Stratford cautiously defers decision on 204-unit Foxwoods subdivision

·2 min read

STRATFORD – It'll be at least one more month before the Foxwoods subdivision will be able to see more development.

A section of the proposed 204-unit development, which has been in the works since 2017, was put before Stratford council during a meeting on April 14. Because of delays in working out details for larger sections of the subdivision, the developer was requesting preliminary approval to start work on a small section off Windsor Drive.

"That would give them something to actually work on this year and give more time to sort the details out," planning director Kevin Reynolds said.

However, the number of planned lots caused council to take a step back. The developer, Z & C Flourish International, had originally planned to develop five lots around Windsor Drive's cul de sac.

The decision before council was to approve six lots around the cul de sac. Coun. Jill Burridge, who chairs the town's planning board, said the lots remain in the same physical space but their individual sizes were amended to fit one more lot.

"They just resized the lots within that footprint," she said. "The change was not a significant one."

Stratford's planning board was OK with the amendment, but the concern was that nearby residents hadn't been informed about it via a public meeting. Only five lots were advertised at the last public meeting in 2019.

Robert Hughes, the town's chief administrative officer, was leery about possible repercussions. Public meetings are required under the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC), but the rules are unclear on whether one would be needed for this kind of amendment, he said.

"There is a little bit of risk that, if it's appealed, then it may be in jeopardy," he said. "My guess is that IRAC would say 'if you're amending it, you should follow the same process as developing it.'"

Burridge noted making tweaks to developments after public meetings is not uncommon so long as formal discussions are had, but a change like this could also be a "precedent-setter" for future developments. Councillors ultimately decided to err on the side of caution, despite being supportive of the amended site plan.

"I feel like it's a healthy change," Coun. Darren MacDougall said. "But there's a process to enact the change."

The decision will go before council again next month. This is to be the second phase of the subdivision's development.

"A month is a considerable amount of time for a developer," Reynolds said.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian