Opposition builds against proposed Shelton condo development

Photo of Brian Gioiele
A developer is proposing a condominium project at 7 Ivy Brook Lane in Shelton. The plans are before the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission.

A developer is proposing a condominium project at 7 Ivy Brook Lane in Shelton. The plans are before the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission.

Contributed / Contributed

SHELTON — A condominium project proposed on Ivy Brook Lane faces criticism from both residents and some Planning and Zoning commissioners.

Gold Coast, LLC, has applied for a Planned Development District for undeveloped land at 7 Ivy Brook Lane, which sits on the corner of Ivy Brook Road and Mountain View Drive. The site also sits next to the Ivy Brook Medical Center.

Plans call 63 total condominiums, with eight three-bedroom townhouses, set aside from the main four-story structure that would have 26 one-bedroom units and 29 two-bedroom units. There will be 136 parking spaces, just more than two spots per unit, but below the 2.25 spaces per unit required by zoning regulations.

But Aime Fraser, vice president of the Shelton Four Winds complex at the end of Mountain View Drive, said the new complex would be out of character for the area.

“This is so different from everything nearby. It just does not fit in,” she told the commission at its Wednesday meeting.

Michael Ferguson, who lives on Bunker Hill Circle in the Four Winds development, agreed.

“While Four Winds abuts residential neighborhoods, the proposed Ivy Brook development of 63 residential units does not,”Ferguson said. “This is spot zoning in a manner that diminishes the aesthetic character of Shelton’s residential neighborhoods. In our opinion, we do not need any more ‘hodge-podge’ zoning.”

Fraser spoke on behalf of the Shelton Four Winds residents, more than two dozen of whom submitted letters in opposition to the proposal, the public hearing for which was continued to an as-of-yet determined date.

Critics said the development as proposed is too dense for the location, with inadequate landscape buffering and available parking. The plan, as proposed, would also adversely impact the traffic congestion in the area as well as drainage, opponents stated.

“It will introduce potentially dangerous numbers of vehicles on roads not engineered for moderate traffic, and there are real engineering issues around blasting, drainage, density, buffers, and more,” Fraser added.

City zoning consultant Tony Panico called the proposed parking “marginal” for the size of the development.

Engineer Jim Swift responded, saying that there is room to expand the parking if needed.

Commissioner Elaine Matto said expanding the parking would not be “desirable” considering that some buffering would have to be removed to accommodate the additional spaces.

“The site is tight, the units are small, the parking is inadequate,” Matto said.

According to the application, filed by the developer’s attorney Dominick Thomas, the site has been marketed for light industrial for some 20 years, but with no real interest due to its size and topography.

“The Planned Development District is compatible with the current and future character of the City of Shelton in that it will permit the parcel to be utilized for moderate high density residential use in the midst of light industrial and corporate uses,” the application states.

The application also states that the development will be “consistent with the residential developments in the area.”

Thomas said he would never advocate removing green space for parking he believes probably not be needed, to which Matto said the number of units could be reduced.

Commissioner Ruth Parkins voiced fears — and residents of Shelton Four Winds concurred — that this site could turn from condominiums to apartments.

“I feel this is an apartment building disguised as condos,” Parkins said.