P&Z discusses mixed-use facility in Heights
Published 1:05 am, Friday, July 30, 2010
The proposal for a new mixed-use zone in the Noroton Heights shopping area went before the Planning and Zoning Commission for a final time to address concerns from residents in the area.
Attorney Bruce Hill, at the request of the P&Z Commission, discussed the concerns he had received from residents about the potential impact of the overlay zone. The concerns ranged from issues with traffic, storm water management and devalued residential properties.
"The concerns raised were understandable for this type of application," Hill said. However, Hill stressed there were protections in place to prevent uncontrolled development.
"One of the most important safeguards is that an applicant must submit to the special permits process," Hill said.
Hill acknowledged the frustrations with the lack of a specific plan, but added there are certain issues, such as storm water drainage, that can't be addressed until building begins.
Chairman Fred Conze responded by saying the drainage problem wouldn't be solved by any one person.
"This is a town problem and I'm not sure the town has a lot of arrows in its quiver to solve the problem," Conze said.
In regard to concerns with increased traffic, Hill told the commission traffic studies had been conducted but he was concerned with the feasibility of the studies. Conze agreed with Hill, saying it would be difficult to determine the potential impact at the moment without a baseline from which to work.
Residents who were concerned with the potential devaluation of their property were told not to worry as Hill explained to the commission he has never seen it happen.
"I don't believe that would happen in this case," Hill said. Residents feared that if residential units are developed within the Noroton Heights shopping center, the value of their property would decrease. However, Hill was unsure whether any residential units would even be built.