No shopping centers or apartments? Mas property zone change could go for Shelton vote soon

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Mayor Mark Lauretti has presented potential development opportunities for the city-owned Mas property, an almost 70-acre parcel near Bridgeport Avenue where Constitution Boulevard could be partly extended to eventually reach Shelton Avenue (Route 108). Mayor Mark Lauretti has presented potential development opportunities for the city-owned Mas property, an almost 70-acre parcel near Bridgeport Avenue where Constitution Boulevard could be partly extended to eventually reach Shelton Avenue (Route 108).

Mayor Mark Lauretti has presented potential development opportunities for the city-owned Mas property, an almost 70-acre parcel near Bridgeport Avenue where Constitution Boulevard could be partly extended to eventually reach Shelton Avenue (Route 108). Mayor Mark Lauretti has presented potential development opportunities for the city-owned Mas property, an almost 70-acre parcel near Bridgeport Avenue where Constitution Boulevard could be partly extended to eventually reach Shelton Avenue (Route 108).

Bryan Haeffele

SHELTON — Zoning officials are preparing a zone change proposal for the city-owned Mas property and abutting sites that would be part of what Mayor Mark Lauretti envisions as a future manufacturing hub.

Once complete, the city would file the zone change application with the Planning and Zoning Commission for its verdict.

Initial wording, presented as part of a report to the commission Tuesday, calls for the area to fall under the Industrial IA-1 district, replacing the Planned Development District approval granted for the site decades earlier.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Alex Rossetti told the commission that the zone change, if approved, would guarantee no shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations or multi-family housing.

“Removal of this PDD zone is necessary to eliminate any perceived threat of multi-family residential development and/or retail shopping centers and to preserve the area for quality industrial and related economic development,” the report reads. “The IA-1 District is no longer in use anywhere in the city and therefore can be modified and tailored for use on the Mas property as well as related parcels.”

Zoning staff and the city are completing a final zone change draft that will be on a meeting agenda for the entire Planning and Zoning Commission. If the commission accepts the final draft — or a slightly modified version after its input — it will then be referred to the appropriate state and regional agencies and a public hearing will be scheduled. That public hearing could be in February.

In December, Lauretti told Hearst Connecticut Media three firms have expressed interest in calling the Mas property home.

A significant part of making this happen is extending Constitution Blvd. West — with bids coming in last month at between $4.5 million and nearly $10 million for that work, according to Lauretti.

Extending the roadway and use of the Mas property has been on the table for years, but Lauretti began the most recent push in April when he presented preliminary plans for creating the road leading into the city-owned land, which would be developed into a manufacturing corporate park.

Lauretti said he expects the cost to be about $5 million for the road work, which would allow for access into the 70-acre, city-owned Mas property. Lauretti said three “good sized” manufacturers are interested and deals with two could be struck soon.

Shelton state Rep. Jason Perillo helped secure $5 million in funding for the road extension in the state’s 2021 bond package. The funding will be available once approved by the state Bond Commission, according to Perillo.

The Inland Wetlands Commission, at its meeting in November, approved the city’s permit application for extension of the roadway, with street construction occurring within regulated wetlands areas.

The application approved by Inland Wetlands is for phase one roadway construction only, with a portion of Bridgeport Ave. to be widened along with intersection improvements. Portions of Cots Street and Blacks Hill Road will also be reconstructed as part of this project.

This work also calls for the city to purchase 55 and 56 Blacks Hill Road, according to the application submitted to Inland Wetlands.

The property sits near Bridgeport Ave., and the roadway plans include extending Constitution Blvd. to reach Shelton Ave./Route 108. Lauretti said a zone change would be needed, requiring plans to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at some point.

The Mas property is now vacant. It is mostly wooded with considerable stone ledges and several ponds, including one some 600 feet long and 250 to 300 feet wide, and lies between Bridgeport Aven., Cots Street, Tisi Drive, Sunwood Condos on Nells Rock Road, Regent Drive, Walnut Ave., and Kings Highway. Part of the land abuts the back of the Perry Hill School property.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com