LETTER: Should not be all about development

To the Editor:

SHD Hawley, LLC proposes to convert the 99 HawIey Lane Office Park Development to “mixed-use” residential development by constructing 300 one and two-bedroom apartments behind the Big Y in four buildings of which three would be six stories high, with 524 parking spaces and possibly a restaurant. They have requested a zoning regulations amendment to add residential as a permitted use along with other new provisions. The apartments would abut protected inland wetlands identified in the 2013 Stratford Plan of Conservation and Development as part of the proposed Greenspace Network.

The POCD emphasizes balance between residential and industrial/commercial development to “foster economic vitality, while preserving the character of neighborhoods and the community,” to encourage a “dense, mixed-use approach to land development where appropriate” (italics added).

The Planning Commission tabled the request on Feb. 21; its next meeting is March 21. The Zoning Commission deferred the matter to its March 28 meeting with a public hearing at 7 p.m.

Hawley Lane is a major, congested shopping and residential thoroughfare, with considerable traffic throughout the day and evening.  At least 20 issues have been identified in letters from neighbors to the Planning Commission, ranging from traffic to environmental impact to required town services such as sewers, public and fire safety as well as impact on schools, roads, water and wetlands. Six-story buildings and greatly increased traffic could impact adversely on neighborhood character and public safety.

I hope Stratford isn’t about development no matter what the consequences. Let’s be sure to exercise our rights as citizens by continuing to contact the Planning and Zoning commissions and other elected officials, and attending all upcoming public meetings to assure open and thorough public discussion before action is taken on the proposed text amendment and new text.

Jessica Wolf


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  • Matt

    Wouldn’t it be more prudent to develop Barnum Ave (Route 1) with mixed use development. The properties from Rumors Cafe to the go cart track on Barnum Ave Cutoff could be razed and re-developed as mixed use residential, retail/restaurant and office space, with parking underneath and /or in the back of the buildings (within walking distance to the train station – a la transit oriented district type development that is not encroaching on the historic district). This would make more sense to me than the proposed (maybe even approved) self-storage development for current property in the strip. The same could be done on the on the other side of the street, where the parking lot to the west of Burlington has been under/unused since the days of Grandway and Grand Union. Further up Barnum (and still in walking distance to train station) the building that houses Salernos is for sale. This building and the neighboring two buildings that includes the former Mudricks Appliance property could be razed and redeveloped to have retail and restaurant space on the ground level and offices and apts upstairs, with parking located in ample paking space that is already located behind the building and accessible from Booth Street. Both sides of Barnum Ave between Nichols Ave/ King Street up to California Street have the same potential as does the south side from the bowling alley to the long shuttered Mexican restaurant across the street from Gaetanos Deli’s new location. The town needs to market this idea to investors that could work with the current owners and businesses to re-develop all of this prime US Route 1 property that would increase our tax base with more than just apartments and condos. Just my thoughts…wish I had the funds to develop, I think it is an idea with great return on investment possibilities!

    • Kevin Mathews

      Good thoughts but the people like Knott & Owen wont go for it. Also the RR bridge over Barnum Ave Cutoff is being replaced and the sidewalks changed so maybe we wait for DOT to complete that project before we start a new one, just my two cents.

      • Matt

        But if we had the right people in town hall driving re-development, and I say that on purpose, because we have very little buildable land in Stratford, so it has to be re-development of existing, mostly older and relatively useless structures like those along Barnum Ave Cutoff. Other than Bridgeport, Stratford is the only other municipality in Fairfield County with such an inappropriately developed Route 1 corridor.

        Also, the Lordship Blvd area should be re-zoned for mixed use development that includes light industrial, office space, retail – looking for large retail (like a Lowes), and residential. There is a full four way I-95 intersection at the Stratford/Bridgeport line on Lordship Blvd, and that area is just rotting away with empty buildings that should be razed and redeveloped.

    • Ed Foster

      Seems like guys like you have lots of “ideas” to develop but never any funds. Maybe private enterprise will figure things out.

  • Thayer

    We need a real economic development director!!!! Someone with experience that has helped a town turn around!!! To develop with just tax dollars in mind is wrong, this needs to be done the right way so it with benefit everyone and everything in our town

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