The Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night approved a zoning change from residential to PDD (Planned Development District) so that a Torrington developer may build a 36-unit condominium complex at 550 River Rd., a 9.3 acre space currently owned by the city's mayor Mark Lauretti.
The plan details a 108 bedroom count, with just under three parking spaces per unit and 34 visitor spaces. The development is to be called Blue Heron Cove and is described as townhouses for "mature families and professionals."
The city of Shelton would not be responsible for maintaining the property. There would be private road maintenance, trash, recycling, etc. and therefore "no drain on city resources," said Peter Hughes of Country Club LLC, the Torrington-based developer who submitted the application.
The vote was 5 to 1, with commissioner Joan Flannery being the only opponent. She produced a letter stating the site could be an Indian burial ground. Because she brought it up after the vote was taken, Chairman Ruth Parkins said the letter could not be read into record.
Flannery also cited concerns about chemical contamination, as the site once had an industrial use, but tests have shown the property is safe for public residence.
With its vote, PZC also "conditionally approved" the final site development plan for the project, subject to certain changes based on review by the fire marshal, WPCA and all other applicable boards and commissions.
It had previously been suggested that the space be turned into a city park, but the Board of Aldermen rejected the idea and the property has continued to be the subject of controversy. An ethics complaint was filed against Lauretti in 2004, claiming he used his position to secure the land and should have given the BOA the option of buying only the uncontaminated ground. The complaint was denied by the Ethics Board.