Collins townhouse architecture reviewed by ARB

September 4, 2015

Art Collins and his development company are almost complete with the demolition of the old Riverside Terrace apartments on Newport Ave.  He is replacing the old apartments with a mixture of apartments, townhouses, and condos.

The Watermark Apartments are currently under construction on Newport Ave and the designs were approved some months ago with significant civic league involvement.

Already approved Watermark Apartment elevations

Already approved Watermark Apartment elevations

Collins is now moving forward with the design and construction of the first three townhouse buildings.  As a requirement of the zoning, the design and architecture of these buildings must be reviewed by the Architectural Review Board and the Norfolk Planning Commission.

On September 3, 2015 the Norfolk Architectural Review Board reviewed the plans and architecture of the first three townhouse buildings to be built at Westport Commons.  They recommended approval of the designs with a condition that the windows be double hung rather than single hung.  The Planning Commission will review the designs on September 8, 2015.

Townhouse buildings 1, 2, and 3 towards the upper right are currently being designed and almost ready for construction

Townhouse buildings 1, 2, and 3 towards the upper right are currently being designed and almost ready for construction

westport front

Front elevation of the proposed townhouses. The exterior materials are mostly brick and fiber cement. No vinyl siding is proposed or allowed.

Rear elevation of the proposed Westport Commons Townhouses.

Rear elevation of the proposed Westport Commons Townhouses.

First floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

First floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Second floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Second floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Third floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Third floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

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Updated Apartment and Townhouse designs from Collins

January 16, 2015

Please remember to come to the meeting on January 20, 2015 at the Fitness and Wellness Center at 6:30pm to view the designs and provide input. This will likely be the last chance to provide input before the project goes before Planning Commission and City Council.

The apartments and townhouses are planned to be constructed on Newport Ave, just north of Granby Elementary.

SOME CHANGES FROM THEIR LAST PRESENTATION:

1.  The max height of the apartments is going from 47ft to 49ft

2.  The max height of the Condominiums is going from 43’8″ to 49ft.

illustrated siteplan

Apartment Amenities

Apartment Amenities

Community Gathering Space

Community Gathering Space

Main Entrance and Pocket Park

Main Entrance and Pocket Park

Wooded Trail and Pool Area

Wooded Trail and Pool Area

Trail Connection

Trail Connection

Revised Apartment Elevations

Revised Apartment Elevations

Exterior Finish Materials

Exterior Finish Materials

The entire PDF packet can be seen here.


Collins to present final proposal at special meeting on January 20 at Fitness and Wellness Center

January 11, 2015
Proposed Site Plan including apartments to the bottom right and townhouses to the left

Proposed Site Plan including apartments to the bottom right and townhouses to the left

Collins Enterprises will present their final version of their apartment / townhouse / condo plan to be constructed on Newport Ave just north of Granby Elementary.

The meeting will be on January 20, 2015 at 6:30pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  The meeting is a joint meeting of the Wards Corner Civic League and Talbot Hall Civic League.  The public is invited to attend.

The meeting starts at 6:30pm and each civic league will take a vote during the meeting to advise the planning commission and city council on their support and concerns about the project.

Updated designs will be posted to Wards Corner Now prior to the meeting.  Please attend and let your concerns be known.

 


Collins to present new apartment and townhouse plans for Newport Ave

November 14, 2014

Arthur Collins is back with another plan for his property on Newport Ave just north of Granby Elementary.  He will be presenting to the Wards Corner Civic League and the Talbot Hall Civic League.  Both meetings will be open to the public.

Wards Corner Civic League meeting:
November 17 @ 645pm
Fitness and Wellness Center

Talbot Hall Civic League meeting:
November 24 @ 7pm
Royster Memorial Church

For history on the property and Mr. Collins, please read: Art Collins, Going his own way – Unwilling to put any agreements in writing

The new proposal will require an amendment to the zoning for the property.  The rezoning will require Collins to go before the Planning Commission and City Council for approval.

Proposed site plan including apartments to the bottom right and townhouses to the left

Proposed site plan including apartments to the bottom right and townhouses to the left

Collins’ current zoning allows for 385 multifamily dwellings which could either be apartments or condos.  There are currently 12 condos constructed in the northeast corner of the site.

The new proposal calls for 318 total units of which 180 are to be apartments, 68 townhouses, and 70 condos (including the already constructed 12 condos).

Proposed townhouse design ideas

Proposed townhouse design ideas

The new proposal calls for a pool and clubhouse for the townhouses and what appears to be a second pool and clubhouse for the apartments.

View down a street of proposed townhouses

View down a street of proposed townhouses

For more details attend one of the civic league meetings and review the complete presentation (PDF).

