Shelton's delayed affordable housing plan holds up zoning rulings on two apartment projects

SHELTON — Decisions on two separate proposed apartment developments have been placed on hold. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting this week, voted to table any decisions on two separate apartment projects — a 52-apartment plan at 1055 Bridgeport Ave., present home of Langanke’s Florist and Greenhouses, and a 37-unit building at 301 Old Bridgeport Ave. — until completion of the city’s affordable housing plan and study of the impacts of high-density housing outside the downtown.

“We are missing an opportunity here,” said Commissioner Ruth Parkins, referring to the chance to increase the city’s affordable housing stock. 

The city’s affordable housing plan, which is required by the state and was originally due last summer, is in draft form and was looked at for the first time by the full commission only moments after the applications were discussed Wednesday. 

Once approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the plan must then be approved by the Board of Aldermen. 

The commission last year also established a temporary moratorium on any new multi-family residential rental housing units throughout the city, except in the Central Business District, which encompasses downtown. The moratorium took effect June 10, but these two plans were submitted prior to it taking effect. 

Developers of both projects agreed to make 10 percent of the units built affordable under state statute 8-30g. 

“Shelton is a desirable place to be, as we have seen nonstop applications for high-density residential development that is fully occupied once built,” said Commissioner Jimmy Tickey. “The Planning & Zoning Commission should be strategic in our planning, ensuring that developments are best for the future growth of our city, and that they add to diverse housing stock with more workforce housing and more affordable options for people.” 

Tickey noted the moratorium and agreed with Parkins that the commission should finish its work first on the affordable housing plan before approving more high-density residential developments. 

“We are the Planning & Zoning Commission, and it's important we don't lose sight of the planning piece,” Tickey added. 

Talk of delaying any resolutions began during discussion on Langanke’s Landing, LLC's plans for a four-story, 48,648-square-foot structure with 52 apartments and 93 parking spaces on Bridgeport Avenue. The original proposal called for 62 units.  

The commissioners all acknowledged their support for the plan, but Parkins stated she would deny the Planned Development District application without prejudice. That would allow the developer to refile after the commission had its affordable housing plan in place. 

“I think we are missing a chance to add affordable units,” Parkins said. 

After tabling the Langanke’s Landing, LLC, plan, the commission followed by tabling Ben Perry’s proposed apartment project on Old Bridgeport Avenue. “We need to be consistent,” Kelly said. 

“A few months is not going to make or break (these projects),” Parkins added. 

Perry's building, if approved, would have 11 studios, 25 one-bedrooms and one two-bedroom apartment in what would be a 10,400-square-foot, three-and-half story structure. The new plans also allow for a reduction in necessary parking, from 81 to 76, some of which would be underground.