Fountain Square traffic update sought before tenants get OK in Shelton

SHELTON — Zoning commissioners are demanding a revised traffic study before allowing inclusion of The Goddard School and DQ Grill and Chill in the Fountain Square development off Bridgeport Avenue.

The project’s developers, represented by attorney Dominick Thomas, presented plans at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Jan. 29 public hearing, calling for replacement of the proposed bank building with the child-care operation and reduction of one of the pad sizes for the DQ with a drive-thru.

The revised plans also propose increasing the retail space of the large retail building by 4,000 square feet at the Fountain Square project site at 801 Bridgeport Ave., on the corner of Bridgeport Avenue and Parrott Drive that also would be home to a Marriott hotel.

Thomas said the developer needed the additional square footage because negotiations are underway with a prospective tenant seeking 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of space in that building.

The commissioners voiced concern about the parking available for The Goddard School, which would have some 150 students and 30 employees. The Goddard School owner Kim Murray, who has another school in Monroe, said the students, ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, would be dropped off and picked up on staggered schedules, which would help alleviate any traffic congestion issues.

Commission Chairwoman Virginia Harger asked whether there was enough parking to accommodate staff members during the day.

Thomas said parking is more than adequate, and the traffic flow would not be adversely affected by the addition of the school and DQ, both located in the same area of the development. Thomas said there are 80 spaces allocated for The Goddard School, and the remainder of the development has more than enough parking spaces and sidewalks.

“It looks great on paper,” said Commissioner Mark Widomski, but he said the addition of the child-care center, what he termed a larger traffic generator, raises concerns about traffic flow.

With so many changes to the tenants since the development’s inception, Widomski, joined by other commissioners, asked for an updated traffic study. The commission continued the public hearing to its next regular meeting, and Thomas said Milone and Macbroom’s Dave Sullivan would provide a study before the hearing.

Sullivan told the commission he “did not expect any issues” with flow through the development, even if the newly proposed tenants were approved.

Thomas questioned why more specific information was needed at this point, considering his clients were simply asking for approval of the initial concept plans. The commission, said Thomas, still has to give approval to the final development plans, which would have the information sought that evening.

“Traffic congestion is a concern,” said Commissioner Jimmy Tickey, adding that the amount and location of parking could also be an issue after so many changes.

Thomas said that the site has 661 parking spaces, well more than the 611 required by the commission’s regulations.