The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has indicated it will support creating a Planned Development District (PDD) for the Perry Hill Estates cluster housing development, but will reduce the number of allowable homes and bedrooms.

The P&Z plans to limit the project to 20 houses with a total of 50 bedrooms, based on discussion that was intended to form a consensus at the Dec. 9 meeting.

The developer had been seeking to place 25 homes with a total of approximately 67 bedrooms on the property.

The development would be built on 12.6 acres at 88-94 Perry Hill Road, with another entrance — for emergency access only — on Walnut Avenue.

Members Thomas McGorty and Anthony Pogoda both said the developer will now have to determine if the project is economically feasible with the fewer homes.

“Is it worth it to him?” Pogoda said.

The developer, Ben Perry, operating as S&G of Shelton, declined comment after the meeting on whether he would pursue the project if the P&Z votes to limit it to 20 houses.

Neighbors raised objections

Many neighbors have opposed the project, saying it is too dense for the site and that it would be wrong to approve a PDD for the property because it’s inconsistent with the city’s master plan.

Most of the Perry Hill Estates land now is zoned for one-acre lots (R-1), with a small portion zoned for half-acre lots (R-2). Two separate parcels would be combined to create the development site.

Neighbors also are worried about the potential impact of any blasting on their wells and septic systems. Some opponents have said the PDD mechanism shouldn't be used for a housing development in a residential neighborhood.

“Don’t sell our soul for this development,” Ken Huzi of Walnut Avenue had said during an earlier public hearing on the application.

The city engineer and Conservation Commission also have raised objections to the proposal.

How many homes to allow?

Most P&Z members said they considered the project to be too dense as proposed, and spent much of the discussion at the meeting debating how many houses to allow on the site. The proposal had 26 homes at first but then was reduced to 25 homes by the developer during the application process.

“I’m a little concerned with the density,” said Chairman Ruth Parkins, in comments echoed by other members.

Members generally debated allowing from 16 to 20 homes, before settling on 20 with a limit on the number of bedrooms as well.

Some members — particularly Parkins — said having a PDD would give them more control over what happens than having a regular subdivision.

They said while a regular subdivision would lead to fewer houses, there probably would be about the same number of bedrooms as is now likely to be approved. That’s because as many as 15 or 16 four-bedroom homes might be built there, they said.

Some members said a PDD likely means more land would remain undeveloped, and the undeveloped land essentially will become privately-owned and protected open space.

One member spoke against

The only member to indicate strong opposition to the application, even with the fewer homes, was Nancy Dickal. “I’m not comfortable with the whole process,” Dickal said.

She expressed concerns about the density and the potential impact of so many new homes on the school system. In response, McGorty said school enrollment in Shelton has been declining.

Member James Tickey was worried about the effect of any blasting, but said allowing fewer homes means there would be less blasting.

Will vote in the future

The positive consensus by P&Z members means that zoning staff now will draft approval language for the Perry Hill Estates PDD application, with a final vote to take place at a future meeting.

The PDD is essentially a zone change to allow for the project on a conceptual basis, and specifics of the project will still need to get approval as part of the site plan process.

About the proposal

The homes in Perry Hill Estates would be unattached and individually owned but part of a common-interest community (like a condo). A homeowners’ association would oversee the roads and common land areas, including two detention ponds to handle water runoff.

The roads would be privately maintained, including snow removal operations, and the association would pay for homeowners’ trash removal as well. The property would have access to public water and city sewer.

Two parcels totaling 13.5 acres would be combined to create 12.6 acres for the development, with the rest of the land forming a lot for a separate, existing house.