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Preston - After months of discussing how to allow housing developments in the Thames River Design District, which encompasses the former Norwich Hospital property, the Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight on its proposed regulation.
Current zoning regulations do not allow housing on the former hospital property, now called Preston Riverwalk. Preston Redevelopment Agency officials and the agency's real estate and marketing firm recommended changing that to allow some housing on the property.
The commission, however, insisted on restrictions to ensure there is more desirable commercial development. The latest proposal would allow housing on no more than 30 percent of the entire Preston Riverwalk property, creating a "bank" of housing availability as the property becomes developed.
The commission will hold the hearing as part of its 7:30 p.m. regular meeting at Town Hall.
Town Planner Kathy Warzecha said developers would have to seek approval for housing, drawing from the 30 percent total in the bank. Commercial development that has no housing would not affect the total available housing allotment. Projects calling for only housing also could be proposed as long as the housing does not exceed 30 percent of the total campus property.
"It's what we have available in our bank," Warzecha said. "So if we have a lot of housing available, and someone wants to use all of it in one parcel, that could be allowed, as long as doesn't exceed 30 percent of the overall."
Previous efforts to change the regulations met with opposition from the PRA and Jones, Lang LaSalle, the agency's real estate broker. The most recent plan would have limited housing to no more than 30 percent per development parcel, prohibiting housing-only projects.