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Plans put forward by Reno Russo, the owner of the Fantasia banquet hall located at 404 Washington Avenue, have been approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC). The plan, which has been undergoing public hearings since July, has seen several revisions before its approval.
The initial plan would have featured 109 residential units split between three buildings with commercial space available on the first floor. Concerns were raised by residents as well as Chief of Police Thomas McLoughlin regarding the number of parking spaces. Town regulations required 146 parking spaces, and the initial plan provided for 147 spaces, but the board still found that number insufficient.
Residents of the abutting Robin Court were particularly worried about the additional noise and traffic increase brought on by the development.
The site plan has since been reduced from its initial 109 residential units to 88 units, a change that allowed for a fewer parking spaces.
In addition, the total number of buildings on the site has been reduced from three to two, with the larger of the two buildings shifted closer to the road and further from the abutting homes along Robin Court.
There will still be sufficient square footage for up to three commercial tenants on the ground floor of the development.
“I do appreciate that they made a lot of revisions,” Land Use Administrator Alan Fredrickson said. “It’s a much better plan than it was initially.”
Cutting down the number of buildings will have a big impact for the residents, Fredrickson said. It created more separation between the proposed apartments and the homes to the rear than the original plan.
“I think neighbors did a good job speaking and the developer listened,” Fredrickson said.
The site was approved with minor conditions such as supplying revised information to the PZC and ensuring that all residential units would be serviced by automatic sprinkler systems.
With the approval of the site plan by the PZC, it’s not yet clear when the development at the Washington Avenue location will begin.