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Major Stony Hill Inn Property Development Planned

Proposed development would have close to 200 housing units and more than 4,000 square foot of commercial retail space

 

Development along the Route 6 corridor in Bethel could soon get a major boost.

Randy Salvatore, the founder and president of RMS Companies – a Stamford based real estate firm, hopes to build a giant development at Stony Hill Inn. The plan, said Salvatore, would be to create a mixed commercial and residential development that would include several thousand square feet of commercial rental space, close to 200 residential units, and ultimately serve as a gathering point for the Bethel community.

“There's two sides to the development,” Salvatore said, “there is a townhouse side to it, which is strictly residential, which has an entrance coming off route six and will comprise 88 town house units and 48 duplex units with a club house, a pool, and an amenities center.”

He added, that portion of the development “will connect through to a mix used development area that will have approximately four different buildings with about 4500 square foot of retail, with residential units, [above and nearby the retail spaces].”

Salvatore said that the development would feature picturesque New England style architecture.

“What we're trying to create on the sight is really kind of another town center along Route 6. We'll have a little gazebo in the center [of the development] where people will be able to gather around on the weekend,” he said.

The mixed use plan is in keeping with the town of Bethel's overall vision for the corridor. A 2007 study on the Route 6 corridor conducted for the town, concluded that the best way to develop Route 6 was through mixed use. The project has the support of First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker as well as Town Planner Steve Palmer.

Palmer said if this development goes through, it will help spur the overall economic development of Route 6.

“We have other owners of properties and developers interested in other properties on Route 6 as well, and we think if this project comes to fruition that this is just going to be the start of what we see as a successful development model for Route 6,” he said.

To support the proposed Stony Hill Inn development, Bethel amended the zoning regulations for Route 6 in February in order to allow for residential housing which the area had not been zoned for previously.

Salvatore said his company is currently finalizing all of the engineering plans and drawings for the project, and will submit a formal plan to Bethel within 45 days. Approval for the project could take some time, but Salvatore said he'd “love to start [building] this year.” He added once building begins, it will take “two to three years to fully build it, but we'd be delivering residents and hopefully retailers along the way.”

There are still some obstacles to overcome before the development becomes a reality. One is a shortage of sewer capacity on Route 6. The Public Utilities Commission held a public hearing on a new proposed Sewer Allocation Program last week. If the proposal is not revised it would likely require Salvatore's company to pay several hundred thousand dollars for increased sewer capacity – which Salvatore said could be a potential deal breaker. However, Salvatore said Bethel has been great to work with so far and “we're confident that the process is moving forward and that we'll get an allocation and the town will recognize the benefits of the project.”

He added that the project would “generate upwards of a million and a half dollars in tax revenue, with not a lot of increase in services needed.”

Among RMS Companies previous developments, is The Village at River's Edge in Stamford, a luxury town home development that is similar to what is being proposed for Bethel. That development was named “Community of The Year” by the Homebuilders Association of Connecticut in 2007.

Salvatore is working hand in hand with Gene Rubino and the Rubino family who own Stony Hill Inn and the surrounding property. Salvatore said that if the approval process goes smoothly the plan would be for him to buy the property and go forward with the development. He said he has looked to the Rubino family as guides throughout the planning process for this development.

“I know that they, in all cases, have Bethel's best interest at heart,” he said. “They have deep roots in Bethel, they understand the community and they understand the needs of the community and they're going to do right by the community.”

