The proposed apartment complex at the Beacon Point Marine site along the Housatonic River has been downsized to 98 units in three buildings.
The plan also includes 100 marina slips, a public restaurant, a boathouse with training and fitness facilities, boat storage, and a public walkway that would encircle the perimeter of the 8.6-acre property.
What it doesn’t currently have, however, is a needed sewer connection.
Developer Richard Kral said he has filed an application with the Stratford Water Pollution Control Authority to connect to that town’s sewer system, which serves some nearby properties in southeastern Shelton.
“We are in the process,” said Kral, noting his application is being reviewed by a Stratford WPCA consultant who’s also conducting a townwide sewer capacity study that could impact such requests.
Developer attorney Dominick Thomas said the situation has “a chicken and egg aspect,” since the Stratford WPCA won’t approve a connection until the project receives Shelton zoning approval. At the same time, the Shelton P&Z could conceivably reject the project because of the lack of a sewer connection.
The Shelton sewer system ends about a mile north of the Beacon Point site, and the developer previously offered to help pay to extend the city’s sewer line to the property. This “would have saved the city of Shelton a couple million dollars,” Thomas said. But the city “hierarchy,” he said, “apparently made the decision it doesn’t want to sewer south Shelton.”
The applicant earlier suggested building an on-site private waste treatment facility, which was panned by state and local officials.
City Engineer Robert Kulacz recommended against approving the new Beacon Point zoning application because of uncertainty about securing a sewer connection. Other staff questioned the ability of fire trucks to maneuver and turn around on the property.
The Great River Water Club would have six buildings — three apartment structures, a restaurant, a clubhouse and a small maintenance building. There would be 385 parking spaces — including 72 under the apartments — and three driveways. No new traffic light would be added.
The property is at 704-722 River Road (Route 110), across from Murphy’s Lane and the Crescent Village housing development. The applicant is Ricar LLC and Mianus Holdings LLC.
In 2007, the P&Z approved a condominium, restaurant, marina, and pool club on the property, but it was never built. That project received permission to connect to the Stratford sewer system. In 2016, a plan with 164 apartments — later downsized slightly — was rejected by the P&Z.
The newest plan doesn’t include a swimming club but would have a membership-based boating and rowing club. The applicant has tried to increase public access, with more than half the parking open to the public for the restaurant and perimeter walkway. The public could pay a fee to put rowing vessels in the water.
The club would offer programs for rowers, boat rentals, and slips for lease. Sacred Heart University would use the site for its rowing team operations.
Most of the apartments would be one- and two-bedroom, with six three-bedroom units. Two swimming pools would be open to apartment tenants only.
All structures would have a New England-type design, with stone, shingles, gables, dormers, and glass atriums.
The restaurant would include a 90-seat dining area, 100-seat events room, bar, and outdoor deck overlooking the river.
Developer engineer David Ginter said a storm water management system would handle drainage, noting that runoff from the site now goes untreated into the river.
Kral said a neighborhood meeting recently was held so residents could review the revised plans. Neighbors don’t want water views blocked, he said, and the lack of tall buildings on the property’s south side means their views would be minimally impacted.
The apartment buildings would be on the north side and six stories high, including the lower parking level. The other buildings would be much shorter.
Developer architect Joseph Mingolello said the apartment buildings would appear tall when seen from the river but less so from River Road because of the sharp drop to the water. Apartment roof peaks would be about 35 feet above road level due to topography, he said. “You’re down in a hole,” Mingolello explained.
Developer representatives said the project should actually increase water views because of grading work done near the road.
Nearby resident Debra Kirouac worries about the impact on river views and traffic. She’s particularly concerned about how vehicles from the site might affect school buses making stops and children waiting for the bus.
P&Z member Mark Widomski asked if river flooding could cause water to back up onto the property, and was told that happens now and likely would continue.
The public hearing was continued to a meeting in late April.