21 Aug 2014
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Perillo: Apartment Complex Will 'Derail' Downtown Revitalization

The Planning and Zoning Commission met last night to further discuss plans for a new upscale apartment complex in Shelton.

Perillo: Apartment Complex Will 'Derail' Downtown Revitalization Perillo: Apartment Complex Will 'Derail' Downtown Revitalization Perillo: Apartment Complex Will 'Derail' Downtown Revitalization Perillo: Apartment Complex Will 'Derail' Downtown Revitalization

The continuation of a public hearing for a $30-40 million apartment complex at 740 Bridgeport Ave. was held Wednesday night at City Hall, and one former Planning & Zoning Commission member was present to speak against the proposed construction plans.

The 13-acre property up for discussion is tucked behind Planet Fitness and currently owned by the Francini family. Attorney Dominick Thomas represented the developers, Talbot Partners LLC, and reported that the site has been marketed for a number of years to no fruition.

"If you wait for someone to propose an office or industrial use, I don't think your children or grandchildren will ever see it," Thomas said.

The proposed apartment complex, Valley Glen, would consist of 252 "upscale" units, 418 parking spaces, a 4,660 square-foot clubhouse, a pool, workout room, indoor theater, outdoor fireplace and grills, locker rooms and business center. The monthly rental price for the studio, one or two bedroom units would be between $1,450 and $1,950. Though architects on the project said these amenities are "unprecedented" in typical apartment structures, Shelton's representative at the Capitol in Hartford does not feel it would be a good addition to the community.

"This will have severe detrimental implications to what we're trying to do downtown," said Jason Perillo (R-113).

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He cited current building projects in the downtown area (like the Avalon Bay complex) and future ones (such as the old Spongex property), as the focus of the city's work, and said he feels the Valley Glen complex will cut into the demand for housing and take away from their anticipated success.

"If we want to see downtown revitalized, we can't support projects like this," Perillo said. "It will derail the efforts of the SEDC, zoning commission and city officials."

Thomas argued that the need for housing is already there and will continue to grow as both baby boomers and echo boomers move into a "rental generation."

Also present to speak against the construction plans was Shelton's Conservation Commission chairman, Thomas Harbinson. In a letter to the PZC, he said the Commission finds the zone change to be "inconsistent with the overall goals outlined in the City's Plan of Conservation and Development."

While there is no use for the land as open space, commissioner Elaine Matto did point out to Harbinson that there is "green value" in having people live closer to where they work, and with some 20,000 people commuting into Shelton every day for work there is a need and purpose for the apartments.

PZC has not yet voted on this zone change application.

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