Stonegate Takes Shape

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Photo by Lester Smith

Pictured on New Year’s Day, the land being developed for a small subdivision off North Main Street extends down to a wooded area. The storm water detention basin is seen at the far left; the two excavators are near the end of what will be Stonegate Lane.

Stonegate, the subdivision being developed off North Main Street, was first announced at the September 2017 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, when Ray Daddario described his plans in a pre-application conference. The project then worked its way through Conservation Commission and Historic District Commission approvals and finally the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearings, deliberation, and final approval on February 28, 2018. As the property includes two notable homes in the Town Center Historic District that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Stonegate elicited considerable local concern and some opposition.

The development comprised two parcels. The first is the 20-acre property at 480 North Main. Its red-roofed house is Aldenheim, built in 1794 for Dr. Howard Alden, a descendant of Puritan pioneer John Alden (of “Speak for yourself, John” fame). The neighboring parcel is the 38-acre Sutton property at 500 North Main, where Daniel Warner built his house in 1837. Both properties have been associated with prominent Suffield families.

Ground was broken later in 2018, and by late October the subdivision’s short access road had a curb cut at the highway. Work has continued through the winter with site development and renovations to the existing houses.

The Suffield Historic District Commission required that both of the historic Main Street houses remain in place, appropriately restored, along with a smaller house behind Aldenheim and several outbuildings. The plot plan calls for one new house on North Main in space north of the Sutton house. Eleven more will be built in the rear. The topography is such that many of those will not be fully visible from Main Street.

The existing smaller house and the new ones at the rear will be accessed by Stonegate Lane, a gently-S-curved road ending in a turning circle. The new house lots range from about 25,000 square feet to about 60,000, the largest being the only flag lot, with a longer driveway. The new house fronting on North Main will have a bonus unusual for a residential subdivision: a large tobacco curing shed in the back yard, whose preservation was required by the commission.

A storm water detention basin is situated beyond the northeast corner of the homesites area on property of the future Stonegate homeowners’ association. The basin is intended to mitigate the change in water runoff when a subdivision is built. Also, 45 acres additional land will be preserved as open space, and 25 of those acres will be deeded to the Suffield Land Conservancy.

Many of the new homes will be outside the 400-ft. limit of the historic district, but Mr. Daddario said they will be custom built in a variety of historically appropriate designs, with no two alike. He expects to be able to start marketing before spring. 

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