The Shelton Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) has unanimously approved adding three more units to the proposed Water’s Edge condominium and marina at 500 River Road and 14 Fanny St.
The developers have an option to purchase an additional half acre of land (510 River Road) to the south from Latex International, and now want to add another structure close to the Housatonic River.
A 14-unit project with a six-slip marina previously was approved at the 3.1 acre-site, which would expand to 17 units on 3.6 acres under the modified application.
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The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will hold a public hearing on the altered Water’s Edge application on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium. A public hearing is an opportunity for neighbors and others to comment on an application.
Conservation Commission members have expressed concerns about how fast the revised application is moving through the land-use process, and its impact on undeveloped riverfront land.
Will be riverfront buffer
A 25-foot buffer zone between the Housatonic River and any residential building would be maintained on the added land, with many existing trees remaining in place, according to Dennis McMorrow, an engineer with Litchfield-based Berkshire Engineering that represents the Water’s Edge developer.
Driveway access to the new structure would be behind the condo units, or farther away from the river.
There are no wetlands on the new half-acre of property, only the watercourse (Housatonic River) and tidal wetlands connected to the river, McMorrow told the IWC.
He said the new property has higher elevations than the previously-approved development parcel “due to the natural terrain,” so the new structure’s basement would be farther above flood level than those of the previously approved units.
P&Z approved PDD for project
The P&Z previously approved a Planned Development District (PDD) for the original development, which combines an industrial parcel off River Road with a residential property on Fanny Street.
The Water’s Edge developers now have an option to purchase an additional 0.45 acres of land from Latex International to expand the project.
Many neighbors had opposed the original project, with most of their concerns involving possible increased traffic on Fanny Street and nearby residential streets, and having a public access point to the riverfront from Fanny Street.
P&Z members addressed their concerns by making the Fanny Street entrance for emergency access only, and eliminating any riverfront public access parking on Fanny Street.
Conservation Commission concerns
Shelton Conservation Commission members are raising concerns about the expanded project and the fast-track basis on which it is being considered.
Members said the revised engineering drawings for the new plan were received by the P&Z on Oct. 21, and a public hearing is being scheduled one week later. “That’s a shocking pace,” one member said.
They said the modified proposal could negatively impact having a Housatonic River Greenway along the river, and involves a complicated lot-line revision.
“This is a severely sloped area of riverfront land with dense mature vegetation of trees,” Conservation Commission Chairman Tom Harbinson wrote of the new property to be included in the project.
“It would be tragic environmentally and aesthetically to see it carved away with retaining walls and homes,” Harbinson wrote. “It was one thing to consider a PDD for a parcel with an industrial building and impervious parking asphalt changing to residential, but a far different one to see raw land with mature vegetation be proposed to launch into the same developed state.”