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City Council Approves Fort Trumbull Project Redefinition

"Condominium" to "common interest ownership unit" change approved on second appearance before council

The City Council approved a redefinition for a Fort Trumbull development agreement on Tuesday, two weeks after the measure .

Councilors voted 6-1 to approve the change in a development agreement between the and River Bank Construction. The approval replaces “condominium” with “common interest ownership unit” in the agreement.

The organizations made the request earlier this month, saying it would assist in securing financing for the project. River Bank Construction is looking to build on four lots at Fort Trumbull. The “Village on the Thames” community would include Greek Revival homes reminiscent of the architecture of Starr Street as well as Italianate and carriage house styles, all with one to three bedrooms.

The resolution presented to the City Council by NLDC says the change will “enhance the opportunity to market and sell the residential units by allowing several potential forms of individually deeded ownership allowable under the Common Interest Ownership Act.” Karl-Erik Sternlof, first vice president of NLDC, previously said the change would allow the inclusion of different types of units such as co-ops and planned units.

Sternlof said the change would not lead to Section 8 or income restricted housing at the peninsula. He also denied that it would allow separate buildings to be classified as one unit, a concern brought up by some residents due to the prior City Council’s decision to to the project.

The Economic Development Committee voted 2-1 on Jan. 3 to approve the change, but the decision failed in a 3-3 tie before the full council.

On Tuesday, Councilors Marie Friess-McSparran and Anthony Nolan—both of whom were opposed to the change in the original vote—said they had reconsidered after meeting with people involved in the project to ask questions on the matter.

“It’s my understanding that the funding is available to them, but they did not find it conducive to spend all their monies when financing is available to them.”

Councilor John Maynard, the sole opponent of the change, said he would be in favor of revising the definition if the organizations agreed to forfeit the abatement. He also questioned what a starting rental phase would mean for the quality of the housing.

“It's not going to have the same quality that you would put into condominiums,” said Maynard.

Councilor Adam Sprecace said Council President Michael Passero said they believe the revised definition will help with the buildout phase of the project as well as the subsequent sales.

“I think this is the most technical of technical changes to the development agreement which has already been approved,” said Passero.

Michael Casteel January 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM
LMAO - It is rental housing, I don't care what fancy terminology is used. Most of it will likely end up as Section 8 subsidized. If even half the units are rented to families with one school age child this development will add nearly a million dollars a year to the school budget. In return for virtually no property tax income. This development is a desperation move by the NLDC to grab a few bucks and stay alive a bit longer. It effectively ensures that the Ft, Trumbull peninsula will NEVER see the promised commercial developments. The NLDC and City of New London should be sued for fraud. They argued to the Supreme Court that eminent domain was justified because the land taken would generate higher property taxes (a specious argument to justify the public good). In fact this development is only being built because it is getting a huge tax abatement. It will end up a total catastrophe - guaranteed. The developer will sell it before it is ever completed. But the NLDC will continue with it's out-of-towner Board.
Kenneth R. Lewis January 18, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Why did this even come back on the agenda, it failed before. Why did councilors change their votes? Feed the wealthy developers a tax abatement and then work harder to get them a good deal than the council does for the residents.
Thomas Cornick January 19, 2012 at 05:24 AM
When you cannot make the hard decisions to work within your means you are left to seek growth at any cost. Cancer is an example of growth at any cost and it usually damages it's host.
Helen Sandalls January 19, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Please, how does the approved agreement define “common interest ownership unit”? Thanks in advance!
Dirk Langeveld January 19, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Sternlof previously said it would expand the number of options available from just condominiums, which have a specific definition under the state's Common Interest Ownership Act. The act includes a definition of a "common interest community" as well as definitions for condos and three other types of communities fitting this definition (cooperative, leasehold common interest community, and planned community). http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap828.htm#Sec47-206.htm

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