Darien moves forward with downtown makeover
DARIEN — A long-discussed downtown development project has received its final approval, after a decision on the affordable housing portion of the plan was made last week.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a proposal by Baywater Properties to demolish buildings in the Corbin Drive area to redevelop Darien’s downtown. This will increase office space downtown from 45,961 to 81,200 square feet and retail space from 52,279 to 81,730 square feet.
As part of the project, Baywater’s plan to place 12 affordable housing apartment units in two buildings on 26 East Lane was also approved. Each building will be 4,500 square feet with six parking spaces.
Titled the Corbin Project, the multiuse development will bring a blend of restaurant, retail locations and social spaces downtown. The project was introduced by Baywater in 2017 and will span from the Bank of America building on Post Road to the intersection of Corbin Drive and Old Kings Highway South.
The commission agreed to have the affordable housing designated for developmentally disabled applicants. By excluding the originally proposed senior component, members said they hoped to reduce the intensity of use.
According to the commission, eligibility for the residents will be determined by state law defining a person of special needs. The commission also agreed to set the income limit at 80 percent of state median income, which as of 2017 was around $46,000 for an individual. Three units will also be placed downtown at 80 percent of state median income, but will not be restricted to those with special needs.
Baywater will be responsible for certifying the eligibility of the occupants and relaying the information to the town. The Department of Human Services will confirm the certifications in regards to eligibility.