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Norwalk to Consider 209 Unit Mixed-Use Project at Former Swap Meet Property

Artist’s rendition of the Alondra Maidstone Mixed Use project at 11600 Alondra Blvd.

By Brian Hews • January 10, 2023

The Norwalk Planning Commission will consider, at its January 11 meeting, a large mixed-use project involving apartments with a commercial component to be located at the former Norwalk Swap Meet property at the corner of Alondra and Maidstone.

The proposed project, developed by Shapell Properties, will have buildings fronting Alondra Boulevard for commercial uses and multi-family residential uses adjacent to single-family residences to the south.

The project will enhance the area with new landscaping and modern-designed buildings, including building heights that will not exceed two stories and tall trees and landscaping adjacent to the single-family residential properties with amenities including a pool with spa and clubhouse.

Along the frontages, additional enhancements will include 10- and 20-foot setbacks with extensive pedestrian walkways and landscaping.

The development will have eleven detached three-story buildings containing 209 multi-family units, including six commercial units facing Alondra Boulevard. The commercial units will be approximately 334 to 860 square feet for small retail, professional service uses or home-based businesses.

The commercial units will include metal canopies with aluminum storefront systems and signage. The family units will have a “farmhouse architectural style,” finished in sand stucco, horizontal wood-look paneling and concrete tile roofing.

Under City Code, parking required for mixed-use can be calculated by combingin the required parking for multiple-family dwellings with the required parking for commercial uses; or the parking can be determined by a parking analysis for the specific project.

Adding the family dwellings to commercial uses yielded 510 spaces, 497 for residential and 13 for commercial, with an overall ratio of 2.4 spaces per unit. The parking ratio is two spaces per unit for one- and two-bedroom units, and one additional space per additional bedroom. Guest parking is one space for every three units. Per commercial standards, one space for every 250 sq. ft. of commercial floor area is required.

Shapell submitted a parking study by Kimley-Horn that compared calculated parking ratios based on Urban Land Institute (ULI) standards Based on the parking study, a parking ratio of 1.8 spaces per unit is required, which includes commercial parking, for a total of 381 parking spaces.

ULI actually recommends a parking ratio of 1.4 spaces per unit, including commercial parking, for a total of 314 parking spaces.

City Staff compared projects and recommended 410 parking spaces, including commercial and guest parking, with a ratio of 1.96 spaces per dwelling unit.

During outreach meetings conducted by Shapell, residents raised concerns about insufficient parking on the project, parking on nearby streets, and the proximity of the proposed buildings to the existing single-family homes.

Shapell updated its project by increasing the number of trees and landscaping to buffer existing residences from proposed buildings.

At the second community meeting, residents voiced concerns that the project’s residents and guests would park on nearby neighborhood streets. Norwalk Public Safety provided the residents with detailed information on the existing neighborhood’s permit parking process, which makes street parking limited.

“Overall, the community has divided feelings on the project, as some residents expressed appreciation of the project’s design and benefits, and others were adamant of negative conditions being exacerbated by the project, ” City Staff wrote tint he report.

City Staff is recommending the Planning Commission approve the project.