Developers address Shelton as opposition continues

The opposition to the Shelter Ridge proposal continued to press the Planning and Zoning Commision to deny the application at their June 28 meeting in the Shelton Intermediate School auditorium.

Following an hour and one-half of public comments, the developers’ team of attorneys, engineers and architects addressed the crowd and their questions showing some willingness to work with their feedback.

Site attorney Dominick Thomas said the applicant may consider reducing the density of the would-be nine story 450-unit apartment building located on the 121 acres of property. One possible way of modifying the plan would be to make the building five stories instead, according to Thomas. He discussed the additional expenses that may come along with this.

Thomas said he has been in similar situations in past years facing large oppositions of proposals.

"I've been making these applications, representing applicants for 20 some odd years through two economic downturns, it would be very interesting if you could go back and pull the tapes or the minutes of many of these projects especially the ones along Bridgeport Avenue, the ones in corporate area,” said site attorney Dominick Thomas. “You would hear exactly the same language, you will hear that it will destroy downtown.”

He challenged opponents, recalling years back when people said Bridgeport Avenue will become Boston Post Road. He encouraged those opposed to go and compare the quality of development in the two areas.

Save Our Shelton representative Steven Trinkaus, an engineer from Southbury, spoke about his concerns of the development’s potential effects on water quality, runoff from the development and cutting into the land.

Nearly 100 people attended the meeting waiting to speak or hear what others had to say in regards to the proposal. Out of the list of speakers carrying over from the commission’s May 31 meeting, 30 people’s names were read with several not in attendance.

Some residents said the length of time in between in each of the public hearings could ultimately affect the attendance of the meeting.

“We are not working with the landform here at all this is kind of what I term leveling then build what you want,” said Trinkaus. “That clearly does not appear to make any reasonable attempts to work with the natural landform at all."

He also raised concern over the effects on water infiltration from parking lots and buildings being constructed.

"When you pave over the world effectively enough, what is occurring here you eliminate that ground water recharge to the wetland and watercourse systems, now you will see adverse impacts to those wetland and watercourse systems because they are going to dry up sooner during the year,” Trinkaus said. “They are not going to have that groundwater component coming into them and that affects biological community around those stream systems also."

After Trinkaus spoke, the majority of the crowd still opposed the development.

According to Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Ruth Parkins, the commission will conduct an independent traffic peer review study to present at the next hearing.

Shelton resident, Gregory Tetro expressed concern over the traffic study being issued by the commission.

“A traffic study now does really nothing for us,” said Tetro. “It tells us how we are doing on a time where everybody is on vacation, when people aren't around as much, when people are off. What I would love to see is a traffic study of main street Trumbull from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after the new year and see what the traffic is like.”

Brothers Bradley and Schuyler Wells voiced their support of Shelter Ridge by acknowledging the economic and developmental benefits that could take place should the commission approve the application. Bradley read a speech written by his father Royal Wells who is a developer for the site.

"I stand before you tonight to commend the developer of Shelter Ridge who has put a lot of time and money and thought into choosing the right way to develop this parcel, the Shelter Ridge project would be an asset to the city as well as its residents,” said Schuyler Wells. “Put your emotions aside, educate yourselves in the project and its benefits.”

After the Wells family spoke, the opposition to the proposal continued.

"This proposal is absurd I think it's way too big for the land in question and I'm surprised that the Well's family would want to see their land desecrated in the fashion that it would be if this proposal went through," Shelton resident Hilda Wilson said.

The next public hearing has been moved from July 26 and will be held at City Hall on July 27 and is set to begin at 7 p.m.