The owner of a Danbury office building wants to convert the five-story structure into 48 apartments and build a 160-unit apartment building in the parking lot behind it, with a three-level parking garage. The frame home on the left would be demolished to improve site circulation. Photographed on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, in Danbury, Conn.

DANBURY — The conversion of a downtown office building property into 200 apartments would not exacerbate the flooding along Main Street during rainstorms, the developer’s consultant assured a concerned city leader.
“Just take the situation down in front of the old jail — we have had flooding there for decades with a clogged pipe. But once the pipe cleared out, it doesn’t flood like it did every rain event,” said Duane Perkins, a member of the City Council, during a public hearing about the apartment building project. 
“Once this building is constructed and built out, how can we assure long term that we’re going to get someone in there to clean this (water drainage system) on a regular basis?” he asked. 
Project engineer Ben Doto assured Perkins that keeping the underground drainage system in peak condition would be the developer’s responsibility, and said the city could require the developer to file a maintenance plan as a condition of approval.
“All the drainage on this portion of Main Street drains south,” Doto said during a public hearing before the city’s wetlands commission last month. “We are going maintain those drainage patterns.”
Doto was referring to plans announced earlier this year by a downtown developer to convert the five-story office building at 30 Main St. into 48 apartments and to build a 160-unit apartment building in the parking lot, atop a three-level parking garage.
Known as The Legacy on Main, the project represents the latest large-scale downtown residential investment proposal in the central business district, which has lagged behind the city’s booming west side and busy commercial strips on the east end.
Elsewhere on Main Street, a developer is putting the finishing touches on a 149-unit apartment complex at the site of the former News-Times headquarters, across from the 375-unit Kennedy Flats development. 
Two other residential proposals call for 100 units of workforce housing as part of a larger redevelopment of the old Fairfield County Courthouse, and 79 affordable apartments atop a two-level garage behind the headquarters of the nonprofit Connecticut Institute for Communities.
At the same time, the city is cracking down on its perennial flooding problems. Earlier this week, the city hosted a workshop about finding solutions to Main Street flooding, for example. And last month, the city announced that the Army Corps of Engineers had agreed to a $1 million study of flooding in the upper reaches of the Still River corridor, from Rose Street to Lake Kenosia.
Developers of the apartment building project went before the city’s Environmental Impact Commission on Feb. 22 because the property in question is just south of a wetlands. The federal Environmental Protection Agency likens wetlands to natural sponges that trap storm water and “slow the speed of flood waters” by distributing excess water evenly across the floodplain.
“Our site sits below those wetlands, so … we are not going to impact those wetlands in any way,” Doto told the commission. “It’s not possible. We are not going to impact them in a good way, or in a bad way — there’s just really no change because they drain toward us.”
Engineering plans call for a rebuilt underground drainage system, however.

“There is an existing early 1980s retention system in the back — it’s a concrete tank basically like a swimming pool with a cover on it,” Doto said. “We’re going to be putting in an underground piping system, and we are going to be increasing the size.”
“The drainage that runs through the site is going to continue to run through the site,” Doto added. “We are just going to be reducing our peak flows.”
The wetlands commission closed the public hearing, setting up a vote as early as next week. A public hearing before the city’s Planning Commission is scheduled for April 19, where questions about traffic and other neighborhood impacts by the proposed project will be discussed.
Reach Rob Ryser at or 203-731-3342
Rob Ryser is a reporter with the News-Times. Rob is a career journalist with a rare flair for storytelling. He specializes in City Hall coverage and general assignment features.