Shelton approves 30 apartments on Old Bridgeport Ave.

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — The city’s apartment stock is receiving another boost.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting last week, approved developer James Blakeman’s proposed apartment building at 309 Old Bridgeport Ave., the property where previous owners had proposed opening a speakeasy named Hush.

Blakeman’s plans call for construction of a building with 30 apartments and onsite parking on the site of the former Hunan Pan restaurant.

The apartment building will match Brookview Apartments, the structure developed by Blakeman and already in place at 305 Old Bridgeport Ave. It would replace the two-story structure and paving presently on the site.

Blakeman called his latest plans Phase Two, and the new building, as presently proposed, would be a carbon copy of the existing one, which was finished two years ago.

Currently, the site is accessed from Sunwood Drive off Old Bridgeport Avenue. The plans state that a new driveway entrance into the proposed off-street parking area will be created to be accessed from Sunwood Drive.

This was not lost on Commissioner Ruth Parkins, who said she was not opposed to Blakeman’s proposal, but ultimately voted against the plan.

“I do not want to be a situation where we are picking winners and losers,” Parkins said. “These are all PDDs (Planned Development District). We can say no. We don’t have to say yes.”

Parkins said her concerns come from a housing market that again appears in flux. She said these latest changes in the market could lead to apartments being less attractive, leaving the city with an overabundance of such units.

At this point, there are three high-density proposals in the zoning department pipeline — a 43-unit proposal on Old Bridgeport Avenue, a 152-apartment plan at 435 River Road, and 94 apartments on Todd Road. These, along with Blakeman’s recent plan, were submitted prior to the establishment of the moratorium.

Zoning consultant Tony Panico said such development proposals can take three to six months before final decisions are made, and these projects were all in the pipeline before the moratorium was even discussed.

“We can deny without prejudice, and let things settle down until the end of the moratorium,” Parkins said. “We can let them come back and waive all fees.”

Commission Chair Virginia Harger said a special commission subcommittee — with commissioners Elaine Matto, Charlie Kelly and Parkins as members — has been established but has not yet begun meeting.