A plan by the custom home developer for a wetlands permit and to develop the land as a subdivision was denied by West Hartford’s Town Planning and Zoning Commission in February 2014, but the developer appealed, a settlement was reached in the fall, and construction has now commenced.
By Ronni Newton
A 5.53 acre piece of land at the western edge of the American School for the Deaf campus that was the subject of months of debate was finally sold in November 2014, and Farmington-based Sard Custom Homes LLC has now commenced construction of the East Maxwell Drive extension and will soon begin building homes on 10 lots.
Jeff Sard, of Sard Custom Homes, said Wednesday that the roadway for the new subdivision, which will end in a cul-de-sac, will be completed this spring.
The subdivision will include 10 building lots ranging in size from .27 to .45 of an acre, Sard said, and will accommodate homes ranging in size from 2,700 to 4,000 square feet. There will be a model home onsite, Sard said, but the company will also custom build. Homes will be priced at $500,000 and up.
“We currently have two lots under deposit with lots of interest from in-town move-up buyers looking for new construction,” Sard said.
It took nearly 18 months from the time the American School for the Deaf signed a purchase and sales agreement to sell the land at the western edge of its campus to Sard for the sale to go through. The process included many hours of hearings, a denial by the West Hartford Town Planning and Zoning Commission, and an appeal.
On Nov. 3, 2014, ASD sold the 5.53 acres of land to Sard Custom Homes, LLC for the sum of $1,000,000, according to a deed filed with the West Hartford Town Clerk’s office.
“The sale of the land was part of the comprehensive plan to build the new Gallaudet building and right-size our campus,” Marilyn Rettig, director of Institutional Advancement, said after the transaction had been completed.
The sale was the conclusion of a process that began in early 2013, and was finally concluded following a court settlement reached between Sard, ASD, the town, and resident Rosalind Katz and approved by the West Hartford Town Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 3, 2014, after many hours of deliberation.
Sard originally planned to purchase nine acres of ASD’s land, and construct as many as 15 custom homes in an area on the western portion of the ASD campus that includes wetlands bordering Trout Brook. Neighbors and others in the community protested, and Sard revised its plans even before they were formally submitted, reducing the number of proposed homes to 12 and making numerous other changes, Director of Community Services Mark McGovern said.
On Feb. 3, 2014, the West Hartford Town Planning and Zoning Commission, which also acts as the town’s inland wetlands and watercourse agency denied both the wetlands permit and the permit to build a subdivision of 12 homes, but Sard appealed.
The court-approved settlement, which paved the way for the deal to go through, will allow for 10 homes to be built on the land. “The number of lots was reduced as part of the settlement agreement with two lots of the original 12 lots, that abut the brook, becoming dedicated open space,” Sard said. He said that the rest of the plan remained the same as what was originally submitted to the town.
“Our company has been building and developing both residential and commercial properties in West Hartford and surrounding towns for over 50 years. We are happy to be able to move ahead with this project and we look forward to building another successful neighborhood of new luxury homes in town,” Sard said.
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