Trumbull senior housing project hits snag

Trumbull senior housing plan hits snag

The plan to build a senior housing complex at 48 Monroe Turnpike is facing yet another legal challenge.

The plan to build a senior housing complex at 48 Monroe Turnpike is facing yet another legal challenge.

Donald Eng / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — The plan to build a 55-and-older complex at 48 Monroe Turnpike has hit a roadblock, as the owners of a nearby property are petitioning to appeal a judge's earlier decision that could have allowed the project to move forward.

The development was discouraging to some in town, including community and economic development director Rina Bakalar.

"It delays a good project from going forward in the near term" she said of the petition. "It defers the needed housing and services for seniors. It delays the associated grand list growth and tax revenues. It is an unfortunate situation."  

The plan to convert the Monroe Turnpike property — formerly the site of the regional headquarters of United Healthcare — into a senior living and adult care community has been in the works since 2018, when the property was sold to local developers. However, the project has faced multiple legal challenges from both by the owners of the adjacent Home Depot property, and three residents of the nearby Woodland Hills condominiums.

On Oct. 4, Old Mine Associates, LLC which owns the Home Depot property adjacent to 48 Monroe Turnpike, filed a petition for certification with the Appellate Court of the State of Connecticut, asking for a review of the Sept. 14 decision by Superior Court Judge Trial Referee Dale Radcliffe to deny two zoning appeals brought by Old Mine.

The company was appealing the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission's decision to grant 48 Monroe Turnpike LLC's application for two overlay zone changes and a special permit application and site plan approval. In September 2021, the commission held a public hearing on the two applications and ultimately voted to approve them.

Old Mine Associates appealed the commission's decisions in Superior Court. In both of its appeals, the company alleged that the Planning and Zoning Commission's decisions were "illegal, unlawful, arbitrary and an abuse of the power vested in the defendant commission."

The appeals claimed, among other things, that the applications "do not comply with the requirements, standards and conditions necessary for the approval of the applications pursuant to the zoning regulations."

The appeals also claim that, as a neighboring property owner, Old Mine was "aggrieved" as the result of the project.

Radcliffe denied the appeals, and upheld the commission's decision.

In the petition for certification — filed by attorney Linda Pesce Laske, of the Bridgeport-based law firm Green and Gross — charges, among other things that, "the decision under review is in conflict with other decisions of the Court below."

It also claims that the appeal will "be of great aid to land use agencies, staff and property owners by clarifying whether the 
right to continue a nonconforming use, building or structure, as protected pursuant to Section 8-2 of the Connecticut General Statutes, extends to nonconforming accessory uses, when the property owner chooses to discontinue the principal use that was served by the accessory use, and to redevelop the property for entirely new principal uses that require submission and approval of applications for zone changes, special permits and site plans."

Trumbull town attorney James Nugent said the town will file an objection to the petition for certification. He said he was optimistic that the petition will eventually be dismissed.

"We are hopeful that ... the appellate court will deny the petition and we will bring this to a closure and the owner can move forward," Nugent said.