Forest St Mixed Use Building Project Update

A public hearing for the retail and residential project planned for 21 Forest Street was closed at the Planning and Zoning meeting Tuesday night.


Attorney Bruce Hill, representing Christopher Gatto of Gatto Development, town Attorney Chris Jarboe and Jeff Wyzynski of Tecton Architects, briefed the Tuesday night with the latest developments in the mixed use development planned for Forest Street. 

Wyzynski addressed the issues of lighting in the parking deck, stating that the space would be designed to be warm and inviting with eight skylights, six simulated cove lighting, and 25’ to 30’ LED candles. Lighting along the ceiling and perimeter of covered parking will also be recessed to hide the source of lighting.

Wyzynski also noted that security cameras will be installed in the covered parking area.

At the July Planning and Zoning meeting, the project application included a request for an amendment, which would give the commission authority to to be flexible with building height and squared footage.

“When we first came to you to ask you to address some text amendments to allow for flexibility among building criteria,” said Hill, “those regulations were specific for special permit requirements - that specific language allows us to increase building height only if you make affirmative finding that proposed development will make consistent community development, improves the streetscape and pedestrian experience. I think we have achieved all of them.”

Bill Griffin, owner of 32 Forest, 26 Forest Street and whose father is the owner of 0 Forest Street and 15 Forest Street, was also present and voiced his support of the development.

“I am fully supportive,” said Griffin, “I think we’re on the verge of accomplishing something Christ-Janer dreamed about back in 1988 - having Forest Street as completed street. I want to give you a lot of credit for making this happen. I think this is for the good of New Canaan and Forest Street. I think this is a great project.”

Another aspect of the application details a potential pedestrian walkway from Forest Street to Cherry Street.

The project is still in the application stage and has not received a vote yet.

See the attached PDF for site plans and artistic rendering.

Mimi Findlay August 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM
The little 2-story painted brick building with flat roof and overhanging roof at 21 Forest Street was built between 1867 and 1878, according to the 1987 HIstoric and Architectural Survey of selected buildings downtown: "This three bay flat roofed Italianate building still retains its stucco cornices and rusticated stucco surfaced facade. At the ground floor simple double hung windows flank a simple entry. Above this is an elaborate horizontal cornice, and in the second floor are three 6/6 windows beneath a much larger overhanging deteriorating stucco cornice." While not preserving this historic building, the new design appears to pay homage with a deep overhanging cornice, while its new windows with arched lintels reflect these on the Silliman building up the street. What an irony that Victor Christ-Janer's vision of a completed Forest Street comes at the exact moment that his own innovative house, one of our Moderns, of 50 plus years is about to be demolished for yet another two McMansions.


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