Diane Ryan June 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
The News Times article today says about the same thing as this Bethel Patch article except it gives the price the developer is planning to pay the Rubinos and alludes to existing buildings and businesses there not remaining although it's unclear about the golf range fate. Nothing is said about the existing pond. I don't remember the town plan for Rt 6 having residential zoning in it and am concerned that zoning is being changed in town lately to accommodate proposed projects rather than guiding the development. Greenwood Ave. by Grand St. is a case in point. Up to now there has not been new residential development along Rt. 6. I don't think it is fair to determine the value, feasibility or worth of a project or rubber stamp it because of who benefits and what they have or have not given to the town as far as taxes, citizenry, etc. as some of you allude. The Rubinos do have every right to sell their land. It is beautiful property with the rolling hills, stately trees and pond. Hopefully whatever is approved will be an asset to the town. I am concerned though about traffic with all those units since Rt. 6 already backs up off of Exit 8 when I84 East is backed up. We don't want it to become another Federal Rd. having to be widened from one or two lanes in places to more. Also the Fire Department will be affected as well as the school system if they can even sell units in this economy. An over 55 community might meet a need in town and offset some of these concerns.
Paul Improta June 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Diane Ryan - for some reason your comment came to my email, but i can't find it to reply to on here. First, if you go to the sketch at the top of the page you can hit "Control" and "+" on the picture to zoom in. It shows the pond remaining. It also shows where the existing driving range is. Yes, the driving range is going. You will also see an outline at the bottom-left of a sketch of a building. That represents a separate parcel of land - 4 acres which was previously approved for a healthcare facility, and is not part of this project. 1 or 2 bedroom housing units should have little if any affect on schools. It will help with affordable housing for young professionals to move to or to stay in town. The issue you speak to on Greenwood Avenue was one landowner looking for a waiver to use his single location for a small bistro; it wasn't a zone change for the street or neighborhood. The Stony Hill Road Plan of Development has been years in the making. It was being discussed in 2005 when I was on the P&Z Commission. I know the Rubino's have sought the approval of all the surrounding landowners - the people who would be directly affected by this project, in advance of moving forward to this point.
Paul Improta June 13, 2012 at 11:13 PM
By the way, here in Bethel Toll Bros. units are selling like hotcakes in this economy. There is no reason these wouldn't also.
Brian Campana June 13, 2012 at 11:40 PM
There is vacant retail space all over Bethel. Think of Main St, the Big Y shopping center and the Armando's strip mall. Do we really need 4000 more Sq ft of vacant retail space?
Bill Hillman June 14, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Brian, with 136 homes right behind, do you really think those retail shops will be vacant?
Swami Ramaswami June 14, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Impact on schools?
Raymond Cora June 14, 2012 at 06:38 AM
just as Tammy responded I'm dazzled that a person can get paid $7967 in four weeks on the computer. did you see this site ho.io/qaur
Paul Improta June 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Most of the vacant retail is on Greenwood Ave. I would suggest that apart from the parking issue we are all familiar with, I would also respectfully state that those spaces wouldn't be empty if the landlords accepted what is thr market rent for that space, and that's driven by what is reasonable for a retailer to sustain a business, and not using a tenant to finance the anticipated time of vacancy when that retailer fails, partially due to too hugh rent, and often because the business is a duplication of others in close proximity - pizza, nail salons, etc, Stony Hill has a lower vacancy rate. I don't believe Armando's has any empty space. If landlords want to fill their stores, they need to compromise with the current market conditions. Greenwood Avenue is not Greenwich Avenue. Finally, if RMS ends up with empty space, what skin is it off the naysayer's back? It's their risk.
Nick Hoffman June 14, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Bethel has two under utilized corporate parks with both Clarke and Berkshire ready and willing to expand their tenant rolls. Creating affordable living space for young professionals within the community where a corporation can relocate or establish themselves is highly appealing to those businesses creating an additional benefit of this project. This development will compliment Greenwood Ave not detract from it's uniqueness. It also allows for Bethel to recruit more national and corporate businesses on Rt. 6 while keeping the eclectic small business village feel of Greenwood ave intact. This is a win for Bethel. For those complaining about not knowing when particular commission meetings are, that's a "you" problem, all the meetings are posted and of public record. Take more time to get involved in your community and less time feigning outrage on the Patch. With the same effort you put into your post you could get all the info you want by going to www.bethelct.org.
Jimmy Pursey June 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM
