Mercury and parking among concerns about affordable housing proposal

The P&Z took no action on a 36-unit affordable housing proposal from Garden Homes Management Corp. on Cascade Boulevard.

The board held open a public hearing from its June 5 meeting, pending receipt of an opinion from the Milford Health Department regarding an environmental study of the property.

Since the health department has yet to submit its review of the environmental study, which examined the issue of mercury levels, the board postponed closing the public hearing, and subsequent discussion to its July 3 meeting.

Jim Flynn of Marble Lane, a resident of nearby Ryder Woods, presented a packet to the board at the June 5 public hearing, expressing concern about the application, in particular, the effect that mercury runoff might have on the Ryder Woods property.

At the June 5 meeting, board members had concerns about adequate parking, since the project has 44 parking spaces for the 36 units. At the conclusion of that meeting, Attorney Thomas Lynch said Garden Homes would agree to limit tenants to one car per unit as a condition of approval.

The board reviewed plans for a proposed expansion to a truck sales and repair facility at 312 Woodmont Road. The board may discuss and vote on the proposal at its July 3 meeting. There was no comment from the public on the proposal.

Monte A. Kroh, chief financial officer for Tri-State Diesel, said the Enfield-based company purchased the Woodmont Road property in 2010, and uses it for Kenworth truck sales, service, and repairs. Kroh said the company voluntarily spent $400,000 to comply with a state environmental cleanup order dating to 1997.

Tri-State is proposing a 19,500 square foot addition to the rear of the existing 12,000 square foot building, which is located in an industrial zone. The repair area would increase in size from six to 20 bays.

Vincent Della Rocca, construction manager for the project, requested six waivers, including a setback waiver from 10-feet to 9.5- feet near the front, a waiver for a free-standing sign, and a waiver to use landscaping to shield the dumpster, instead of creating an enclosed dumpster area.

Della Rocca also requested the use of a Cape Cod-style curb, which is lower than a traditional curb. He said this type of curb is more durable than a traditional curb in an area where large trucks are being moved.

The plan also calls for landscaping waivers. Della Rocca said that the parking lot requirements for a five-foot wide landscaped buffer strip does not work in a parking lot for large trucks. He also said the spaces between the garage bays are too small to add the required landscaping.

Civil Engineer Wes Wentworth said the existing storm drainage system would be upgraded to include an oil hood to catch some oil and debris from the parking lot. An oil and water separator will be installed in the storm drains in the garage.

Kroh said the expanded facility would employ 20 to 25 people who will work a day shift Monday to Friday starting between 6 and 7 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. He said the parts department and a few mechanics would work on Saturdays from 6 or 7 a.m. to noon.

“Sometimes we have a few mechanics on Saturday to finish up,” said Kroh.

Kroh said this differs from the previous use of the property when bus operator Peter Pan was there day and night.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a text change to the zoning regulations regarding alcoholic liquor. The text change clarifies the definition of school as “day care center, nursery, elementary, middle or high school.” The previous definition said a school was a “public, parochial, or private non-profit, or for-profit school.”

The regulations specify that businesses cannot sell or serve alcohol if they are located within 300 feet of schools, places of worship, or other facilities. If the business is located in a large shopping center, then the distance is 400 ft.

The application for the relocation of Michael Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta was removed from the agenda at the request of applicant Anthony Giordano, pending further P&Z staff review of the proposal.

The restaurant is currently located at 517 New Haven Ave., and is seeking to construct a new building with outside roof deck seating on a 0.44-acre vacant parcel at 475 New Haven Ave. The application is expected to be presented a future P&Z meeting.

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