FAIRFIELD, Conn. – St. Vincent’s Medical Center will not add a new outpost in Fairfield after all.
The town Plan and Zoning Commission denied the hospital’s proposal Tuesday night for an office building in residential space on Park Avenue. The vote was unanimous.
“It’s not a historically developed site,” said commission chair Bryan LeClerc. “This isn’t Black Rock Turnpike, Boston Post Road, Kings Highway or an area like that.”
St. Vincent’s proposal called for a two-story, 25,000-square-foot medical office building at 5545 Park Ave., just south of the Merritt Parkway. The building was designed for private practices affiliated with the hospital, with a focus on cardiology. The outpost would have been open during normal office hours and would not have been a walk-in emergency clinic.
Area residents asked the Plan and Zoning Commission to deny the project at a public hearing on July 31. Some were concerned about the added traffic it would bring to an area that already contains Sacred Heart University, Notre Dame High School and two nursing homes. There is also an existing office park across the street outside Fairfield’s boundaries.
Others neighbors did not like the fact that the proposal would change the 2.2-acre parcel from a residential zone with a single-family house to a Designed Commercial District with an office building. Many commissioners cited that as their reason for denying the project.
Some commission members said they didn’t want to “spot zone” the area by changing the zoning regulations for a single lot. Others said they would be fine with a medical building there now, but, because they would be changing the zoning, they would lose the ability to prevent other commercial uses there in the future.
“Who knows, once this spot zone for commercial has been put in place abutting a residential community, what that will become,” said Commissioner James Kennelly. “We can’t guarantee what’s going to be there.”