FAIRFIELD, Conn. – St. Vincent’s Medical Center has plans to expand by opening affiliated doctor’s offices in Fairfield’s northeast corner. Residents in the area, however, have petitioned the Town Plan and Zoning Commission to stop the development into what is now a residential zone.
St. Vincent’s hopes to build a two-story medical building on Park Avenue just south of the Merritt Parkway. The 25,000-square-foot building would house private medical offices, mostly cardiac specialists. The facility would be open during normal business hours and would not include walk-in clinics or emergency facilities.
“This is not a hospital,” said Michael Canniff, a St. Vincent’s representative. “Our intentions are to develop a highly efficient, highly functional cardiovascular medical service center in this building.”
St. Vincent’s proposed building would replace a single-family home on a 2.2-acre lot at 5545 Park Avenue. The lot is currently surrounded by Sacred Heart University, Notre Dame High School and two nursing homes, with another medical building and a church across the street in Trumbull.
“There is no single-family residences that abut this property,” said attorney John Fallon, representing St. Vincent’s.
The town’s zoning boards previously denied a similar application on the same lot in 2010, which would have kept the lot in a residential zone. St. Vincent’s application hopes to change the lot into a Designed Commercial District. Neighbors, however, want to keep the lot as residential space.
“I’d estimate that there’s over a thousand potential locations that this building can be put on without having to change any zoning whatsoever,” said Weeping Willow Lane resident Tom Gallagher.
Neighbors expressed concerns about the added traffic the development would bring. About 1,000 cars per hour pass through the area during its busiest times. The plan would make changes to a roundabout in front of the lot to improve traffic flow, but would also add about 100 trips to the area at rush hour times, according to traffic consultant Michael Galante.
Joel Green, an attorney representing the Stratfield Improvement Association, said that changing the zoning requirements for a single parcel of land would create a precedent that could lead to other “spot zones” across Fairfield.
“It is not something we have done in this town in the past,” Green said.
The Town Plan and Zoning Commission members will vote on the proposal at a future meeting. They are scheduled to meet next on Aug. 14.