Residents oppose Long Hill condos

The Planning and Zoning Commission has 65 days to make a decision on the proposed zone change and application for 14 condominiums to be built on the property of 405 Long Hill Avenue as the public portion closed at the Tuesday, May 10, meeting.

Site attorney Dominick Thomas presented a modified site plan for the application of “Brookeview Heights,” which would be composed of seven duplex “luxury” condominiums compared to the initial plan that included building 18 condominiums on the same four-acre property.

An engineer summarized the data revealed by the traffic study submitted at the previous hearing by saying that after a thorough review there would be no significant impact on traffic along adjacent roadways as a result of the development.

Multiple residents were upset when they heard the data revealed by the traffic study and claimed it didn’t adequately show the effects on traffic in the event of an accident on Bridgeport Avenue or Route 8. They also said that although no accidents have been recorded in the area of the site, accidents have occurred in the area and they are fearful that having condos in place would increase the risk of one happening.

The engineer raised two of his own issues with the modified site plan, including the ability of emergency vehicles to get in and out of the property. He also recommended more dialogue with Fire Marshal James Tortora to discuss the possibility of creating an additional entrance to the property.

The chairman of the P&Z Commission, Ruth Parkins, said the concerns of the engineer had already been addressed by Tortora.

Aldermen John Anglace and Lynne Farrell attended the meeting not only to represent residents of the 3rd Ward but also to voice their own opposition to the application.

“I bought my house 30 years ago. This is the style I picked, this is the place I wanted to live, and now you’re changing the rules. I rely on you people to give me the R1 living I bought into,” said Anglace.

“I came to live here from another area and I want to stay, because my heart is in the community. I don’t want to see a zone change that would cause any problems for anyone, including myself,” said Farrell.

Anglace proposed an alternative to condos being built.

“Four acres, four houses. Welcome to the neighborhood,” said Anglace.

Tom Harbinson suggested that developers look into other properties in the area that would be available to develop a PDD.

“Be mindful that while this is one application in this particular area, there are other large acreages. There’s a 10-acre parcel across the street, there’s another six- or seven-acre parcel and some adjoining parcels that are owned by the same parties that could be assembled to create another type of PDD,” said Harbinson.

He added he thinks the PDD usage in residential zones should be strongly reconsidered by the commission.

Attorney Thomas responded to residents’ suggestions, questions and concerns at the end of the public portion.

“You can always provide antidotal anecdotal incidents about what will happen on Route 8, but no one knows it better than me, because I look at the traffic from my office,” said Thomas. “In fact, when the statement is made ‘use it the way it is zoned,’ what that is telling me is go back to the Zoning Board of Appeals, get the variance, which would be a slam dunk because without it the property is confiscated. … It is zoned IA2. The problem is that the entrance to the property goes through a residential zone and requires a variance.”

Shelton Planning and Zoning administrator Rick Schultz said the commission has 65 days to come to a decision on the application. It will continue to review all of the presented data and testimony.