New development eyed for Trumbull’s upper Main Street

TRUMBULL — If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the revitalized Long Hill Green is getting rave reviews.

A group known as 7182 Main Street LLC and 7192 Main Street LLC are in the preliminary phases of building a similar mixed use development on upper Main Street, about 500 feet north of the Amazon warehouse and straddling the border with Monroe.

“We’ve been meeting with officials in both towns, and everybody seems to believe it’s a good project,” said Raymond Rizio, a real estate attorney representing the property owners. “The challenge, though, is that the property is in both towns, and the regulations are so different.”

The property currently includes a single building that houses an eclectic mix of small businesses, including a martial arts school, yoga studio and mechanical contracting company.

“The current building would be demolished and we would build a mixed use development, a blend of residential and retail, with restaurants, half in Monroe and half in Trumbull,” Rizio said. “We would need approvals from both towns, but the staff from both towns seem receptive.”

The development group had originally applied for a text amendment to Trumbull’s Long Hill Green District, which essentially regulates developments like the current project at Long Hill Green. But Trumbull Town Planner Rob Librandi said the developers had pulled that proposal from the Planning & Zoning Commission’s June 16 agenda.

“They’re still going to go forward with a mixed use proposal, but it won’t be tacked onto the Long Hill Green District regulation,” Librandi said.

In his initial letter to Librandi in January, Rizio said the area was ripe for redevelopment, noting the arrival of Amazon at a long vacant property on Main Street.

He noted that the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development points out that “this area had the potential for a prime business corridor and that has come begun to come to fruition with the arrival of a major employer.”

Amazon’s location just a few hundred feet away could anchor development in the entire upper Main Street corridor, Rizio wrote.

“This opportunity should spur development in its close proximity creating a need for housing for the new workforce and boosting the retail and restaurant market,” he wrote. “Trumbull can capitalize on this opportunity to promote development in this area.”

Economic and Community Development Director Rina Bakalar welcomed the redevelopment.

“That location is the entrance to town along Route 25,” she said. “It’s the first thing you see when you come into town, and it’s been a bit of an eyesore.”

She acknowledged though that the area differs significantly in its geography from the Long Hill Green area, even though both are along Main Street. Upper Main Street, for example, features more truck traffic as drivers navigate Route 25 from the end of the Route 8/25 connector for the 10-mile trip through Trumbull, Monroe and Newtown to Interstate 84.

Another challenge is that the plan calls for residential housing above the retail locations. Although on a much smaller scale than some of the larger apartment complexes that have opened in town, Trumbull still has a moratorium on multi-family developments in town.

Still, Rizio said, the development was a fit for the area under the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. In fact the entire area has developed as a mix of residential, commercial and industrial, he said.

“The 2014 Plan of Conservation and Economic Development noted that residential-type uses may be appropriate for the upper Route 25 area,” he said.