Connecticut Post (Sunday)
Shelton mulls pause on apartment construction
Rule wouldn’t extend to downtown
SHELTON — With the city’s affordable housing plan not yet formally approved, the Planning and Zoning Commission hopes to extend its moratorium on apartment buildings everywhere but downtown.
The commission, at its meeting Wednesday, voted to hold a public hearing on March 29 to discuss extending the moratorium on new multi-family residential rental housing units throughout the city, except in the Central Business District, which encompasses downtown.
The moratorium extension would run for a maximum of six additional months, ending no later than Sept. 30, unless the commission decides it would be appropriate to end it sooner. The original moratorium took effect June 10, 2022, and several applications filed prior to that date are still awaiting the commission’s decision.
“We definitely want this (moratorium) to be shorter,” said Commissioner Ruth Parkins, who sat on the subcommittee on this topic with fellow commissioners Elaine Matto and Charles Kelly. “We do not want this to be longer than six months.”
“We decided we needed a little more time. We are not unduly delaying the process,” Parkins added. “We don’t want to accept new applications in these areas until we know what the final affordable housing guidance will be.”
Shelton’s plan was a joint effort of the commission and the Planning & Zoning department staff and includes a guide on the percentage of affordable units the commission would require of highdensity residential rental projects.
“Section 8-30g of the Connecticut General Statutes gives the land use board of a municipality the responsibility of developing a plan to provide affordable housing in its community,” said Commission Chair Virginia Harger.
“Having affordable housing options means that young people who return to Shelton after college or serving in the military can again reside in their hometown,” Harger added. “It gives older residents who want to downsize a greater ability to do so. It assists those employed in lower paying jobs a chance to live where they work.”
The commission is in the process of putting the affordable housing plan on the city’s website for residents to read and comment if they choose by March 28, one day before the commission’s next meeting, at which the intent is for the commission to approve the plan and forward it to the Board of Aldermen. The aldermen will then hold a public hearing and finally vote to adopt the plan.
When the moratorium was first approved, Harger said it offered the commission the opportunity to investigate the impact of these projects on traffic and parking; the city’s sewer system; potential increases in demands on police and the schools; an increase in light pollution during the evening; and whether state and local governments need to make necessary public infrastructure improvements.
In its original resolution, the commission stated that the city has seen “exceptional growth” in the number of such developments in recent years through the use of the Planned Development District zoning protocol.
“As a result, there has been concern on behalf of the Commission members as to whether the continued approval of such multifamily residential rental
unit projects is changing the nature of those neighborhoods,” the resolution stated.
The commission‘s resolution also stated that the increased density from the developments place additional demand on municipal services, in particular, the sewer system.