Officials: Trumbull senior housing plan clears last legal hurdle

Photo of Amanda Cuda
The future of the former United Healthcare building at 48 Monroe Turnpike could be decided in court after a group of residents has appealed the Planning & Zoning Commission's decision to grant a zone change.

The future of the former United Healthcare building at 48 Monroe Turnpike could be decided in court after a group of residents has appealed the Planning & Zoning Commission's decision to grant a zone change.

Donald Eng

TRUMBULL — The last remaining legal hurdle to putting a 55-and-older complex at 48 Monroe Tpke. has been cleared and Trumbull officials said the project now finally has a chance at moving forward.

On Dec. 13, Superior Court Judge Trial Referee Dale Radcliffe denied Old Mine Associates, LLC's petition for certification to appeal Radcliffe's Sept. 14 decision to deny two zoning appeals brought by the group. Old Mine Associates owns the Home Depot property adjacent to 48 Monroe Tpke.

The Monroe Turnpike property, formerly the site of the regional headquarters of United Healthcare, was sold to Senior Living Development in 2018 and, since then, a plan to convert the site into a senior living and adult care community has been in the works.

With this last attempt at an appeal denied, it looks like progress can finally be made, said John Knuff, attorney for Senior Living Development.

"We are extremely excited that the last legal hurdle has been cleared," he said. "While the appeal process was lengthy and frustrating, I’m glad the courts saw through all specious claims."

The petition to appeal was the latest in Old Mine's attempts to stop the project from moving forward. In Sepember 2021, the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on 48 Monroe Turpike LLC's application for two overlay zone changes and a special permit application and site plan approval. 

The commission ultimately voted to approve the applications. Old Mine Associates appealed the commission's decisions, alleging that the commission's decisions were "illegal, unlawful, arbitrary and an abuse of the power vested in the defendant commission."

When Radcliffe denied the appeals, upholding the commission's decision, attorneys from Bridgeport-based law firm Green and Gross, which represented Old Mine, filed the petition for certification. That petition, filed Oct. 4, alleged, among other things,"the decision under review is in conflict with other decisions of the Court below."

Shortly after that, Knuff filed a response to the petition, asking that it be denied.

"Old Mine’s Petition does not present any novel issues of law, raise conflicts among appellate court rulings, or present any issue of great public importance," Knuff's statement reads. "Instead, it is another attempt to interfere with 48 Monroe’s plan to convert a prominent vacancy in the town of Trumbull into assisted living and active adult housing."

Trumbull Town Attorney James Nugent also filed an opposition to Old Mine's petition, claiming that "at every step of the way, the Plaintiff has appealed and delayed the process to no avail."

Attorneys from Green and Gross weren't immediately available for comment.

Trumbull economic and community development director Rina Bakalar said clearing this last hurdle bodes well for the future of the senior housing project.

"This is a significant project that we hope moves to construction over the next year," she said.