The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has voted to hire a consultant to help provide guidance on future possibilities for a main two-block area in downtown Shelton.

The consultant will focus on the area bordered by Howe Avenue, Center Street, Coram Avenue, and White Street.

This area includes many municipal-owned properties, and Mayor Mark Lauretti has floated the idea of building a new City Hall there. Lauretti has suggested the P&Z hire a consultant to study his City Hall idea and other potential ideas for the two-block area.

The area also includes the partial city block destroyed by a massive fire last January, which is now mostly vacant. The Matto family, which owns the fire-impacted parcel, wants to build a new structure on the 0.4-acre site.

Seeking 'a conceptual design'

Ruth Parkins, P&Z chairman, said the consultant would work with staff to provide “assistance to conceptually look at that whole area.”

The consultant would “come up with a conceptual design,” Parkins said.

“We all know it’s a very important area,” said Parkins, noting the city will “only get one chance” to oversee what replaces the destroyed building on the Matto property.

Parkins said the Matto family’s new proposed building could be incorporated into an overall plan for the area.

The city will go out to bid to hire the consultant, and the potential cost for the services is unknown.

P&Z alternate Frank Osak said perhaps the possible cost and scope of such a consulting contract should be determined before beginning the process.