 


Art Collins, Going his own way – Unwilling to put any agreements in writing

January 7, 2011

After multiple meetings over the last 12 months, Arthur Collins has decided to move forward with his apartment project without agreeing to any of the neighborhood suggestions that have come out of those multiple and numerous meetings.

Mr. Collins sought, and received, approval in 2008 to build a condominium complex on Newport Ave, adjacent to Granby Elementary School.  At all times relevant it was marketed and reported to be a condo project.  He was granted a rezoning which allowed 385 units to be built on the property (very dense) with the complete understanding of City Council and the surrounding neighborhoods that it would be a condo project.  A quality homeownership project was the only way that the community and City Council would accept the increased density.

Unfortunately, due to zoning regulations, a project cannot be limited to condos, and so this project was designated as multifamily.

2008 Original Siteplan - shows six small condo buildings nearest Newport Ave and three large condo buildings toward the river

2008 Original Siteplan - shows six small condo buildings nearest Newport Ave and three large condo buildings toward the river

The zoning that Collins received in 2008 required his site plan (definition: A site plan “usually shows a building footprint, travelways, parking, drainage facilities, sanitary sewer lines, water lines, trails, lighting, and landscaping”.) to be exactly as was on file in the Planning Department.

Unfortunately, the market for condos is now almost nonexistent.

Collins Apartments - Collins Summer 2010 proposal putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

Collins Apartments - Collins Summer 2010 proposal putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

Collins, in the summer of 2010, proposed an apartment complex which included a very large, almost circular, 4-story building, located up against Newport Ave which was to have included 189 apartment units.  Collins indicated at that time that there would be very little green space in his apartment proposal.

The neighbors and City Council members were not impressed.  They were unhappy with the switch from condos to apartments and the very large apartment bloc was uninviting and uninspiring.  It did not fit in with the nature and character of the neighborhood or Newport Ave.

Collins went back to the drawing board and came up with a more palatable proposal in the fall of 2010.  It was to be called the Landmark at Talbot Park and the design was well received.  Collins promised amenities like multiple clubhouses, multiple pools, public walkways, elevators, and attractive buildings.  Additionally, Art Collins agreed to engage the City for traffic calming solutions to accommodate the additional traffic; especially between the schools.

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

There were still those who were absolutely against apartments.  But the majority of those in attendance at the fall/winter meetings were warming to the newest proposal.  The neighbors asked for one thing:  put the proposal in writing and include it in the zoning of the property.

The neighbors had been let down before by Mr. Collins’ change from condos to apartments.  Before they would sign off on the new plan, they asked that he take the pretty architectural drawings that he was showing off at the meetings, and agree to build what was in those drawings.  If Collins were to put in his zoning that he would build what he was proposing, he couldn’t change his mind later and build something unexpected.  Without the zoning change, Collins could build all of the apartments and not a single amenity.  The neighbors were concerned.

Community members got together and came up with a proposed list of “proffers” or “conditions”.  They included requirements that the pools be built, that the walkway be built, that the elevators be built, and that the buildings look like the pretty pictures that Collins was parading from meeting to meeting.  Most, if not all, of the “proffers” were agreed to by the developer, and there was little doubt that the few that were not agreed to could be resolved.

The problem was that Collins (and/or his attorney) changed his mind and refused to put the “proffers” or “conditions” in the zoning.  They wanted to use them as “site plan conditions” which were unenforceable.  It took a meeting with Planning Director to finally convince the developer that “site plan conditions” do not restrict the developer.  One has to wonder whether the developer knew this all along and was hoping to pull a fast one on the neighbors.  The Planning Director advised that the way to make the “proffers” or “conditions” enforceable was to include them in the zoning.  The City Attorney’s office confirmed this.

Now Collins has backed away from any agreement with the neighborhoods.  He  is going to use the 2008 siteplan and change the elevations (the way the outside of the buildings appear, but not the location or size of the buildings).   He can do this without going before City Council.

It’s a shame that Collins wasted so much of the community’s time with meetings, public and private, and once a deal was seemingly struck, he was unwilling to put it in writing and commit.  One can only hope that Mr. Collins treats the neighborhood and community in a manner in which he would want his neighborhood in Connecticut treated.


Thrift Store at Wards Corner on Agenda for this Saturday

November 17, 2010

Agenda for this Saturday’s Wards Corner Now meeting:

  • Proposed Thrift Store in Wards Corner Business District
  • Art Collins to present on his revised apartment community plan

Please attend and let your elected officials know how you feel about the two above proposals.  The meeting is this Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.


Collins to present at WCN meeting on Nov 20th

November 5, 2010
The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

Art Collins, the developer of the proposed “Landmark at Talbot Park”, will present his new development proposal at the November 20th meeting of Wards Corner Now.  The meeting is at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Ave.  Your attendance is requested.


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