New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Tennis court relocation back on Quinnipiac’s agenda under planned developmen­t district

- By Chatwan Mongkol chatwan.mongkol@hearstmedi­

HAMDEN — Quinnipiac University has submitted a new applicatio­n to add three projects to its already approved planned developmen­t district, including a new guardhouse, a new bus shelter and the relocation of its tennis courts.

The move came as the university began constructi­on on its South Quad project, which consists of two new academic buildings and a residence hall. The project was approved after the town Planning and Zoning Commission designated the Hamden campus as a planned developmen­t district, despite pushback from neighbors.

It’s not the first time the university tried to relocate its six tennis courts (the first time was May 2021), but it had faced delays and opposition from residents because of a proposal for light poles taller than the legal maximum height.

Quinnipiac spokespers­on John Morgan said the university doesn’t comment on pending applicatio­ns to the PZC. An email seeking comment was sent to the town planner.

The tennis court plan this time around still includes those 50-foot light poles, something the university previously said would better prevent light from spilling.

What’s different is that under the planned developmen­t district rules, the university doesn’t have to go through an appeals process to obtain a variance for the light poles, which was the process the university struggled with in 2021.

The regulation­s were intended to aid Quinnipiac’s expansion and other developmen­ts in town by giving developers more flexibilit­y to design their projects beyond bulk-written rules and standards for certain zones.

The town, at one point, considered creating new regulation­s to allow taller light poles, but it sparked concerns among zoning officials about the push behind the amendment and traffic and environmen­tal issues that could follow. The university, at one point, looked at North Haven as a second option, but eventually withdrew its applicatio­n there.

“After further investigat­ion and study, the University has determined that the proposed location, still proximate to the existing Recreation Center, would be the best location for the tennis courts,” the applicatio­n stated.

That location is the North Lot facing Mount Carmel Avenue, west of Hogan Road. If approved, the relocation would take up 145 parking spots, which the university said wouldn’t affect its parking needs. The need to relocate stemmed from the constructi­on of a newly opened recreation center.

While the university doesn’t have a tennis court on campus, Morgan said players have been using courts at the Guilford Racquet and Swim Club and North Haven Health and Racquet.

Also in the applicatio­n are a new bus pull-off on New Road for its shuttle buses and a security guardhouse at the New Road entrance near Sherman Avenue.

The university currently utilizes its visitor parking lot at the Harwood Gate entrance for its shuttle services, instead of the parking that was closed due to the ongoing constructi­on.

The new stop along the town road across from Peter C. Hereld House for Jewish Life has been approved by the Traffic Authority. If approved by the PZC, the constructi­on would include a reconfigur­ation of the sidewalk and a bus shelter installmen­t. The university also would be responsibl­e for maintenanc­e and repairs including snow removal. No trees would be removed for the project.

For the guardhouse, the university said it needs a secure entrance that provides sole access to the College of Arts and Sciences building, underclass­men residence halls, the facilities building and the Hilltop parking lot, due to the ongoing constructi­on. The university eventually would get rid of its current New Road entrance under its 10-year master plan, according to the applicatio­n.

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