A proposed development at The Stony Hill Inn property on Route 6 would replace most of the existing structures on the property with close to 200 housing units and about 45,000 square feet of commercial space.
The developer, Randy Salvatore, the founder and president of RMS Companies, said the development would include the site currently occupied by the Stony Hill Inn and the Stony Hill Golf driving range. However, the picturesque pond on the property will remain untouched.
“The pond is definitely going to stay, that's going to be the centerpiece of the development,” he said. He added the existing gazebo on the property would be replaced and his company will “build a new one that is a lot bigger.”
. Many of the nearly 200 residencies in the proposed development would be geared to young professionals or retirees without kids. Salvatore plans to buy the property from the Rubino family if the development is approved. A final plan for the development proposal will be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission within the next 45 days and the approval process for the project will start.
One of the goal's of the proposed development will be to create a second town center and community gathering point. Proponents of the project believe it will help generate tax revenue and boost economic development along Route 6.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker was unequivocal in his support of the project.
“I think that that development would be a very good thing for the area and for the town of Bethel,” he said. “I've seen the architects renderings of it, I think it would beautify that stretch of roadway and would be a very positive thing. I'm a hundred percent in favor of it.”
Bethel's Town Planner, Steven Palmer, also made it clear he thinks the development would be good for the town.
“While a formal application and final plans have not been submitted, the conceptual site plan is an outstanding example of mixed use development, blending residential and commercial uses,” he said. The plan is consistent with the goals to provide more housing choice to Bethel with the addition of quality rental housing, and housing for young professionals and those empty nesters.”
He added, that “the density [of housing] proposed will not only support the proposed new commercial development on the site but will also benefit other existing businesses and may spur new commercial development on the Route 6 Corridor.”
Palmer said the Planning Commission is behind the project and believes it will encourage economic growth in Bethel.
“Its the Commissions belief that the anticipated success of this development will encourage further economic development of the Route 6 Corridor,” he said. “There is already anticipation among other owners and we are beginning conversations with them about what is possible on several properties.”
Although some Bethel residents worry that the development could cause traffic issues on Route 6 and the density of the housing would adversely effect Bethel's small town feel, Salvatore said the vast majority of the feedback he has gotten about the project has been positive.
“I think it's going to be exciting to bring positive activity to that area both in terms of neighborhood retail and in terms of housing. I think it's going to be exciting for the town in addition to the financial benefits it will bring the town,” he said. “I think it's really a win, win type of proposal and I think that so far the people that we've talked to in the town, including the Planning and Zoning people, and the administration, are really excited about it.”