Shelton zoning records show 80% rise in home offices

Exterior of Shelton City Hall, in Shelton, Conn. Jan. 11, 2021.

Exterior of Shelton City Hall, in Shelton, Conn. Jan. 11, 2021.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — Certificates of zoning compliance jumped 28 percent over 2020, led by an increase in home offices in the city, according to zoning officials.

Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator and Zoning Enforcement Officer Josh O’Neill, in his annual report to the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday, said the department reviewed and processed 435 certificates of zoning compliance in 2021, compared to 339 the previous year.

“We expected an increase,” said O’Neill, adding that the numbers were lower than normal in 2020 because his office was shut down for periods of time due to the pandemic.

The largest jump came in certificates of zoning compliance for home offices, which jumped from 32 in 2020 to 58 this past year - an increase of 81 percent.

Among other categories, O’Neill said there were 40 for new homes, 41 for attached additions, 144 for a detached structure, 76 for business occupancy, 32 for signs, and 17 for commercial construction.

Overall, there were 30 applications submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission last year. That is a slight increase over the 26 filed in 2019.

In 2020, the report states that the city approved 15 applications and the applicants withdrew six. The commission denied one application, which was the request to allow apartments on the second floor of the Riverview Retail Center at 131 Canal St. Eight projects are still in the review process.

On the zoning enforcement side, O’Neill said there were 55 complaints, five less than 2019. His office resolved 40 of the 2020 complaints, with the most coming from issues with unregistered vehicles or commercial equipment on properties in residential neighborhoods.

Other complaints focused on property line arguments such disputes over property lines, shared trees or fencing; soil and erosion control issues; non-permitted uses; and chickens on properties, which typically involves coops not meeting setback requirements or chickens or roosters not being allowed based on lot size.

O’Neill said there are still 15 complaints that remain open pending a resolution.