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Darien Rejects Tokeneke Housing Plan

Christopher and Margaret Stefanoni's proposed affordable housing project on Tokeneke Road was rejected by Darien's Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night, citing health and safety concerns. "The potential harm presented by this application clearly outweighs the need for nine additional affordable housing units," Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg read from the commission's decision.

The proposed development called for 30 units of senior housing, with nine units designated as affordable. The application was submitted under Connecticut General Statute 8-30g, which allows developers to overstep local zoning boards to build affordable housing. Because the application was submitted before Darien was granted its four-year moratorium on such housing in October, the Stefanonis can challenge the decision.

During months of public hearings and deliberations on the plan, the commission continued to have a major problem with sightline issues for vehicles leaving the development. Members said cars leaving the driveway would not be able to see other cars traveling west on Tokeneke Road, and that this could potentially lead to accidents.

"There's no way any safe exit can take place unless there is a signalized exit," said commission member Joseph Spain, pointing out that many of the senior residents of the development might have delayed reaction times.

The decision to deny the application was unanimous, but the commission said the development could be approved with significant modifications. These changes include adding a traffic signal to the exits onto Tokeneke Road or moving the driveway so that it exits onto Pheasant Run, a private road.

The commission also requested sidewalks along Tokeneke Road to provide safe passage for pedestrians, more parking spaces, fewer housing units and more space for emergency vehicles to have access to the facility.

The Stefanonis have another proposed affordable housing development on Hoyt Street awaiting a decision by the commission. That will likely be decided at the commission's March 15 meeting.

What do you think of the Stefanonis' proposed affordable housing projects? Do you think the Planning and Zoning Commission made a good call? Start a conversation in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter .

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