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Friday, April 27 Local

Affordable housing developer sells property at Leroy-West

Christopher and Margaret Stefanoni, who have proposed affordable housing at multiple locations in Darien, have sold their property at 77 Leroy Ave. for $2.3 million, according to records from the town clerk's office.

The new owner, Leroy and West LLC, will be able to move forward with a senior affordable housing building project on the property, according to Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg. The only reason the new owner would need to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission is if the corporation was making a major change to the project.

"I am pleased to say to all those seniors who have been asking when Leroy-West will be built that the answer is soon," Chris Stefanoni said in an emailed statement. "The location is perfect, there is a lot of demand for senior housing and the new owners are excellent builders."

The property was sold in early August.

In 2012, a state Supreme Court judge upheld the Stefanonis' appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission's 2008 denial of their application to construct 16 age-restricted units.

Judge Henry S. Cohn said he based his decision on the fact that the commission did not meet its burden under state statute 8-30g, which allows developers to bypass local zoning laws in towns that have less than 10 percent of homes classified as affordable housing.

Darien received a moratorium from compliance with the state statute in 2010. The town has until October to achieve 10 percent of affordable housing or 8-30g will apply once again.

The 0.21-acre Leroy Avenue property and the .255-acre West Avenue property were purchased in August 2007 for $900,000.

The appraised value of the properties as of Oct. 1, 2013, is $885,100, according to the town clerk's office. The assessed value of the properties is $619,570.

"I think it is funny that some of the people opposed to the development over the years would then say in the same breath that if it ever got built, would I save a unit for their parents or in-laws," Stefanoni said in his email. "I am also kind of tired of people dwelling on what I sell things for."

Stefanoni said the sale of his property is not a "negative story, but a very positive one."

"Not just for me, but for the seniors, the builders and the whole town of Darien," Stefanoni said. "Pretty soon there will be a set of 16 senior households who will be living in and enjoying the beautiful downtown Darien. In the 16 years that I have lived here, the improvements to the downtown have been remarkable, and there are simply too many people to credit for that. Too bad I'm not 62, because I would live at Leroy-West in a second."

The Stefanonis have also proposed to construct affordable housing on Pheasant Run in Tokeneke and on Hoyt Street; both applications are in litigation.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews