SHELTON — Nichols Avenue will be home to a new housing development.

The Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting this week voted 5-1, with commissioner Ruth Parkins opposed, to approve local developer AJ Grasso’s plan to build 18 single-family homes on some 12 acres on Nichols Avenue.

Grasso is a longtime Shelton resident and builder of more than 30 years, known most recently for the Hawks Ridge development.

The Nichols Avenue project will sit on what is now 413 Nichols Ave. in the area of September Lane, Kazo Drive and Hidden Pond Lane, near the Trumbull border.

Grasso had requested a special exception for a designed residential district, which he says will “protect and possibly enhance the value of the surrounding one-acre homes, given the quality of the development with private roads, increased dedicated open space and conservation easements.”

The commission approved a resolution with 24 conditions. The developer is also setting aside 4.24 acres of open space as part of the approval.

Neighboring residents appeared at the public hearing on the project, questioning the number of units for the site, which had been home to a single-family home for decades.

Parkins agreed with neighbors’ concerns, saying that 18 units is “maximum density” and “just too much for this property.”

Other residents had voiced concerns about increased traffic congestion, while others said such a development would adversely impact the wildlife in the area, which includes land trust open space at the rear of the lot.

Grasso told the commission at the public hearing that his team worked to lessen the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood during the planning process, and “we have certainly accomplished that.

“I plan to build high quality, custom, energy-efficient homes ranging in size from approximately 2,600 to about 3,200 square feet,” Grasso said at the hearing. “This would further protect the property values of abutting homes on Hidden Pond with their larger homes and lots.”

Grasso also told commissioners there will be significantly less tree clearing and land disturbance as neighbors had worried about, as well as much more permanently protected land with a DRD approval.

The proposed development would have private roads versus city-maintained roads, according to Grasso, so plowing, maintenance and future paving will not be paid for by Shelton taxpayers. A Homeowners Association will oversee all road expenses and protection of the open space, he said.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com