More ugly real estate for fast food eaters. Bethel is dead.
--- June 14, 2012 at 04:25 PM
"With the same effort you put into your post you could get all the info you want by going to www.bethelct.org." An excellent resource, Mr. Hoffman! People do need to know what's going on and when. Hopefully folks will bookmark it and visit frequently!
Kim June 14, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Bethel is a small town not a city. We have plenty of housing already, it does not need any more! How many more kids do you think our schools can hold without taking the quality of education away from our kids. More free lunches, and free programs – where’s the savings in that! We need to start being more compatible to our surrounding neighbors, Brookfield, Newtown, Ridgefield. We need a community center with a pool. Something that all ages can enjoy. We don't need any more stores either. I agree with everyone above that mentioned our downtown area has vacant stores and all around Bethel, let's concentrate on filling them.
Rich June 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Well stated sir.
Kenny Parciasepe June 14, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The Big-Y Plaza and Armando's Plaza are full....just a FYI
Paul Improta June 14, 2012 at 05:53 PM
No fast food. No fast food chain is allowed in Bethel. Burger King is grandfathered, and if it goes out, there can't be another one. Subway you might argue is fast food, but it is allowed as a "bakery", like Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks.
johnqpublic June 14, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Kim, The neighboring communities you mention have a higher income. The Toll Brothers homes show there's a high demand for new high-end quality housing, a pool has been rejected 3 times (and the most recent effort to get one certainly backfired) So you want to concentrate on filling vacant space you don't own, and don't want a developer to do what's lawful and at their $ risk. This member of the public sincerely does not understand your argument. It come sto this, waive a wand and boost the median income +25000 spend 15 million on a "community center" with a pool (maintenance costs), don't develop route 6. Do you hear yourself? (with all due respect, of course)
SmallMinds June 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM
The town does not own the property. It is privately owned and it is very difficult to come up with any kind of reasons that people should not build houses and live on it. I am not a fan of development but if these guys are within the law and respecting zoning then it's not really up to us, is it? This does underscore the wisdom of other large parcels being added recently to the land trust, does it not? Perhaps the Terre Haute deal with Danbury makes more sense now? The construction of the new water tank at the reservoir? If new residents need new sewers, so be it. Let them build themselves some sewers. Some water mains, too. The residents of this development will in all likelihood be more affluent that the current average resident. That has implications too but still, how can one oppose lawful residential development of private land. The landowner can choose to pursue his own best interest if that's what he wants.
SmallMinds June 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
We do have a first selectman who is good at mending fences. We have done all we can to marginalize the Bobs by giving them an ever declining number of votes in each successive election. Even Boughton can't still hold that hostility against us, can he? I'd like to see Knickerbocker push that Terre Haute deal to a good conclusion for the benefit of Bethel, Danbury, the State of CT and for our kids. Do you have kids, Paul?
Paul Improta June 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I'm not sure it's just Boughton. I am all for selling the Danbury part of Terre Haute. It's not the only land Bethel owns that is part of Danbury. I favor selling the Terre Haute property for its fair market value at its current zone designation which is RA80. What is a 208 acre parcel of residential 2-acre zoned high property worth? I don't know what the State of CT has to do with a negotiation that would occur between to neighboring municipalities. We know the state is broke. I'm not sure what your question whether I have have kids or not implies? Yes, my children are now young adults. Why?
BOB CRNIC June 16, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Paul, I was OK with reading all your posts until I read this one about "His Beligerence" and "he and his stooges". You have a problem, Paul and your unhealthy obsession with Bob Burke myself and my daughter has been reported to the local authorities. The water tank project which was initiated by Bob Burke is DOA because the Knickerbocker administration screwed up the P&Z applications and the court case. Stop blaming the current administration's screw-ups on the previous one, it makes you look like a complete fool. And the incessant namecalling, is just going to incite a lot of negative responses on my part, cause I give back twice as good as I get. Stick to the issues and leave me and Bob Burke out of your compulsive obsessions. See a shrink while you're at it.
Paul Improta June 16, 2012 at 01:41 PM
