After months of deliberation and opposition to the developer’s plans, Shelton’s Planning and Zoning Commission will finally decide to either deny, approve, or approve the zone change and plans to build the Towne Center at Shelter Ridge application with suggested modifications on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The commission will make its decision at their next meeting in city hall based off of the information provided both the opposition and the developers.
The opposition formed by residents, called Save Our Shelton or S.O.S, have announced they will be protesting before the formal meeting takes place in front of city hall at 6:30 p.m.
The following message was posted to the community group’s Facebook page Saturday evening.
“Our goal is to let everyone know that this project is not supported by the residents of Shelton. And we’re the voices that matter. Bring a sign. We’ll be outside City Hall. Please join us Tuesday and take some pictures for your Facebook or Instagram page – let others know what’s at stake.”
Shelton’s Fire and EMS chiefs both said their departments would be able to handle any increase in call volume that could potentially happen as a result of the proposed plans for the 121-acre property. Both Fire Chief Francis Jones and EMS Chief Michael Chaffee said if the city’s emergency response call volume were to increase they would make adjustments within the department as needed.
Residents and community members have openly opposed the application to build one of the largest mixed-use developments in Fairfield County history which would include e a residential complex with 405 apartments, more than 500,000 square feet of retail space and 20,000 square feet of medical offices.
In total, the development would span nearly 1 million square feet on the 121-acre property off Bridgeport Avenue, Buddington Road and Mill Street, located across from Long Hill Cross Road.
If the development were to be approved as presented, it would disrupt the progress made towards connecting the Blue Dot or Paugussett Trail from Shelton’s Indian Well to the Stratford town line. The apartment building as presented would disrupt the scenic requirement for the trail to be considered a Blue Dot Trail.
Between S.O.S. and the city’s Conservation Commission, multiple community members have voiced the concern of the development negatively impacting local wildlife as well.
The section of Bridgeport Avenue where the development would be located, between Exits 12 and 13 of the adjacent Route 8, has been the scene of several fatal crashes and daily traffic jams at peak hours of the day.
State Rep Jason Perillo (R-113) said he sees traffic becoming an even bigger issue than it already is for residents who are traveling down Bridgeport Avenue during peak times of the day and he doesn’t think it’s a good fit for Shelton.
Mayor Mark Lauretti said that he was in favor for more development along Bridgeport Avenue and that the city is looking to add more developments in the future, but would prefer to see them in the downtown area.
The S.O.S. Facebook page has been updating its supporters as the date for the P&Z’s next meeting approaches.
“It’s important to remind our hardworking, volunteer P&Z that they were elected by residents and are answerable to residents for the decisions they impose – in perpetuity – on us…FINALLY, I know many people are tired and discouraged with a process that seems never ending. Okay, is neverending! But then, think about all the amazing stories in American history where people – often alone or in very small groups – did something no one thought was possible. We’re a nation of underdogs and miracle workers (Go Cubs! Go Red Sox!). Let’s believe in ourselves and show up on Tuesday.”