P&Z’s Shelter Ridge ruling upheld by court

Photo of Brian Gioiele

A Hartford Superior Court judge this past week upheld the Planning & Zoning Commission’s 2017 approval of the Shelter Ridge development.

The judge, in the case of John Tillman and Judith Tillman vs. The Shelton Planning & Zoning Commission, dismissed the Tillmans’ appeal, stating that the “plaintiffs have failed to establish that the decision was illegal or contrary to law, the commission acted arbitrarily or in abuse of discretion, or that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence.

“This court concludes that the commission’s determination on the issues of environmental and traffic impact are supported by substantial evidence,” the ruling further stated.

This ruling is the latest step in a process that began more than two years ago. After six public hearings, with hundreds of people voicing opposition, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved the PDD and zone change for the Towne Center at Shelter Ridge development at its March 7, 2017 meeting. The commission approved the plan by a 4-2 vote (Commissioners Ruth Parkins, Virginia Harger, Ned Miller, and Elaine Matto voted in favor of the PDD; Jimmy Tickey and Anthony Pagoda, Jr., against).

The Shelton Ridge proposal would sit on 121 acres fronting Bridgeport Avenue and Mill Street. The Tillmans’ property abuts a portion of the property.

According to the plans, Shelter Ridge would be a long-term project that encompasses both residential units and retail space — 375 “upscale” apartments and 300,000 square feet of retail space, to be exact.

Residents spent months voicing concerns about the possible negative effects of the plan, saying that the Shelton Ridge development and zone change would result in an increase in the volume of traffic the city currently experiences, increase an already high density of rental housing, result in blasting and construction for up to 10 years, and pollute the Mill River as well as the habitat of local wildlife.

It was this Shelter Ridge development that gave birth to Save Our Shelton in early 2016 with a goal of promoting responsible development. Save Our Shelton was instrumental in raising funds to cover the cost of the appeal.