to meet with neighbors to talk about the project’s design before moving forward with a site plan application. And she touted the 33 percent affordable-set aside as a model for building new, deed-restricted, below-market-rate housing in town.

“This is a project that’s not only going to continue to enhance the Dixwell community, but it’s also going to continue to enhance our legislative agenda in regards to affordable housing,” she said.

Click on the video below to watch a recent aldermanic committee hearing about the Ashmun street development and zoning change.

Story by the New Haven Independent