McDonald's Drive-Thru Plans Lead To Traffic Concerns From Shelton P&Z
McDonald's Drive-Thru Plans Lead To Traffic Concerns From Shelton P&Z

McDonald's Drive-Thru Plans Lead To Traffic Concerns From Shelton P&Z

SHELTON, CT — Plans for a new McDonald’s restaurant in Shelton were recently presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission, however some commissioners took issue with a proposed drive-thru and expressed other traffic concerns.

The presentation, which took place during the commission’s Feb. 21 special meeting, was the first public hearing on the McDonald’s plans.

Plans for the new fast food restaurant at 6 Todd Road, submitted to the city in December by Avon-based Six Todd Road LLC, call for construction of a 3,690-square-foot single restaurant with a two-lane drive thru and 37 parking spaces.

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Plans for the land originally called for a 10,170-square-foot retail building to be built, however the applicant indicated in the updated proposal plans now call for just the restaurant to be constructed in the space.

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The current McDonald’s proposal also calls for some improvements to Todd and nearby Platt Road, including widening Platt Road to accommodate a new westbound right-turn lane.

Some of the commissioners expressed concerns about the current drive-thru plans and its impact on traffic in the area.

Commissioner Jimmy Tickey noted it was previously “a dealbreaker to have any sort of a drive-thru” at the site for some commissioners during initial discussions of the original plan in 2021.

“We talked about Todd Road, the access road that it is, and we’re really concerned about the traffic that it would create,” Tickey said. “Let’s not kid ourselves, this McDonald’s is going to be jamming. There are other places in town where we’ve heard it’s not going to be busy and then it is, very much so, especially with drive-thrus.”

At one point, Commission Chair Virginia Harger expressed concerns over parking spaces that would parallel pickup windows at the proposed restaurant.

“Having been at different McDonald’s over the years, your parking spaces that parallel the pickup windows, technically those are ones for people that would be parking and walking in,” Harger said. “There’s traffic coming around and you’re crossing a traffic lane, and I would just hate to see something happen.”

She compared it to the nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant on Bridgeport Avenue.

“Their drive-thrus, you park on one side of the building, you’re not parking on both sides of the building,” Harger said, “so there’s no possibility that someone is going to be parking and walking across the traffic lane.”

After discussing other aspects of the proposal, Harger suggested addressing some commissioners’ concerns through a peer review, which would entail bringing in an outside party to look over some aspects of the application.

Commissioner Elaine Matto clarified the peer review should specifically examine queuing and traffic circulation.

“It doesn’t have to be the whole traffic report,” Matto said.

Harger agreed and noted the peer review would focus on “what’s the realistic expectation for a business of that type to be in this location in the vicinity with all the other traffic that goes to Bridgeport Avenue. Is there something that we need to know ahead of time?”

Tickey agreed the peer review was a good idea, noting the current plans were very different compared to what was initially explored for the site in 2021.

“It’s a major deviation from what we previously approved,” Tickey said, “and we only approved it when we were told there would never be a drive-thru.”

Commissioner Peter Laskos noted he did not think the peer review was necessary, and Alternate Commissioner Robert Cristiano agreed.

“I think it’s an improvement, not just for the site but for the rest of the city who travel in that area,” Cristiano said. “I’m familiar with the area and it is congested. Improvements to the area are going to help everybody, so I’m comfortable [the applicants have] done their due diligence in researching what is necessary for the traffic flow.”

Harger, Tickey, Matto and Commissioner Charles Kelly all voted in favor of the peer review, while Laskos and Cristiano were opposed.

“Consensus would be that we do have staff work with the applicant to have peer reviews done,” Harger said.

All six commissioners voted to keep the public hearing open, and Harger noted the continuation would be scheduled for a later date.

According to the Shelton Herald, the vacant land on the corner of Todd and Platt roads is currently owned by Manuel Moutinho. In recent years, the land has become overgrown and home to homeless encampments.

The proposed McDonald’s would offer two driveways, one slightly to the west of a Splash Car Wash on Platt Road and another near the southern boundary of the site on Todd Road, the Shelton Herald reports.

A video of the full Planning and Zoning Commission meeting can be viewed here.

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