Affordable housing part of revised S&G of Shelton plan

The city may soon be free of one lawsuit while gaining some needed affordable housing — which would qualify under state guidelines — in the process.

S&G of Shelton, LLC, received positive reviews from the Planning & Zoning Commission during its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 11, as it plans to submit a revised plan for a 30-unit, age-restricted Planned Development District (PDD) on an unusually shaped parcel at 96 Long Hill Cross Road.

The developers originally filed a proposal last year to develop this 5.57-acre site — which sits between Bridgeport Avenue and Route 8, essentially behind the Crown Point Center retail area and near a large recycling facility — that was denied by the commission. The developer appealed the ruling in court.

“In light of the commission’s recent action, we are submitting revised plans having modified them to increase on-site parking and the property use,” said Ben Perry, Jr., of S&G of Shelton.

“In the alignment with the city’s goal of providing voluntary affordable housing, we have decided to voluntarily designate 10 percent of the total units as affordable,” said Perry. “Out of a total of 30 units, this means three of them will be deed restricted.”

Under the state statute 8-30g — which governs qualifying affordable units under state law — for every 10 units sold, one would sell as affordable.

“The development will have an administrator to monitor the sale of the homes to ensure compliance with state affordability guidelines,” said Perry. “We hope the commission looks favorably at this modified plan.”

If this revised plan is approved, that would most likely mean the withdrawal of the appeal the developer filed against the commission in court.

Perry told commissioners that the revised plan not only adds in the affordable housing piece but also addresses the parking concerns raised during the last application process. The new plans have 88 parking spots, up from the 65 in the original proposal.

Commissioner Mark Widomski, who opposed the original plan, said he still has reservations about placing any housing in the middle of two factories within an industrial zone.

“It’s a very challenging piece,” responded Perry, “but with the grades, with something like this where you have individual buildings, I believe this is a good fit. I think it will be a nice development.”

Commissioner Jimmy Tickey said he was pleased with the addition of the affordable housing piece, as the city looks to find ways to reach 10 percent of housing stock as affordable under state statute 8-30g. Once at 10 percent, Tickey said a moratorium kicks in on such developments in the future.

Interim P&Z Administrator Ken Nappi said another advantage is the developer states there will have an administrator to monitor the affordable housing sales. Nappi said if the applicant does not keep that, it falls back on the city to be the monitor.

“I think the added affordable housing helps in my mind,” said Commissioner Anthony Pogoda, Jr., adding that he still needs to see a more detailed landscaping plan with an eye toward ways to mitigate sound coming from the Route 8 corridor.

The original application, filed late last year, called for a zone change to build an age-55-and-older senior living community “in a condominium format” on the flag-shaped lot. The property is now undeveloped, zoned for industrial use and borders the highway, light industrial and commercial uses, and other undeveloped land.

The Planning & Zoning Commission application describes the property as being in “a transitional area” and having been “heavily disturbed during construction of Route 8 in the 1970s.” It includes a watercourse that flows down from the highway toward Bridgeport Avenue.

The original plan for The Crossroads: An Active Adult Community would include two living units per building on a dead-end private road, plus a small structure with a meeting room and resident mailboxes. The two-story living units would be 1,134 square feet each with two bedrooms, and deed restricted to owners at least age 55 or older.

The community of duplexes would have a homeowners’ association. The property has limited frontage of about 71 feet on Long Hill Cross Road, where the new road entrance would be located close to the bridge over Route 8. The site has access to public water and sewer.