Shelton P&Z OKs Cedar Village Phase 2 plans

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Don Stanziale Jr.’s vision for Cedar Village at Carrolls has been approved.

The Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting Wednesday voted 5-1, with commissioner Jimmy Tickey opposed, to approve the developer’s plans for a four-story building with 30 apartments and 31 parking spots on the corner of Coram Avenue and Hill Street.

Last year, the commission approved Phase 1 of construction at 320 Howe Ave., the former Carroll’s Home Improvement site. Stanziale has now received an expansion of the Planned Development District for proposed construction at the corner of Coram Avenue and Hill Street behind the Phase 1 work.

“The commission finds that the nature, scope and design of the Phase Two proposal is consistent with the ongoing downtown planning and revitalization efforts,” the resolution of approval states.

Tickey, the lone dissenter, said he backed Phase 1 because it allowed for a pedestrian friendly mixed use business and residential development on the main corridor in downtown Shelton and is in alignment with the plan for that area.

“The application we were taking up was facing a long-established residential neighborhood,” Tickey said about Phase 2, “and I believe the development would have a negative impact on the neighborhood including the building height, density and the impact on an already busy and troubling intersection on Hill and Coram Road.”

Opponents have said that the height of the new structure, along with the increased traffic that they say the apartments would generate, would drastically change the character of the neighborhood.

But the commission’s approval states that the building height is “consistent with the residential structures along Coram Avenue and the underlying R-3 zone, which allows three-story structures and a height of 40 feet.

The commission stated that, along Coram Avenue, the average height of the proposed building is approximately 36 to 38 feet.

“The top of its roof is substantially lower than the City Hall roof as well as the roof of the church across Hill Street," the resolution states. “As of right in the R-3 zone, a house with a maximum height of 40 feet can be built just 15 feet from this side property line, putting its roof at least 10 feet higher than the adjacent house. The proposed building is set back some 10 feet from the back of the public sidewalk so it should pose no visibility constraint for exiting driveway traffic.”

Tickey said he disagrees with some aspects of the resolution, including the comparison that a house could be just as tall — “a single house would not be anywhere near as dense and sizable as a city block-size building, 40 feet tall, with 30 apartments on .30 of an acre.”

The commission also did not agree with residents’ concerns of traffic and the potential for additional accidents at the corner of Coram Avenue and Hill Street.

"The traffic engineer noted one possible means of reducing these angle crashes is with an “All-Way-Stop” at the intersection,” the resolution states. “This has been discussed with the traffic division of the Shelton Police Department who will continue to monitor the situation.

“Since this is an on-going concern, the commission will make a strong recommendation that the All-Way-Stop solution be implemented by the city,” the resolution further states.

The commission said data shows the actual addition of traffic to Coram Avenue from the proposal is “very small, since only one level of the structured parking, serving a total of 16 cars, is accessed from Coram Avenue.”

The first phase of the Cedar Village at Carrolls development has been underway for months: 33 studio- and one-bedroom apartments, a handful of retail stores and parking for residents and shoppers. The existing L-shaped building will be incorporated into the new structure, which will be four stories tall.

For the second phase, the new building would have two interior parking levels and be up to 60 feet tall, although it would appear to be three stories high from Coram Avenue because of the grade change from Howe to Coram, developers said.

The entrance and exit from Coram Avenue is only to the upper level of parking. The entrance to the lower parking level is from Hill Street.. The building would also be 133 feet high at its peak.

Carroll’s Home Improvement, long a staple of Shelton’s downtown, went out of business in April 2014 after 60 years at the site.