standing Charlestown Town Hall

CHARLESTOWN — Members of the town’s Planning Commission will hear a proposal tonight for a 20-unit development that would include 12 units of low- and moderate-income housing on Old Post Road and Narrows Lane.

Applicant Tim Stasiunas, owner of Stasiunas Companies Investments LLC, will come before the commission to seek approval of a master plan and comprehensive permit for the Village Walk, a 20-unit development that would be built on a 2-acre parcel that abuts Old Post Road to the south and Narrows Lane to the east.

The development, which will be presented to the commission as part of an informational meeting, would consist of five two-story buildings, a dedicated one-way entrance and exit, and an area for development of a potential future garden.

In a memo to members of the Planning Commission, Town Planner Jane Weidman said the project would require several waivers in order for it to be developed as proposed.

“Village Walk would be a 20-unit, age-restricted, multi-unit housing development consisting of five nearly identical buildings in condominium ownership,” she said in the memo. “There would be 12 affordable units and eight market rate units. A number of waivers to local zoning regulations are needed to allow the project to be developed as proposed.”

Stasiunas had first approached the Planning Department in April 2020 about his proposal to develop an affordable multi-family housing complex on Lot 40, last proposed as the site of a Dollar General store.

The current proposal calls for a duplication of the recently completed owner-occupied affordable housing apartments along Josephine Drive known as the Village Farm Condominiums. The condos, which were also developed by Stasiunas Companies Investments, consist of 32 low- and moderate-income units in six two-story buildings.

While smaller, the Village Walk proposal would seek an exception to town zoning regulations. The proposed development calls for design work that is inconsistent with the town’s requirements for the parcel, which lies within the historic village overlay and traditional village district.

Under town zoning regulations, the TVD district is zoned “to encourage small-scale business and residential uses consistent with the historic and pedestrian-scale characteristics that exist and which are unique to Charlestown village.”

Weidman also expressed to members of the commission that she had reached out to Stasiunas regarding other concerns as well, including the proposed density for that location and a site layout that could potentially add considerable traffic in that area.

The project is likely to be met with concerns, and Weidman indicated to commission members that the applicant will likely need a redesign before it would be ready for approval.

“The project, despite being fully permitted, requires a redesign, and this is the same message that was sent to the developer last April and again at the pre-app discussion in November,” Weidman said in her memo. “The number of dwelling units on the parcel is excessive — if this were a lot in R-40 District like the St. Germain lot immediately to the south, two single-family houses would be permitted — after a subdivision of course.”

Weidman encouraged commission members to ask that designs meet requirements for mixed-use developments within a TVD zone and questioned whether the proposal would serve to meet the town’s needs for additional low- and moderate-income housing.

“At what point is this balance no longer achieved?” she said. “In this case, the applicant has engineered the development to its maximum possible density on the parcel, then assumes because affordable units are to be provided that it is incumbent on upon you, the Planning Commission, to endorse the project exactly as submitted.”

The Planning Commission meeting will be held virtually at 7 p.m. and is open to the public, including a public comment period. The meeting will be held via Webex and may be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/ny4p996z. Participants may also call in by dialing 844-992-4726 and using the event number "132 545 8670" and password "Ctown4540."

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