Full text — Tesoro statement on proposed developments

In an effort to make residents aware of several proposals before our land use boards, I am issuing this statement to the residents of Trumbull. I want residents to understand what is being proposed, how the development process works, where residents can have impact, and what I am doing to protect our high quality of life in Trumbull.

Vicki Tesoro

I want everyone to know that I am working with my staff to make sure there is sensible development that does not compromise the character of Trumbull.

Land use and development are critical issues for our community. Well-planned growth and appropriate use of our land resources consistent with our Plan of Conservation and Development

(POCD) are essential for our success as a town. My administration is committed to balanced grand list growth, while ensuring our schools, public safety, town services, and quality of life are not compromised.

The Trumbull Westfield Mall has proposed a zone change that would allow for expanded uses of their property, including multi-family residential housing. On May 30, 2018, I issued a statement noting strong concerns about their proposal. At the same time, I expressed an understanding that malls throughout the country are reinventing themselves out of necessity. We, as a town, should work with them to the extent possible in that process. The mall is our largest taxpayer, and its success is a shared goal.

Since my initial statement, we have had several detailed meetings with the mall to share ideas and address an extensive list of concerns, many of which have been voiced by our residents. We have asked the mall to consider a number of changes to their proposal and we have asked for more information and details on a wide range of issues related to the request for a zone change. As a result of our requests for changes and additional information, the mall requested a continuance of their proposal to the July 19 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC). Residents may attend this meeting and speak to the proposal, or submit comments in writing. In addition, the public hearing will be kept open into August to ensure broad opportunity for input.

At the same time this zone change is being requested by the mall, a great deal of development activity is being proposed in another part of our town, specifically, the industrial zone in the area of Reservoir Avenue, Lindeman Drive, and Oakview Drive.

It is important for residents to understand the background of this situation. In 2017, the outgoing Herbst administration supported a change in the zoning regulations in the Reservoir/Lindeman/Oakview area. This change was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission on June 21, 2017 prior to my taking office. This zone change allows for the development of up to 600 units of multi-family housing in this industrial zone.

This regulation cleared the way for the approval of 202 units of market rate apartments on Oakview Drive on June 21, 2017. This project is now under construction. Also, to facilitate this development, the Herbst Administration supported and advanced a 10-year tax abatement to the developers. This new zoning regulation has opened the door for the new projects now being proposed in this same area, including 128 units of 55+ Independent Living for seniors at 101/109 Oakview Drive and 215 units of market rate apartments on Reservoir Avenue.

As with the mall, we are sharing our detailed concerns regarding each proposal, seeking additional information and looking to assess and mitigate the impact on municipal services. Both of these development proposals will be back before PZC on August This meeting is a public hearing and I encourage all to attend and submit comments for the PZC to consider.

While it is good that there is interest in so much development in Trumbull, there is such a thing as too much at one time. That being said, property owners have a right to propose development of their land. A proposal is just a proposal and we must remember there is a process that must be followed for every proposal. There will be no short cuts and no incentives have been offered to these developers. This will be an open, transparent process and I urge all citizens to join me in learning about these proposals and making their opinions heard.

I remain confident that by working together, negotiating in good faith, and following our well-established zoning processes, we will make the right decisions for our town. Let me be clear: my administration will work with all parties, but we will fight for the best interests of our community as a whole.

While we know that change in any community is certain, we are committed to preserving the character of Trumbull. Every development should be safe and well-planned. This is why we were so opposed to the proposed sale of the six properties proposed by the last administration. The more Trumbull can control our own destiny, the better we are for it.

I will update the community further as this process unfolds.

Ultimately, the approval or disapproval of these developments and the Mall’s proposed zone change rests with the Planning and Zoning Commission. For your benefit, we have prepared a document to help residents understand the development process. 

Please visit the Town website, http://www.trumbull-ct.gov/, to view this document. As always, I am interested in your comments and concerns. Please feel free to contact my office at 203-452-5005. Also, Rob Librandi, Town Planner can assist you as well. He can be reached at 203-452-5047.

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