SHELTON, Conn. — Concerned Shelton residents will demonstrate before Thursday’s Planning and Zoning vote on the proposed Towne Center at Shelter Ridge, saying the massive complex would cause too much traffic, destroy a scenic road and adversely affect the town’s quality of life.
Some say the 123-acre mixed-use development is simply not the best use of the Bridgeport Avenue site, when questions abound about the viability of luxury apartments and brick-and-mortar stores in the internet-shopping age, said Caitlin Augusta, a member of Save Our Shelton (SOS).
“We feel Shelton is losing its essential character and its quality of life for residents,” Augusta said Tuesday.
Augusta said the group feels the proposal — which includes 450 apartments and 300,000 square feet of retail space — will spell intense road work and congestion and could harm the Far Mill River.
Save Our Shelton will protest from 6:30 p.m. until the meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at City Hall, 54 Hill St. Augusta said she couldn’t say for sure how many demonstrators might show up, but the group’s Facebook page has 1,540 likes and more than 20,000 views, as of last summer.
The group’s e-mail list includes “several hundred people,” Augusta said.
The development has received much attention and concern from residents during public hearings over the last year. Hundreds packed Shelton Intermediate School for one meeting.
One of SOS’s prime concerns is zoning and residential life, especially for homeowners just behind the property in one-acre zoning.
“They purchased their properties in accordance with current zoning believing they would have the residential experience and their property values would remain stable,” Augusta said. “A development of this size is going to severely impact their property value as well as their quality of life.”
Many of the homes have wells and owners worry that blasting and construction might put those in jeopardy, she said.
The proposal also calls for a mandatory fire exit onto winding Buddington Road.
“Residents on Buddington are extraordinarily concerned about safety, because Buddington Road cannot be safely improved to accommodate for this added traffic,” Augusta said.
SOS has been actively involved since the proposal was first announced, meeting with city aldermen and state representatives and writing letters to Mayor Mark Lauretti and the Planning & Zoning members.
Members have passed out flyers at events, been present for every meeting on the project and contacted state agencies and nonprofits about environmental issues.
“We do have a lawyer and a consulting engineer who are advising us,” Augusta said, “and we are using them when it is appropriate.
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