No one is obsessed with you. Don't flatter yourself. The unhealthy obsession was on display the other evening on "Time Out" which is easily accessible via YouTube, where Burke is obsessing over his lost love, and he blames Nick Ellis and myself who made the judgment call that Burke's stalking victim should go to tthe police because Burke was appearing unstable - talking about his pistol permit, and him making threats to her and harassing anyone who had contact with her. So, he walks around with pictures from four years ago. Let's talk about the fact tha Danbury had a meeting scheduled and Bethel didn't even show up. Did Andrew Morosky stiff Danbury by not showing up? You think he would've ducked the meeting had Burke not told him to? Never met your daughter, Bob. I have no tolerance for a man who spits on evryone he comes into contact with, and slanders those who simply tried to get him to end his destructive and felonious behavior. Your defense of the man, his obsession, and his ongoing lies and smear campaign of private citizens is what most people would say you need professional help for.
Paul Improta June 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
SmallMinds - You don't like me? Arrogant, self-important? Opinionated? maybe yes. I've been trying, I really have been! I just have a really hard time with bullies.
Paul Improta June 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Now, can we please talk about the future betterment of Bethel? Let's not live in the past, let's get a positive attitude. Bethel needs to upgrade its image. I publicly apologize here for contributing to the negativity. I struggle with holding my tongue, when certain people either seek special privilege, or when others exploit rules to increase their own self-importance. There are good things happening in Bethel, and a small faction of our neighbors have a propensity to tearing every good thing down, or feel it their duty to tell the rest of us how they would do things better, and our leaders who ever they are at the time are wrong. I'll try to control the impulse that it is my duty to respond to fools. It's just frustrating - no one should be a bully's pinata to be verbally beaten in public, repetitively for no other reason than someone disagrees with your politics or because you have stepped up and tried to do the right thing to protect someone else from further harm.
Christine Rose (Editor) June 17, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Well said, Paul. Thank you for the comment below. I have started getting complaints from readers, and I ask you all please to remember that everyone has a right to their opinion and a right to express it. Please speak respectfully to each other on Patch. Thanks!! "It's just frustrating - no one should be a bully's pinata to be verbally beaten in public, repetitively for no other reason than someone disagrees with your politics or because you have stepped up and tried to do the right thing to protect someone else from further harm."
Christine Rose (Editor) June 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Hi Bob. The choice to allow anonymous bloggers is a corporate decision, and it is one that has come up for discussion many times. The jury is still out on that decision. Thanks to the readers who keep tabs on the comments and keep me up to date. The comments will be (and have been) deleted when they become slanderous. The discussions are valuable to everyone because you all bring up interesting points. How wonderful this would all be as a record of the discussion if nothing had to ever be taken down. Thank you Paul for stepping up to the plate and admitting you will work harder. Bob, there is nothing wrong with turning over a new leaf. :-) Nobody's perfect. It's all about trying harder. Take it from me. LOL
Paul Improta June 17, 2012 at 01:52 PM
By the way, the discussion here is about development on Stony Hill Road, not the old town hall building. It is about Burke in as much as Bob Crnic has made it about Burke and his tenure as First Selectman, his behavior then and his behavior now on cable television. As a person, I never liked Bob Burke. I don't need to again describe his behavior - the whole town has been witness to it.
Catherine June 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
"..Bethel needs to upgrade its image"... I whole heartedly agree !
Bill Hillman June 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Happy Father's day to all. Take a break from the blogs, enjoy the day, be positive, we live in a cool little town that safe and great for families, eat at a local restaurant for dinner, get some great local ice-cream or frozen yogurt or some great coffee. Buy a book! But most of all, have a wonderful day.
Wayne Addessi June 19, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I don't understand? From the article I read: He added, that portion of the development “will connect through to a mix used development area that will have approximately four different buildings with about 4500 square foot of retail, with residential units, [above and nearby the retail spaces].” Salvatore said that the development would feature picturesque New England style architecture. Excuse me but with just 4500 sqft of Retail does not create a new commercial base. Maybe I missed something but perhaps there needs to be a fact finding meeting held such as an open house with town officials and the developer so folks can see for themselves. 4500 sqft feet compared to 200 new condominiums is not at all a commercial base for Bethel. I hope I missed something here. Please advise.
Wayne Addessi June 19, 2012 at 01:55 PM
the map needs to be a high resolution so one can see it. Also the site appears very high density residential. There is almost no space between homes. This should be considered to offer more space between buildings for some sense of privacy as one buildoing backs up against another. Also one pool for all those people? Tennis anyone or walking trails, sidewalks bike lanes nearby?

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