MONROE — The Planning and Zoning Commission, meeting Thursday, July 18, conducted a pre-application appointment and several public hearings.

The appointment dealt with two related properties, one at 7 and 15 Main St. and one at 4 Main St. The project is for for mixed-use development that would include both apartments and retail space.

The property at 4 Main St. crosses the Monroe-Trumbull town line. The two projects are adjacent to the proposed Victoria Place development.

Kevin Solli of Solli Engineering presented the projects on behalf of the owners. Mr. Solli explained that both properties are zoned as Business District 3; the applicants seek to change both to mixed-use.

“It would really serve as a gateway as you enter into the town of Monroe,” Mr. Solli said.

He explained that the developments would include retail, office and restaurant space alongside residential units. 

The proposal at 4 Main St. includes 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 8,000 square feet of office and storage space and up to 37 apartments.

The proposal at 7 and 15 Main St. would be a multi-level facility which would have 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the lower level and a second floor that included about 10 apartments.

He said that the applicant would immediately start working with staff on the wetlands remediations that would be required as well as other missing permits.

“We think that in general the introduction of multi-family units above retail, creating that mixed-use component, really could serve as a benefit to the community. It could open up some additional housing options that don’t currently exist in town,” Mr. Solli said. “[A]nd it could really create some exciting opportunities for some mixed-use developments, which is really the trend we’re seeing throughout the region.”

Chairman William Porter asked about the mixed-use regulations in Trumbull. Mr. Solli gave examples of developments that were similar to what the applicant was proposing.

Mr. Porter clarified that he was more concerned about the specific zone in Trumbull where the development would be built.

“What [Trumbull] recommended was that property currently doesn’t allow a mixed-use component, but they’re supportive of it,” Mr. Solli said. “What they suggested was start with Monroe, because obviously we’re not only interested in the property that straddles the town line, but also the property across the street.”

Mr. Solli also hoped any decision on Monroe’s part would influence Trumbull.

Mr. Porter said he felt that mixed-use is something the town should pursue to help property owners with empty space. He also said he wanted mixed-use to be a focus of the Plan of Conservation and Development analysis. However, he said septic consideration would affect where things could be placed.

Mr. Solli said there was a good soil space to place a septic system. He also said that the design would mean the buildings would be able to connect into the Trumbull sewer system.

Alternate Kenneth Wielk asked about the finances regarding using the Trumbull sewers. Mr. Solli said there are fees associated, but the economic contribution would offset those costs.

Planning and Zoning Administrator William Agresta said the developers have to look at what they want to achieve within the town specifically when pursuing a mixed-use property. He also said that the development would fill a need for affordable apartments in town.

Mr. Porter ended the discussion by saying that the property owners needed to address permitting as soon as possible.

The first public hearing dealt with a special exception permit for a pet grooming business at 537 Monroe Tpke.

The applicant, Anthony Beltrone, is the owner of the Choice Pet Supply, which already exists at the location. The permit would allow for bathtubs and dryers to be installed in the back corner of the store so that customers could wash their animals themselves.

The Health Department had looked through the application and found no issues. The commission closed the hearing.

The second hearing dealt with a scenic road application to allow for paving of a driveway at 296 Garder Rd.

The owner of the property is Janet DeCarlo. Michael O’Bymachow represented the applicant.

The applicant has received the required wetlands permit and the driveway has been graded for sightlines. The driveway apron would be made of gravel to match the scenic road requirements. Some driveways on the road are paved and others are gravel.

There was a public comment attesting to the fact that some driveways on the road are gravel.

The commission closed the hearing.

The third hearing dealt with a special exception permit to modify the standing approved site plan for 74 Enterprise Dr.

The applicant is Michael Infante; David Bjorklund of Spath-Bjorklund Associates gave the presentation.

Mr. Bjorklund said the applicant has received Inland Wetlands approval for the changes to the site to allow for a truck repair business. He also went through a few housekeeping items and updates.

Mr. Bjorklund said that he believed the bond that was recommended by Town Engineer Scott Schatzlein overlapped with the wetlands request. He asked for the bond to be reduced from $22,000 to $15,000.

Mr. Schatzlein replied by saying that he had already subtracted any perceived overlaps and the bond stood at its current amount.

Chairman Porter said he was concerned that what was actually built during Phase 1 was different from what was planned and the implications this has for Phase 2 of the plan. He requested that the plan for Phase 2 match what is intended to be built.

Mr. Schatzlein commented that he he believes the applicant needs to include a retaining wall to deal with problems with a front yard slope. 

Mr. Porter suggested a higher curb also be added to deal with any slope change.

The applicant said that the jersey barriers would be removed once the project is completed and that all construction equipment would be moved.

The commission closed the hearing.

The commission approved the application for 537 Monroe Tpke. and directed staff to draft approval resolutions for 296 Garder Rd. and 74 Enterprise Dr.

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