P&Z extends moratorium on Trumbull apartments
TRUMBULL — Days before a one-year moratorium on new multi-family rental apartments expires, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-1 to extend it for another year. The moratorium will not affect any developments that are already zoned, approved or currently under consideration by land use boards.
“It is intended to halt any future multi-family rental developments for an additional one-year period,” said First Selectman Vicki Tesoro.
The moratorium was intended to give the commission time to assess the impact of several apartment developments that are under construction. Tesoro had requested the commission pass a two-year moratorium last year. Commissioners reduced it to one before voting to approve it in January 2019.
Currently, the Ten Trumbull complex on Oakview Drive is nearing completion, and would serve as a useful data point in projecting the impact of such development on Trumbull, Tesoro said.
Town Planner Rob Librandi told the commission that since none of the apartments are occupied yet, the commission has no way to measure the results.
“The idea was to see where we were (after a year) and reassess,” he said. “At this point, none of the apartments have received their Certificate of Occupancy, so we’re in the same place we were last year in terms of not knowing the impact of these multi-family apartments.”
Commission Chairman Fred Garrity said the reasons that existed last year, and that prompted the moratorium, are the same as the current situation.
“They are not up and running,” he said. “I want to make sure we can see that the effect will be what we were told to expect.”
The primary concern is that the high-density apartments would strain the town’s services and school system. Although the applicants submitted projections based on similar proposals in other towns, Garrity said it was important for the commission to study the results in Trumbull.
“What we’re looking for is actual occupancy and impact to town services,” he said. “We are not fortune tellers, and none of us can predict the future. The only thing we can do is ask for facts — that if this happened in another place like Trumbull, it’s likely that it will happen in Trumbull.”
One year from now, Garrity said, the effect of the Ten Trumbull apartments on Oakview Drive will be more clear, especially the effect on school population.
“We’ll be able to answer — is it the same as the projections?” he said.
Commissioner Larry LaConte, the only commissioner to vote against the extension, declared himself not in favor of extension because it would simply delay future development.
“Another year won’t tell us much more than we know today,” he said. “I don’t see it being advantageous to us.”
Other commissioners expressed concern about how, exactly, the commission would measure the apartments’ effects on town, a concern Garrity said he shared.
“I support having methodology for how we are going to gauge the impact,” he said. But he added that the specifics on how to assess the impact were best discussed at a future meeting.
Anthony Silber agreed, saying it was important not to get hung up on minor details — one year or two, or what the proper process would be to get an exemption to the moratorium.
“Let’s just see what happens,” he said. “The idea is to take a breather and not get overwhelmed.”