P&Z indicates it will support enlarging Shelton riverfront condo plan

Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members have indicated in an informal “consensus” vote that they will support adding a half acre of land and three more residential units to the Water’s Edge condo and marina plan for 500-510 River Road.

The P&Z took the consensus vote Tuesday night before waiting for official input from the Conservation Commission, an advisory board that can offer guidance on land-use applications.

“We can’t figure out what’s the hurry,” Tom Harbinson, Conservation Commission chairman, told the P&Z during the Tuesday public hearing.

The Conservation Commission was given the revised Water’s Edge plans one week before the Oct. 28 public hearing, according to its members. Like most municipal boards, it meets once a month.

After the vote, P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins said the P&Z would still accept an advisory report from the Conservation Commission despite the public hearing on the revised Water’s Edge application having been closed Tuesday night. Parkins added that the P&Z’s consensus vote does not guarantee how the final vote will go.

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A consensus vote indicates how the P&Z is likely to vote, and serves to direct staff to begin writing a resolution that reflects that view for a final vote.

The Water's Edge developer will add an adjoining 0.53-acre parcel to the previously approved 14-unit complex, so the development will now have 17 units. The P&Z previously approved creating a Planned Development District for the project, which has not been built yet.

Closeness of building to the water

The consensus vote was 4-2, with P&Z members Nancy Dickal and Jimmy Tickey in opposition.

Dickal said the P&Z already had approved the previous plan and the proposed change was “unnecessary.”

Tickey said the new building with three units should be moved farther away from the shoreline. “I’m uncomfortable with how close it is to the river,” he said.

The new building will be from 40 to 45 feet from the water, and slightly closer to tidal wetlands.

The idea of moving the building farther away from the water was discussed by P&Z members, but that would reduce the available excess parking in the driveways behind the new units (the units also will have ground-floor garages).

Supporters said adding the new land will enable the developer to use fill from the site during construction, reducing truck traffic during that phase.

Proximity to Latex Foam lot, structures

Some supporters did express concern about the proximity of the new building to the water but noted that the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had not raised any objections.

They also talked about the impact of having a 13-foot-high retaining wall to separate the new parcel from the Latex Foam factory parking lot, which is just behind it at a higher elevation. To create more level land for the new building and driveway areas near the river, an existing hillside will be cut into to, leading to the need for a retaining wall behind it.

Questions were raised about allowing residences to be built so close to a factory, with the potential for conflict due to noise, odors and lighting in the future. The developer is buying the new land from Latex Foam.

The developer plans to add a buffer of evergreen trees and a fence at the top of the retaining wall, close to the Latex Foam parking lot.

The development also will have a buffer between the new building and the shoreline, with Water’s Edge representatives saying that trees and other vegetation will be part of that buffer.