Residents concerned with  proposed ‘cluster development’

You may have recently read an article in the Shelton Herald, dated April 5, 2018, outlining a large housing subdivision, creating a cluster development, proposed by John Paul Development LLC, for the area of Booth Hill Road and Waverly Road.

The Shelton Conservation Commission had expressed interest in purchasing the property, previously zoned for farmland, with the intention of preserving the roughly 23 acres as public open space, but was preempted by the development company in a private cash sale with the owner.

The property, rich with wildlife, borders migration paths, wetlands and Aquarion watershed land and reservoirs that services public water supply.

In an effort to increase profitability, John Paul Development, LLC used a lesser known zoning regulation that does not meet current conservation or wetland requirements to formulate a design plan that would change zoning in our area from R1 (1 acre lots) to DRD (.5 acre lots) with the express purpose of increasing the number of units for sale to 23 houses. As an attempt at mitigation, recognizing potential environmental impacts and town commission opposition, the company agreed to leave 6.13 acres of open space. Plans were submitted to the town and approved before they were submitted to The Conservation Committee, Inland Wetlands Commission or Aquarion Water Company. Several problems have been determined, including encroachment on wetlands, wildlife, and the proposals to accommodate septic and drainage, potentially impacting public drinking water supplies.

There will be increased traffic near Booth Hill School as well as negative impact on current roadways like Booth Hill Road and Waverly Road that are narrow and already struggling to be adequately maintained.

The available plans show the crowded cluster development of houses, and the awkwardly designed open space, with a narrow, almost inaccessible entry and impractical boundaries that effectively render the proposed open space moot. Our Huntington neighborhood does not need crowded housing, on smaller plots that change our environment to the detriment of all, with apparently little or no regard to the future quality of life in our town.

Should this new DRD zoning change be allowed, it could potentially severely impact our area for future sales of open space and farmlands. It will change the quiet, open natural beauty of our neighborhood into a more congested, less appealing place to live. The wonderful qualities that set our Huntington neighborhood apart from other areas of Shelton will be lost forever. Maintaining at a minimum the R1 zoning or, optimally, creating public open space is crucial now and for the future.

It is imperative that Shelton citizens attend the public hearing on the zoning proposal, set for May 23, 7 p.m., at Town Hall to make your opposition known. We need to speak up and let our wishes be heard.

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