100 plus apartments could neighbor Shelter Ridge development

Shelton residents were unhappy to hear about the proposal of a mixed-use development that would be located across from the proposed Towne Center at Shelter Ridge, which is still pending its approval.

Board of Alderman President John Anglace told the Planning and Zoning Commission at its Feb. 22 meeting that it has a responsibility to set limits for the number of applications it approves.

“What Planning and Zoning has to do is you have to set a limit on apartments going into the Bridgeport Avenue Area; set a number and cut it off,” Anglace said.

The proposed development  would feature a hotel, a 145-unit “luxury apartment building,” a restaurant, retail space, and an auto service center.

The proposed project would be located on Bridgeport Avenue and 48 Long Hill Cross Road.

Residents concerned about effects of application

After listening to the applicant’s attorney and engineers, most residents expressed their views on how the increase in Shelton development has affected water supply, wildlife, property values, and life in the city.

Shelton resident Joan Flannery commented on development at Hawks Ridge, saying it is having a terrible impact on all of Shelton’s residents, including wildlife that is trying to survive.

“As a consequence of their habitat being destroyed, now all the surrounding people and their pets have to beware of coyotes and bobcats,” Flannery said. “Just this past Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. about four coyotes were fighting in my back yard. This was scary, and I don’t even feel safe at my own home.”

Flannery also said the Trapp Falls reservoir is low. She is concerned about how it could support the needs of additional residents. She said she lives in a neighborhood with one-acre zoning and that she has her own well and her own septic system, and she believes that is the only new type of building Shelton can handle with all the new development.

Water supply caused concern for residents.

Caitlin Augusta said Connecticut is in a 50% drought. She asked the commission to reject the project based on the availability of water.

“You can’t approve new projects for thousands of people if we don’t have enough water for the people living here now; that’s not living up to your responsibility.”

Resident Diane Jody said she is concerned about the proposed restaurants having patios and hosting weddings late into the evening.

Jowdy also said she has a well that is dry and has her own septic system. She agreed with Flannery, questioning where all the needed water would come from to provide for the new development.

Resident John Girard said he is not against development but feels that Bridgeport Avenue has enough empty buildings that could be recycled for development.

“I’m a big fan of development by sensibly recycling the places we have in need of development,” Girard said. “I can’t think of a single reason why we should not look at fixing the development of abandoned and fallow property that already exist on Bridgeport Avenue.”

Attorney Dominick Thomas, trustee for the Initial Conceptual Plan and PDD Zone Change, addressed the concern residents have with Wells Hollow Brook.

He said a “great majority” of water going into the brook comes off Bridgeport Avenue and flows from the easterly side of Bridgeport where there are no catch basins. He said on the west side there are pipes that are full with silt and sand.

“If you are really concerned about the water with Wells Hollow Brook along this stretch of road, then the road drainage needs to be with best management practices,” Thomas said.

Engineer Manny Silva said the developers want to improve the water quality. He said soil scientist Bill Kenny would remove invasive species and improve the water quality coming off Bridgeport Avenue.

“One way to mitigate that is to establish wetland plans that are appropriate for the industry that acts as a filter before it goes into the brook,” Silva said.

Greg Tetro of Save Our Shelton could not attend the meeting but sent a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission in which he questioned the need for more hotels and apartments. He also questioned the need for more restaurants, and he asked the commission to speak more responsibly, in response to the chairman’s claim of a silent majority wanting these types of developments.

“What I am asking the commission to do is speak for the citizens of Shelton and limit the development size to what is reasonable for the traffic, environment and health of our city,” Tetro’s letter read.

Scheduling conflicts

At the end of the hearing there was a disagreement between a resident and Parkins. The continuation of the hearing was scheduled for March 7, which conflicted with other proposal hearings.

Attorney Thomas requested that the two hearings remain scheduled for March 7 with the understanding that one of the hearings would end up being postponed.

This did not sit well with Shelton resident Maureen Magner, who questioned who was in charge of the scheduling process. Magner asked if the commission if it was making the rules or the attorney.

Parkins replied that the commission already had both hearings scheduled, despite the conflict.

Magner continued asking Parkins why the hearing for Wells Hollow could not be scheduled for a meeting in April.

Parkins became upset and said that the commission has to abide by time frames set by state statute.

Magner said later that she is opposed to what she called overdevelopment and plans to keep fighting it and that she felt attorney Thomas was controlling the scheduling process.

“I would just like the P&Z be in charge and not the attorney,” Magner said.

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