Commentary: Hawks Ridge will benefit Shelton

As you stated in the article on this project in this week’s print edition, there are currently 89 independent-living apartments already approved for the Hawks Ridge site. What we are asking the commission to approve is 89 market rate apartments. The footprint and square footage of the units remain the same as in the previous approval. This approval is a minor modification which would clarify that these apartments could be rented to persons of any age, not just those 55 and older.

Over the past several years, the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission has been criticized for approving PDDs (Planned Development Districts) — however, many of them and certainly Hawks Ridge (PDD#77, approved May 28, 2014) have had countless benefits to the city of Shelton.

Hawks Ridge, which is comprised of Hawks Ridge, Brightview Senior Living and The Ridge at Sawmill, will generate $1.78 million annually in taxes when completed. At the time of approval, the entire 41 acres generated approximately $15,600 annually. The city of Shelton will have received more than $1 million in permit fees and conveyance taxes once the entire project is completed. This project in its entirety will generate more than $115 million worth of revenue to the local economy.

What we are doing matters. To date, Shelton-based contractors and suppliers have been paid more than $4 million. Valley contractors more than $8.5 million. Along with the new residents at Hawks Ridge and employees at Brightview Senior Living, these people are volunteering in our community, shopping in our stores and patronizing our restaurants.

With regard to the traffic, people who live in independent apartments typically own a vehicle and drive it regularly. Tenants in market rate apartment also own automobiles, there will be very little difference in traffic. The question raised by the two board members had more to do with the time-frame of the study versus the traffic itself.

Hawks Ridge LLC and Brightview Senior Living will spend a combined $460,000 on road improvements on Beard Sawmill Road. These improvements more than outweigh the minor traffic increase. Hawks Ridge LLC also spent $649,000 to improve Long Hill Cross Road.

There are nearly 40,000 residents in the city of Shelton and not one came out in opposition to this modification.

AJ Grasso, a Shelton native, is the owner and developer of PDD#77 — which is comprised of Hawks Ridge, Brightview Senior Living and The Ridge at Sawmill.