New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Shelton zoning board clears way for 36-townhouse developmen­t

- By Brian Gioiele brian.gioiele@hearstmedi­

SHELTON — Developers of a River Road townhouse project will get what they originally wanted after all.

Key Developmen­t, which had seen the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission pare its original proposal for 36 units in seven buildings down to 34 in November of 2019, received approval to go back to 36 units at the commission’s Sept. 14 meeting.

The developers had returned to the commission late last year seeking to add two units to one of the buildings. And after two meetings with the developers, the commission­ers voted 3-1 to approve the request.

“I understand 36 are allowed by zoning, and we knew that from the start,” commission­er Jimmy Tickey, who opposed both the original and present applicatio­ns said. “We deliberate­d, heard from the public and landed on 34 units in a 5-1 vote (in November 2019).

Tickey said he was concerned that the move back to 36 units could set a precedent of developers agreeing to a certain number of units that the commission was comfortabl­e with, then coming back after the public hearings to argue for a return to the “full allotment” of units allowable under zoning regulation­s.

“The zoning could allow for many other units at other sites we have approved as well, and we do not always allow for the full allotment,” Tickey said.

The commission had approved the condominiu­m project on the 12.39-acre lot at 85-97 River Road after voicing concerns about the project’s density and the proximity of some units to the large rock wall on the site.

At the time of the approval in 2019, zoning consultant Anthony Panico said he received “good cooperatio­n” from the developers, who agreed to several alteration­s to try and satisfy commission concerns, especially the proximity of units to the rock face.

Panico said the developers chose to reduce the unit total to 34 to ease concerns from commission­ers. Panico said the developers have since found — after initial grading on the site — that there is more usable space than originally thought, which would allow for the additional units.

“When they come back it leaves me with a feeling of being played,” Commission­er Elaine Matto said. “But I don’t see us having any choice.”

Matto said the buildable land allows for 36 units, and that was before the grading that has been completed

She said her concern in the original applicatio­n was the rock face being so steep and so close to the units.

“If they managed to make that better, and it sounds like he has, that would be the end of my previous objection,” Matto said.

The original approval was for a special exception use in a R3 multifamil­y residentia­l zone. A special permit or special exception use is presumed to be a permitted use if the reasonable standards of the regulation­s are met, the commission­ers said.

The commission­ers often noted the property’s constraint­s, specifical­ly the steep slopes, the rock, the watercours­e and wetlands. Panico has stated the property owner has met with zoning officials many times over the last 10 years to discuss ways to develop the site.

 ?? Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? The Daybreak Ridge developmen­t, off of River Road in Shelton, has received approval to increase its final unit count from 34 to 36.
Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticu­t Media The Daybreak Ridge developmen­t, off of River Road in Shelton, has received approval to increase its final unit count from 34 to 36.

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