Massive West Hartford Development Project Back On PZC's Docket
Massive West Hartford Development Project Back On PZC's Docket

Massive West Hartford Development Project Back On PZC's Docket

WEST HARTFORD, CT — A massive plan to develop the old University of Connecticut campus site on Asylum Avenue in West Hartford is back for another round of town deliberations.

On Monday, the West Hartford Plan and Zoning Commission/Inland Wetland and Watercourses Agency was expected to discuss the latest application for the project, namely an IWWA permit for a second portion of the two-pronged development on Asylum Avenue.

But the PZC, acting as the IWWA, voted 5-0 to continue the matter under “Old Business” to a special meeting on Wednesday, July 17, at 6 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall, 50 S. Main St.

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The vote came with little discussion and the meeting was over in 17 minutes Monday.

In West Hartford, the PZC acts as the wetlands agency when it comes to wetlands permits.

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The developer, “West Hartford 1,” purchased the 58-acre site in January 2022 and has filed applications under the names WEHA Development Group LLC and WEHA Development Group East LLC.

The working name for the project is “Oakwood Park.”

Facets of the development include multi-family residential housing; boutique-style retail components; restaurants; medical offices; a spa; an organic neighborhood market; public parks; walking areas, trails and ballfields; and a structured parking component.

One component is at 1700 Asylum Ave., which calls for the construction of four multi-story residential apartment buildings.

The wetlands permit for this aspect of the project was approved last January.

The other component is at 1800 Asylum Ave. and now calls for the construction of 12 new buildings to have a diverse array of uses, ranging from mixed-use to housing to retail/commercial buildings.

The wetlands permit application for 1800 Asylum Ave. was withdrawn last winter amid delays and questions from commission members and the public.

At the time, the project called for 14 new buildings, with the latest application, officially submitted last month, now scaling the project back by about two buildings.

The wetlands permit also calls for a new, private roadway throughout the site, parking lots, pedestrian walkways, and various landscaping features.

A wetlands permit is required because it is close enough to wetlands and/or wetlands soils to require IWWA approval.

Redevelopment of the area, which was the UConn-Hartford branch from 1970 to 2017, has been part of town conversations for years after the campus relocated to downtown Hartford.

After a wetlands permit is granted for 1800 Asylum Ave., the commission — acting as a PZC — will address new applications on the zoning side for both 1700 and 1800 Asylum Ave., meaning construction is still a long way off.

Last winter, when the first batch of plans for the massive and complicated project went before the PZC/IWWA, several hearings took place taking several hours.

Many of those testifying expressed environmental concerns about the project and the impact it could have on the town.

But PZC/IWWA members had to reiterate the wetlands permit component is all that the board is discussing/deciding at this time.

Those other concerns will be discussed when the zoning phase of the applications takes place, a timeline for which has not been finalized.

For the minutes of the June 24 West Hartford Plan and Zoning Commission meeting, cick on this link.

From Jan. 18: ‘Massive WeHa Development Project Gets First Town OK’

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