Public hearing for apartments at Trumbull mall postponed
TRUMBULL — A public hearing into a planned 260-unit apartment complex at Westfield Trumbull mall has been pulled from the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Aug. 19 agenda. The hearing will take place at a future meeting.
The issue, according to P&Z Chairman Fred Garrity, is that the information the commission requested from the developers in July was delivered Monday evening. Garrity said the late-arriving information left commissioners and staff with too little time to digest the 370-page response.
“It’s just not fair to the commissioners or the town staff to have essentially one day to study all this and prepare for the meeting,” Garrity said.
The commission at its July 15 meeting had requested information on a number of issues regarding to proposed apartments. Garrity in particular had several questions about traffic patterns, commenting about the possibility that a proposed keycard entry gate would back up traffic onto Main Street at peak hours.
Garrity also questioned the wisdom of including left turn access into the complex from northbound traffic on Main Street. Those leaving the complex and heading toward the Merritt Parkway must leave the apartment parking lot onto the mall’s Ring Road, then access Main Street via the mall’s exit ramp, according to the original plan. Garrity questioned allowing residents entering the complex to do the same in reverse.
“That turn needs some love and attention, especially with the fact that we’re going to be sending 50 cars a day around it,” Garrity said July 15.
The response, prepared by BL Companies, a Meriden-based architecture, engineering and environmental firm, addresses many of the questions and concerns. Specifically, the developers consulted the state Department of Transportation, and after DOT reviewed the plan, eliminated the left turn access over safety concerns.
The traffic analysis, which took up the last 62 pages of the response, concluded that the traffic impact in the area from the apartments would be minimal.
“All intersections perform at acceptable levels of service and traffic capacity is insignificantly impacted,” according to the report.
During the peak of weekday morning traffic, the hourly number of vehicles turning left out of the mall exit likely would increase from the current 35 per hour to 55 per hour. Saturday mid-day traffic entering the mall from Main Street likely would increase from 565 vehicles per hour to 610 per hour.
The increase, about 10 percent, would leave the exit road well short of capacity and should not affect traffic on Main Street, which has a through capacity of 2,385 vehicles per hour northbound, and 1,393 vehicles per hour southbound at the intersection, the report states.
In addition to traffic concerns, BL also replied to numerous questions about water runoff and discharge into the sewer system. BL reported that analysis of the soil at the site indicates a three-inch per hour rain infiltration capacity. It also showed groundwater in some cases as shallow as five feet underground.
The proposed site lies in the watershed of the Rooster River, according to Fairfield Engineering Manager William Hurley, who submitted comments on the plan. The 15.4-mile river for much of its length forms the border between Fairfield and Bridgeport, and it also flows through Trumbull.
Hurley pointed out that the mall was built before there were stormwater retention control requirements in place, and recommended requiring additional retention areas as a means to limit flooding on the river during storms.
“Detention for the upper reaches of the watershed benefit all property owners downstream in the Town of Trumbull, City of Bridgeport and Town of Fairfield,” he wrote. “This is a regional problem and the Towns of Fairfield, Trumbull and City of Bridgeport have been working together to help alleviate this flooding problem and will continue to do so.”