STONINGTON — Residents on Monday approved a measure to allow town officials to enter into a tax-abatement agreement with a Boston-based firm that would aid in the redevelopment of the Campbell Grain property into a mixed-use apartment complex.
The measure, which drew opposition from some concerned over impact such as flooding, environmental pollution and traffic, garnered the endorsement of all three members of the Board of Selectmen before passing by a 71-36 margin. Officials confirmed that an unidentified resident had picked up a petition from Stonington Town Hall on Tuesday, and will have 10 days under the town charter to get 200 signatures to force a formal referendum.
Under the tax-abatement plan approved Monday, Winn Development would receive a fixed assessment for an 82-unit complex that would save the development company an estimated $690,748 in taxes over a 10-year period. The company would pay $695,000 in taxes to the town during that time.
“While we respect and understand the concerns with regard to the property, it is such an important parcel in that downtown area and the benefits far outweigh the risks,” said First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough. “This project will help to spur more investment in some of the surrounding underdeveloped sites, and it helps to meet a dire need in our community when it comes to affordable housing.”
The proposed project for the site calls for a mix of studio and one- to three-bedroom apartments to be rented to those earning 30%, 50% and 80% of area median income, as well as housing several market-rate units. Other plans for the property include creating a parking garage for residents and extending the Pawcatuck Riverwalk with public access.
Company officials said that the organization is currently seeking a $20 million grant from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and Connecticut Department of Housing, and approval of the tax abatement would give the company an edge in a very competitive process.
Chesebrough said that, if denied and the project fell through, there aren’t any other known proposals for the property at this time and the town would generate less than $30,000 in taxes over a 10-year period.
She said that the town must consider the petition first, however, and will do what is necessary if it is determined that a referendum is needed.
“We want people to be heard, and so for right now there is a little bit of a wait to see what will happen next,” she said.