Favorable solution being created for Shelter Ridge application

Commission’s official decision to be made in March

For those who thought Valentine’s Day would bring the Planning and Zoning Commission a change of heart in regards to the much opposed Towne Center at Shelter Ridge application, were sadly mistaken.

Although the commission was granted yet another 30-day extension by developers until it officially declares its decision on the 121-acre application, Planning and Zoning Chairman Ruth Parkins said the majority of the commission have already agreed on a favorable outcome for the application.

The Commission has until March 2 to create its resolution with this most recent extension granted by the developer and it could end up voting on the resolution at its March 7 meeting.

Commissioner Jimmy Tickey, the lone member of the P&Z to openly oppose the application that stretches from Bridgeport Avenue to a portion of Buddington Road and Mill Street said many people were unaware that “the damage was done at the last meeting” on Jan. 19.

Tickey said although he expects the commission vote to approve the application for nearly 400 apartment units and more than 300,000 square feet of retail space at the commission’s March 7 meeting, he still plans to vote against the application.

Words falling on deaf ears?

Despite hundreds of residents speaking out against the application over the past 10 months or so and the commission having questions of its own about its impact on traffic, P&Z Consultant Anthony Panico said he is currently working on writing the favorable resolution that he aims to complete by the end of February.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Chairman Parkins said the number of accidents that occur on Bridgeport Avenue are instances that drivers are responsible for and is not something that can be attributed to a development or proposed application.

“You can’t control operator error,” Parkins said. “You can’t control drivers… People need to pay more attention and stop driving distracted.”

Tickey disagreed and said he thinks the approval of the application will negatively affect the already bad traffic situation on Bridgeport Avenue and will increase the number of opportunities for car accidents.

“Whether it’s operator error or distracted driving or just more cars entering into that area, you’re going to be dealing with higher risk of folks getting into accidents if major improvements aren’t made,” said Tickey.