Mayor Mark Lauretti said there’s aspects of the Shelter Ridge proposal that he thinks are appropriate for Bridgeport Ave. and others that he would do differently, but overall he hasn’t begun to put much thought into it yet as he expects further modifications.
“This is part of the development process that transpires in a community. It’s all about give and take. People need to understand that 40 years ago they carved out these two areas of our city for development (downtown and Bridgeport Ave.). That’s what’s happening, that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Lauretti. “If this application is ever approved I imagine that it will look much different than it does today. The general consensus is the plan is very dense and I wouldn’t disagree with that. There’s plenty more of this coming so we have to be able to deal with these things.”
It seemed like everyone was at the special Planning and Zoning meeting last week where developers of the would-be Shelter Ridge property on Bridgeport Ave. shared their presentation for the proposed zone change with the Commission and more than 300 upset residents.
One person who wasn’t in attendance was Mayor Lauretti. Residents did want to know where he stands on the project plans and its anticipated effects.
He missed the P&Z meeting but did attend a meeting with residents concerned about the Shelter Ridge proposal at the Old Mill two weeks ago. Residents said they were surprised to learn that his primary reason for attending the meeting was to listen.
Topics discussed ranged from the people behind the project, the impact on schools and the community and the fact that Shelton is attractive to builders as one of the least expensive areas with a high quality of life in the state.
Lauretti said following the meeting he empathized with residents fearing a zone-change.
“Nobody likes when they feel like the developments are infringing upon their backyards and I don’t disagree with that. I think over the years the P&Z and Wetlands Commission have been very mindful of those things,” said Lauretti in regards to residents sentiments. “We’ve been through this regarding proposals and there’s more to come. I think at the end of the day we’ve gotta find a balance because at the end of the day there’s going to be something there.”
Lauretti also responded to residents who have commented on the city’s changes over the past 30 years by saying, “change is inevitable.”
“I’m one of those people who remembers how the city was 20-30 years ago and there’s a difference. There’s things that have happened that I haven’t liked, but sometimes you just can’t stop it so you’ve got to control it. It’s never easy but we’ve gotta make sure the change doesn’t negatively affect people living in that area.”
Lauretti said to expect more proposals moving forward and mentioned that Shelton is looking at other projects including opening up Constitution Ave. at Bridgeport Ave. for development.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will continue the public portion for the Shelter Ridge application May 31 at 7p.m.