Big Apartment Development Planned

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You’ve probably heard of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and The Hamlet by William Faulkner, but have you heard about The Hamlet in Suffield? It is a new development that was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2015. Since that time, there have been many meetings and several changes requested. However, construction has not been started as of this date. The approximately 30 acre parcel is owned by Hamlet Homes, LLC with Mark O’Neill of Suffield as Principal. This organization primarily operates in the business of Residential Construction.

The property was recently approved to be divided into four lots to allow different entities to finance or own the different phases of the project. Dakota Partners Inc., a Massachusetts-based real estate developer and builder involved in the acquisition and development of multi-family rental communities, will be the management company for all of the housing units.

This development will consist of 166 units comprised of affordable and market rate apartments and townhouses. You might be wondering how this is possible in an area zoned for single family homes. State of Connecticut regulations require that a town, in this case Suffield, with less than 10% of its housing stock that is in the category considered “affordable” according to the state’s definition, must approve the proposal for affordable homes unless a health or safety issue arises during the application process which clearly outweighs the need for affordable housing. Therefore, the area is now zoned as a Housing Opportunity District (HOD). Suffield is currently at 5.43% and this development will push us closer to the 10% mark.

Phase 1 (Lot 1) will consist of three buildings, each with 12 units and contains the frontage on East Street South. The next phase will result in an additional four buildings with 48 apartments. The townhouses will be built as part of Phases Three and Four. There will be 70 townhouses in 16 buildings. The plan approved in 2015 included 29 HOD apartments and 21 HOD townhouses spread across all phases. However, the current proposal will have 63% considered affordable; 25 of which will be available to those making 60% or less of the area median income level; 80 to those making 80% or less. This brings the affordable total to 105 units; 84 HOD apartments will be built during the first two phases and 21 HOD townhouses built during the last two phases of the project. Market rate units will be built in the last two phases and will consist of 12 apartments and 49 townhouses. Units with deed or lease restrictions must remain so for 40 years. Deeds and leases will also have verbiage regarding their proximity to the sewer plant.

The lighting plan indicates that there will be no light dispersion across property lines. Solar lighting with a height of 19’, which exceeds the 14’ allowed has been approved as the taller pole helps to capture the sunlight. The original parking area has been redesigned from a dead end to a loop. With so many buildings and parking spaces, where’s the open space? Although there are no requirements for open space in an HOD zone, approximately 15 acres, or 50% is open space consisting of space not being developed including detention basins. The road leading to the WPCA will be used by emergency vehicles only, as needed. A gate will be installed to prevent residents from using it on a regular basis.

Now that you know about The Hamlet, you probably won’t see it. The location is beyond the hill near the WPCA.

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