P&Z: Hammerhead headache for new proposal

P&Z members have questioned whether the proposed hammerhead turnaround at the end of the Crossroads development road, shown in light gray with truck outlines inside it, would be adequate.

Whether large fire trucks would be able to turn around at the end of a private road in a proposed age-restricted residential community was the focus of questions by Planning & Zoning Commission members.

At the Jan. 23 meeting, members also raised concerns about the number of parking spaces provided in the plan for 30 living units at 96 Long Hill Cross Road. The Crossroads development would have 15 duplex buildings and 65 parking spaces off a private dead-end road.

Many questions focused on having a hammerhead turnaround at the end of the road instead of a circular cul-de-sac. A hammerhead is shaped somewhat like a V, allowing vehicles to back up before driving in the other direction.

P&Z member Mark Widomski listens to remarks at the commission’s Jan. 23 meeting. — Brad Durrell photo

City Engineer Robert Kulacz wrote, “the proposed limited hammerhead is insufficient for emergency, moving and delivery vehicles to turn around,” and the plan should be revised with “either a cul-de-sac or full hammerhead acceptable to emergency vehicles.”

The fire marshal’s office had indicated it approves of the project as long as large fire apparatus can turn around. Member Mark Widomski said he specifically wants to get input from the fire chief. “I’m asking for more information from [the fire chief],” Widomski said.

Dominick Thomas, attorney for the developer, said revisions already have been made in the number of units and turnaround design based on prior fire personnel input.

James Swift, the developer’s engineer, said the hammerhead has been increased by a few feet at both ends and can accommodate a “standard pumper.”

Widomski said Shelton has a longer ladder truck that is sent in the initial response to almost all fires.

When Thomas said the ladder truck wouldn’t be necessary for the structures at The Crossroads, Widomski responded, “You’re not the fire chief.”

Swift said the fire truck could access the development and be parked in a central rotary, before the turnaround, or taken to the end and turned around after the fire.

Kulacz, in his comments, also recommended more parking be added near living units and more details provided on the road’s steepness due to it being in a senior community.

The proposal has 65 spaces, including one garage space per living unit and visitor spots, which is more than required. But a second car won’t fit in the driveway of most units because the driveways are too short.

Members questioned if enough overall spaces are being provided and if extra spots are too far from living units. They said many units would have two cars and residents and visitors might begin parking in the 24-foot-wide road, potentially blocking emergency vehicles.

The revised plan for the proposed Crossroads age-restricted community that would have 30 units at 96 Long Hill Cross Road.

Thomas said people will understand the parking limitations when buying units, and residents of over-55 communities don’t throw a lot of parties and therefore parking requirements are misunderstood.

Swift said driveway spaces could be added in front of a few more units by moving buildings back, and more visitor spots put in elsewhere, potentially increasing the total by 11 parking spaces.

Member Tony Pogoda said he’d like to see the additional spaces on a plan because the proposal now has “insufficient parking.”

Widomski said the proposal was too dense. “You’re trying to squeeze too much in,” he said.

The Crossroads would be built on an L-shaped 5.5-acre property next to Route 8 and behind the Crown Point shopping center. The entrance would be off Long Hill Cross Road. It would be run by a homeowners association, have a small community building, and be limited to mostly people age 55 and older.

The developer, S&G of Shelton LLC, wants to change the zoning from industrial use to a Planned Development District.

The P&Z hearing was kept open so the fire chief could provide the requested information.