Could more apartments be coming to Shelton?

The Planning and Zoning Commission heard yet another application for more apartments at its Feb. 22 meeting.

The application was from a developer wanting to modify its initial application for 31 condominiums located at 702-722 River Road. The modifications would change the proposal from 31 condos to 164 apartment units, spanning five buildings.

The commission listened to comments about traffic impact, sewer usage, projected tax benefit to the city, and public access to a marina located within the development, but didn’t reach a decision on the application. The hearing is set to continue at its March 6 meeting.

Nuts and bolts

The 702-722 River Road property spans lots 1, 16, and 17 in Shelton, totaling nine acres. It is located on the east side of the city along the Housatonic River.

Along with the apartments, maintenance building and boathouse, the project would also have a marina.

Shelton resident Thomas Harbinson, who is chairman of the Shelton Conservation Commission,  said the Board of Aldermen already abandoned the city street’s right-of-way where the marina would be located.

“We had public access along the river. We abandoned that when we approved the current PDD,” said Harbinson.

Attorney Chris Russo, representing Shelton resident Deborah Boles, called the application “excessive.” He said the project was too drastic in size, traffic impact and height.

Developers Ricar LLC and Mianus Holding LLC are the applicants for the project. Attorney Dominick Thomas and engineers spoke on behalf of the applicants at the hearing.

Thomas told the commission the developers would maintain a pumpout facility for boats. He also said they agreed to redesign the current walkway so it could span the entire site, which would remain open to the public. He said boat storage would not be restricted to Shelton residents, so the public would be able to purchase a membership in the marina.

Developer proposes a change in Shelton sewer system

Thomas said the main change in the application is that the developer is accepting that the project would be connected to the Shelton sewer system instead of Stratford’s sewer system.

Thomas said the south section of River Road would be hooked into the sewer system by changes made and paid for by the applicant, saving the Shelton Water Pollution Control Authority $2 million worth of infrastructure costs and the cost of connecting the south of Shelton sewer system to Shelton rather than Stratford.

Thomas said the Shelton WPCA has commenced testing to determine the viability of the project and what needs to be done along Route 110, River Road, in order in order to install the sewer line.

Thomas said the intent is that fees paid to Stratford WPCA will be saved rather than spent.

A blocked scenic view

Commissioner Elaine Matto said she thinks the space between the buildings would not provide much of a scenic view.

The project would contain 74 one-bedroom units, 80 two-bedroom units, and 10 three-bedroom units, totaling 164 units, divided among five buildings.

The developer said they would consider reducing the project from five buildings to four while maintaining the proposed 164 units by adding an additional floor to each building. P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins said she did not like the additional height of the buildings.

More traffic concerns for the city

Parkins asked if the impact Sikorsky traffic could potentially have with the project was taken into consideration, considering that work at the factory does not start at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. She questioned engineer David Sullivan about peak hours of traffic.

Sullivan said his team at Malone & MacBroom would look at the state information, and if there was a dramatic difference, they would expand the count data.

Parkins said the information about Sikorsky’s peak traffic time needs to be combined with the peak times for the development.

“I’m just concerned that peak rate of traffic may be actually much higher than what’s been indicated in this report, only because consideration wasn’t given for the 6:30 to 7:30 and 2:30 to 4:30 period.; it’s just an observation about the report,” said Parkins.

Sullivan later said the highest traffic hours were 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and that in the afternoon between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sullivan said he obtained his information from a 2007 traffic report; however, he said, there is no reason to think the patterns would be different.

Parkins pointed out that the study was from 10 years ago, but Thomas responded that 10 years ago there were more Sikorsky employees.

However, Shelton resident and Sikorsky employee Glenn Swanson said that could be changing soon.

Swanson said the traffic from Sikorsky will double in size by the summer. He said after Lockheed Martin Corp. purchased Sikorsky, the plan was to bring in additional employees.

He also said Sikorsky is contracted to make around 200 additional 53Ks, which are Sikorsky’s largest helicopters. Swanson said Sikorsky is contracted until 2022 to make the additional helicopters.

Additional children; additional tax money

According to the fiscal impact study provided by the applicant, the development could bring in an additional 298 residents, adding 24 children into Shelton’s school system. However, the study stated that the cost of educating new children and providing municipal services to residents would be offset by money generated from real estate and motor vehicle taxes. The total revenue from real estate tax is estimated at $493,943. and the estimated motor vehicle revenue is $45,101, totaling near $540,000. The total municipal cost and board of education expenses would be $397,598. The proposed project is estimated to bring in additional revenue of $142,447 in tax money to the city of Shelton.

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