Zoning board rejects application for Bic Drive housing development

Affordable housing moratorium prevents board from considering plan

File Photo: Residents packed a Planning and Zoning Board meeting last year to complain about an affordable housing plan that was eventually voted down. Since then, state legislators put forth an affordable housing moratorium, which this week led to the denial of another affordable housing proposal.

File Photo: Residents packed a Planning and Zoning Board meeting last year to complain about an affordable housing plan that was eventually voted down. Since then, state legislators put forth an affordable housing moratorium, which this week led to the denial of another affordable housing proposal.

A 257-unit housing plan on Bic Drive that city officials several months ago seemed to expect would be approved was denied this week because of an affordable housing moratorium.

The Planning & Zoning Board unanimously rejected an application from Garden Homes Residential of Stamford, which was attempting to submit a plan calling for an affordable housing complex of 257 units at 460 Bic Drive.

City Planner David Sulkis said the board needed to reject the application, meaning the applicant could not even present the project to the P&Z, because the proposal does not meet the criteria for the Office District (OD), which only allows one home on the 7.38-acre property.

Garden Homes submitted the plan under the state’s affordable housing regulations, which normally would override local zoning regulations. However, the General Assembly adopted a moratorium on such projects until Dec. 31, 2014, a measure that was introduced by State. Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford), and supported by Milford’s legislative delegation.

“Because of the moratorium, there is no way to waive the local zoning regulations,” said Sulkis.

Slossberg said at the time she introduced the legislation that it was in response to developers who appeared to be taking advantage of the affordable housing laws to build housing projects in inappropriate places.

“Over the past year, developers have used Connecticut’s affordable housing appeals procedure to circumvent Milford’s zoning laws at an unprecedented rate,” she and Milford’s other representatives said in a press release announcing the intent of the moratorium several months ago. “Hundreds of citizens have spoken out, suggesting that this prevents the city from building affordable housing in a deliberate, thoughtful manner consistent with Milford’s Plan of Conservation and Development.”

The legislators said that a year will give people time to look at the law and how it is being used.

“In that year, legislators will work together with stakeholders to determine a process that will appropriately encourage affordable housing while protecting the health, safety and character of neighborhoods,” the legislators said.

 Other business

In other business, the Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to abandon a dirt portion of Schoolhouse Road, potentially giving ownership of the property to Kingdom Life Christian Church.

Brian Stone, attorney for the church, said the 7,000 sq. ft. section of road was cut off from the paved part of Schoolhouse Road when I-95 was built. The old road cuts across a wooded property on West Avenue owned by the church.

“It goes nowhere,” said Stone.

The Board of Aldermen needs to vote on the road abandonment, which it is expected to do at its August 4 meeting.

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  • MarkH

    So with all these Affordable Housing applications Sent. Sclossberg alludes to, how come nothing other then conventional housing has been built over the last few years?
    Nothing more than an election year stunt playing on the unfounded fears of people that welfare families could move in next door. I would prefer good old capitalist private development to move forward and compete for good housing at competitive rents/sales. If the market demands are for middle class development, then why not let free enterprise work its will?

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