Wetlands OKs modification to Grillo’s apartment plan

The Inland Wetlands Agency (IWA) unanimously approved a modification to an existing permit for Grillo Services LLC at its June 7 meeting.

The company received a wetlands permit modification to widen an approved fire access road from 18 to 28 feet wide. As a condition of approval, the work must be done during the dry season from July to September to protect the nearby wetlands.

According to Inland Wetlands Officer MaryRose Palumbo, Grillo filed for the change in response to a request from the Milford Fire Department. Palumbo said the fire department asked for the wider road so its apparatus has room to put down stanchions.

Matthew Davison, soil and wetlands scientist, wrote a letter to project engineer Alfred J. Mascia, in which Davison stated that the wider road would have no greater wetlands impact than the original width because it would be constructed within the previously approved limits of disturbance. The road will also use porous pavement over crushed stone to maintain a surface through which rainwater can percolate.

Grillo initially received wetlands approval from IWA in 2016. The board voted 5-2 on Sept. 21, 2016 to grant Grillo a wetlands permit to construct two buildings with 342 total units and two parking garages with 512 spaces, plus an additional 12 surface parking spaces, with associated access drives and grading with work in and within 150 feet of the Beaver Brook watershed. The project is called The Preserve at Beaver Brook.

The approval comes with a long list of conditions, outlining the steps that must take place during construction, and the monitoring that will take place after the project is completed.

This includes a detailed relocation plan for the on-site box turtles, a plan to control invasive plant species in the developed area of the property, and a maintenance plan with a cleaning schedule for the stormwater system. The use of pesticides and herbicides will be limited on the property. The residents will not be permitted to wash cars or let pets roam freely.

The IWA members who voted in favor of the project said it would improve water quality on the property, which has been compromised by run-off from I-95, which adjoins the wetlands. The project also creates a preserved area for the estimated five box turtles on the property.

Grillo has a contract to purchase the 57.33-acre property from Kingdom Life Christian Church, pending project approval by the P&Z. The project will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) at a date to be determined.

The project will be filed under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing law, which overrides local zoning regulations. Multi-family housing is not permitted in the Design Office District-25 zone, but the 8-30g law makes that restriction meaningless.

At its March 1, 2016 meeting, the P&Z denied Grillo’s application for a special exception and site plan review to construct a facility for leaf composting, tree and brush recycling, processing of topsoil, and sale of landscaping products, including mulch, compost, soils, gravel, stone products and pavers.

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  • The conflagration foreseen by the Fire Department — one that needs such a wide fire access road at the top of the hill — will leave some mess in the wetlands below. Did the Wetlands Board study this?

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