The Planning and Zoning Commission conducted the last public hearing Tuesday for the Avon Village Center master plan and voted to approve it at its meeting in .
"This is the first time the town of Avon approved a master plan like this," Avon Town Planner Steven Kushner said.
Ensign-Bickford Realty Corporation's application included the master plan and a request to officially make 93 acres of Avon Park North land part of the new Avon Village Center Zone.
The conceptual center plan includes about 400 residential units, as well as restaurants, retail, offices and a park. The development will be divided into nine development districts.
"The emphasis is on commercial retail," Kushner said.
Yet it was the residential portion that people commented on during the public hearing.
David Fink, director of Partnership for Strong Communities in Hartford, suggested that Ensign-Bickford provide some more affordable "workforce housing." The commission recommended this to Ensign-Bickford, as well, as the target demographic is empty nesters and young professionals, Kushner said.
Duane Starr, chairman of the commission, asked Ensign-Bickford to look at marketing to developers that would build some smaller units.
"If the whole idea is to attract these demographics, they're not looking for larger units," Kushner said.
The conceptual plans include 27 acres of residential development. Incorporating commission feedback, the revised plan will include smaller single family homes, smaller apartment and condominium complexes and larger apartment buildings, Kushner said. In addition, there will be some apartments on second stories of businesses, he said.
Ensign-Bickford and developers will fund the project. No taxpayer money will be used, Kushner said.
"The town is not paying any contribution at all to the completion of the infrastructure," Kushner said.
Town staff is adjusting 15 proposed written conditions for the development, as approved by the commission on Tuesday.
"Much of the infrastructure that exists in Avon Park North that was created in the 1970s is a result of a public/private partnership between the Town of Avon and Ensign-Bickford Realty," one of the proposed conditions states. "The construction of the new 'main street' will result in a private roadway subject to a public easement built in association with three individual design districts. In an effort to aid these mostly commercial enterprises, the developers of these three design districts are encouraged to work with the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department to promote activities which would be of benefit to Town residents, as well as business owners."
Ensign-Bickford is going to gift 14 acres for the park section of the village center plan to the town, according to the proposed conditions.
The proposed conditions also ask Ensign-Bickford to consider including a shelter for up to 50 people, an outdoor ampitheater and playground equipment.
Ensign-Bickford has not yet identified developers for the project.
Once developers are chosen, they will need to approach the commission individually with official site plan applications before they can start building.