Shelton P&Z opposes apartment plan at PerkinElmer site
SHELTON — The Planning and Zoning Commission opposes granting a zone change that would allow construction of 272 apartments on the Bridgeport Avenue property that also houses PerkinElmer.
While no formal vote was taken, the commission, at its remote meeting Tuesday, was unanimous in its desire to deny the project. P&Z consultant Tony Panico was asked to craft a resolution to that effect for a future meeting.
“The site is not suitable for intensive multi-family residential development,” said commission Chair Virginia Harger, “because, as currently proposed, it may actually result in pedestrian conflicts with on-site traffic serving the occupant of the current site as well as occupants in the adjacent commercial development.”
The plan called for four buildings and 272 units with 10 percent of the units — 27 total — listed as affordable housing. The structure housing PerkinElmer would remain, with the four buildings built in the present parking area.
The property owners are seeking a zone change for 710 Bridgeport Ave. to a Planned Development District in order to add the apartments to the location that presently houses offices, light industry and warehouse space. PerkinElmer is the main tenant, and representatives from that company stated that they support the application as presented.
“I do not support yet another zone change on Bridgeport Avenue for 272 more housing units,” said commissioner Jimmy Tickey. “The fact is that these massive housing developments on Bridgeport Avenue take our focus away from downtown Shelton development.”
P&Z Alternate Peter Laskos called the design “disconnected” and said having two different buildings “occupying an industrial site is ill conceived.”
Harger agreed, saying the proposed density is “excessive and may result in a variety of future issues.”
Despite the potential of affordable housing, she said, integrating residential apartments with existing industrial, office, warehousing and retail development “could result in a variety of land use conflicts.”
Harger said Bridgeport Avenue has a finite capacity to accommodate additional traffic that will be generated by further development in the Bridgeport Avenue corridor.
“We are not aware of any comprehensively planned road improvements except those mandated by major, approved developments which have not yet been implemented or completed,” said Harger. “Therefore, available traffic capacity should be preserved for future non-residential growth and development.”
Harger said, in her view, the commission is concerned about the “potential negative impact that significant additional apartment development in the Bridgeport Avenue corridor may have on apartments proposed elsewhere in the city, especially in the downtown area.”
The application faced opposition from residents concerned about density, and some city officials and developers who are concerned that further introduction of apartments along Bridgeport Avenue would hurt downtown development.
Owners of The Mark, a nearby luxury apartment complex, have also voiced opposition.
Among those opposed were some members of the Board of Aldermen, headlined by board President John Anglace Jr., who called on the commission to “just say no” to the plan.