P&Z: Downtown parking remains planning issue

The issue of downtown parking continues to come up with applications for apartments and retail space in the central business district.
During the approval motion for a five-story building with a restaurant and 42 apartments at Center Street and Coram Avenue, it was noted the project would have only 44 off-street parking spaces.
Downtown zoning regulations require one parking space per living unit as a way to encourage development in a dense environment. Many city officials have pointed out the city has public parking lots throughout downtown and a parking garage could be built in the future.
During discussion on the restaurant and apartment application, P&Z member Jimmy Tickey said the P&Z Downtown Subcommittee has learned about possible plans to build a two-level garage in the city lot in front of the U.S. post office on Coram Avenue.
Tickey, who voted for the 42-unit project, noted people going to the new restaurant will need to park in the vicinity.
He said it’s important to keep communicating with the mayor’s office and private developers to try to get more parking in the area. “It’s an economic problem,” said Tickey, explaining insufficient parking for restaurants and stores downtown will cause people to instead patronize businesses on Bridgeport Avenue, where parking rarely is a problem.
Member Mark Widomski, as he has in the past, said he thinks the one-spot-per-apartment regulation is inadequate, and every approval of a new residential project downtown makes it worse. He’s repeatedly said couples who occupy apartments almost always have two vehicles.
Widomski, the lone vote against the project’s approval, said he’d like to see a private developer construct a public garage at some point.
City officials have talked for years about building a parking garage somewhere downtown.
Downtown restaurant openings
Three new restaurants are coming to downtown Shelton, based on recent sign permit applications.
The P&Z has approved a sign for a new taco restaurant opening at 50 Bridge Street in the large building constructed a few years ago at Howe Avenue and Bridge Street, near the road leading to the Derby-Shelton Bridge.
The new Tacomida establishment will have a liquor license and some outdoor seating.
A sign proposal for a new restaurant at 470 Howe Avenue, in the old police station and health district office, didn’t fare as well. Members thought the sign’s canvass-and-rope design didn’t look permanent enough, and tabled the request so it could be revised.
Another new downtown restaurant, specializing in wood-fired pizza and other Italian specialties, received sign approval at 97 Center Street, but will have to eliminate certain words from the sign that aren’t part of the establishment’s formal name.