Choate is revising a plan for a new admissions building in Wallingford | Tech US News

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WALLINGFORD — Choate Rosemary Hall is back with new plans for a drop-in center that school officials say address concerns raised by the Zoning Board of Appeals when it denied a variance in September.

The city received the application earlier this week for the property at the intersection of Christian and North Elm Streets, said Environmental and Natural Resources Planner Erin O’Hare. She will evaluate the application next month before school officials present the plans to the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission at a Dec. 7 meeting.

“I have a month to review this application,” O’Hare said. “I go there, I visit the location, sometimes I take the applicant with me to explain things to them,” she said. But since the ministry has only received the application now, she cannot comment on it.

The school needed a Zoning Board of Appeals variance to the city’s setback requirements for its latest proposal, but the board decided there were enough alternatives the school could use without needing a variance.

School attorney Dennis Ceneviva told the board at a September meeting that construction of the new admissions building “has become a critical element in Choate’s long-term planning and success,” and the property is ideal for the building because of its capacity. for the installation of an underground parking lot.

“This location allows us to build this building with underground parking,” he told the commission. “It allows us to keep a very large piece of land green, without asphalt, retaining walls, anything where you would normally see a large parking lot.”

But that didn’t sway the board, which told school officials there was no need to allow the building so close to the street because other options were available.

“We’ve made some changes to the plan. This is the third iteration of the building,” Choate spokeswoman Alison Cady said. “We had our original plan, we made some changes before we took it to the zoning board of appeals. After we didn’t get variances for that plan, we made some additional changes and now it’s ready to be reviewed by Inland Wetlands.”

The commission’s main point of contention was the location of the building and its proximity to the street.

“Obviously we moved it further back from the road and we had to redo the underground parking, but we plan to move forward with a very similar structure,” Cady said. “There may be some minor adjustments based on this renovation that we’ve had to do, but from what I understand, the same program will be presented on the building.”

Cady said residents who have questions about the project or anything related to the school can contact her at any time.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that I’m happy to take calls with questions or if people need information,” she said. She can be reached at 203-697-2526.

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