A developer is proposing 30 apartments a little east of where Route 44 and Route 202 merge in Canton.
Hartford-based L. Jackson Construction and its architect, Robert Schechinger of Farmington, on Wednesday will present their case to build on what’s currently a wooded lot.
The developer proposes two three-story buildings on about an acre and a half at 401 Albany Turnpike. In all, the three floors would have a total of just under 40,000 square feet of living space, according to plans filed with the planning and zoning commission.
Commissioners will hear the developer’s presentation as well as public comment at a hearing Wednesday at 7 p.m. at town hall. The meeting is hybrid; details for joining remotely are on the agenda at tinyurl.com/4wnz7ptk.
The plan is for 30 two-bedroom units with 19 garage parking spaces and another 34 outdoor spaces.
The land has been owned since 2013 by Arthur Godbout Jr.’s Canton Commercial Properties LLC.
Godbout in 2004 got zoning approval to build about 10,000 square feet of office space there, and said that office, medical and retail businesses had shown interest. But that plan never went forward.
Last year, First Selectman Robert Bessel told residents in a message that new apartment housing is important to keeping a population balance in Canton. He wrote that a 93-apartment plan for 3-5 Cherry Brook Road would help stem the loss of young people.
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“It will add 93 apartments intended for singles and couples — a younger demographic than the average town resident,” Bessel wrote at the time. “Many of the young people who leave Canton cite the lack of housing as a major driver of their exodus. The development at 3-5 Cherry Brook should begin to turn the exodus around. Instead of losing young people, these buildings could attract them — a welcome change for a community where the average age is 47.”
On Monday, he said that analysis still holds up, even with two-bedroom apartments that are more likely to draw young couples with a child.
“There’s an economic case to be made that if all the homes we build are $600,000, 700,000, $800,000, then we restrict our newcomers to only people who can afford that — usually people who are well along in their careers with established families,” he said.
“They bring kids into the school system — from a tax point of view, those are the most expensive years for a town. And a lot of times when their children finish going through the school system, those residents leave and the house is bought by more people in that situation,” he said.
The planning and zoning commission in 2017 approved a restaurant and other commercial use for the 401 Albany Turnpike land, which is just west of Daynard Drive. Numerous Daynard homeowners objected, but the town granted a permit — however, construction never began.
Schechinger noted that decision in the application for the 30-apartment project, and wrote that “The Route 44 corridor is the economic spine the community relies on for a variety of reasons including tax positive grand list growth to support community services.
“Many sites, including this one, were identified as being ‘opportunity locations’ in that they are intended to be developed to provide meaningful contribution to the grand list,” he wrote.