Shelton P&Z offers gives thumbs up to former Chromium Process site sale

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — The city’s deal to sell 113 Canal St., the former Chromium Process site, to developers John Guedes and Biagio Barone has cleared its final hurdle.

The Planning and Zoning Commission this week voted 5-1, with commissioner Mark Widomski opposed, to offer a positive referral of the sale of the city property to the developers for $100,000.

As part of the agreement, the developers will pay some $137,500 for brick pavers for the River Walk extension being built at the rear of 129 Canal St.

The original purchase price for the property was $250,000, but Guedes and Barone reduced their offer to $100,000 after learning that a portion of the former Chromium Process site — listed as 125 Canal St. — had been sold by the city to developer Angelo Melisi.

During the discussion, commission Chair Virginia Harger read a letter into the record from attorneys representing Melisi, owner of Bridge Street Commons I and II, which are across Canal Street from the former Chromium Process site.

The letter stated that, if the city were to reject the deal with Guedes and Barone, Melisi would offer to purchase the property for $250,000. The letter further stated that he would use the property for parking.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, who has stated he attempted to reach out to reacquire 125 Canal St. From Melisi to no avail, responded with criticism to the letter.

“He wants to bid on it after the fact,” Lauretti said. “Also his facts are incorrect. We’re not selling it for $100,000 — there’s a provision that the buyer will build the Riverwalk, which is expensive ... about $160,000.”

Guedes said he had prepared development plans for a four-story, 26,000-square-foot recreation building with a two-deck parking garage. Those plans called for use of the triangular-shaped, 0.10-acre lot listed as 125 Canal St. for the entrance into the proposed parking lot.

Those plans had to change when, Guedes said, he learned that the city had sold that piece of property to Melisi last year for $4,000. Lauretti asked the Board of Aldermen to use eminent domain to take the property back, but his request was rejected.

Commissioners did voice concerns about the loss of the former Chromium Process property which is used for downtown parking.

"The loss of this parcel of land as parking will cost us more than 70 parking spots, which people use every day,” commissioner Jimmy Tickey said. “Downtown Shelton needs additional parking, and we must work to identify other areas of parking that have proper signage and lighting.

“We need to work collaboratively as we try to realize a master plan for downtown Shelton. Parking, traffic flows and inviting streets are key to its success,” Tickey added.

Downtown Development Director Ken Nappi said the reduction of the 70 spaces will be made up through the city’s parking lease at the Eversource property, across the street from the newly completed Cedar Village at Carroll’s. Nappi said the leased spaces would make some 590 parking spaces available downtown.