City being sued over Shelter Ridge approval

Residents opposed to an approved zone change and development are currently raising funds to fight the city of Shelton in a lawsuit that challenges the procedure used in the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision process.

The group, known as Save Our Shelton, has hired two lawyers to fight the city in the hope of having approval of the project on the local 121-acre parcel overturned.

“We, Save Our Shelton, decided that we’re not going to allow our neighborhoods to be destroyed. Shelton is changing,” said one of Save Our Shelton’s leaders, Greg Tetro. “We are going to fight back using all legal means available. Our hope is that this would possibly make it so all future PDDs can be overturned.”

Now the group is looking for help to pay the bill.

“We’re pushing funding really hard for the next six to eight months because we need it. We’re doing some door-to-door, but people can mail in checks or donate through our site,” said Tetro. “We are accepting cash, checks or they can donate through our website, because this development could change Shelton forever.

“Ultimately what we want to do is have Save Our Shelton become a ‘watchdog’ for all of Shelton and all of its developments. We’re not against developments, but we want responsible developments.”

Tetro said Joel Green is the lawyer hired to fight the case. Green, who works for the firm of Green and Gross in Bridgeport, was unavailable for comment as of Wednesday morning.

Going forward

The Shelton P&Z approved the PDD and zone change for the Towne Center at Shelter Ridge development at its March 7 meeting by a vote of 4-2 (Commissioners Parkins, Harger, Miller, and Matto voted in favor of the PDD; Tickey and Pagoda against).

Shelter Ridge would be a long-term project that emcompasses both residential units and retail space — 375 “upscale” apartments and 300,000 square feet of retail space, to be exact.

Residents concerned about possible negative effects of the development have been presenting their argument at P&Z meetings for the last year.

People opposed to the development and zone change have said Shelter Ridge would result in an increase in the volume of traffic the city currently experiences, increase an already high density of rental housing, result in blasting and construction for up to 10 years, and pollute the Mill River as well as the habitat of local wildlife.

Tetro said a separate lawsuit will be filed to show that the development will also infringe upon the city’s wetlands. The separate lawsuit led SOS to hire an additional attorney, Keith Ainsworth.

The Save Our Shelton Facebook page says those interested in donating to the cause may mail checks payable to the Law Offices of Keith Ainsworth Esq. LLC, Trustee for Caitlin Augusta.

All donations are confidential, non-refundable, and not tax-deductible.

According to the opposition’s Facebook page, $24,000 will fund a legal and scientific case over wetlands.

A hearing is scheduled for April 28 in Milford Superior Court.