9-unit affordable housing development proposed on Monroe Street

Something unusual happened at a Nov. 1 Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) public hearing on a proposed nine-unit apartment project at 132-140 Monroe St. filed under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing law: nobody from the public spoke in opposition.

Projects filed under the 8-30g law in Milford commonly have 30 to 50 or more residents in attendance with potentially a dozen speaking against such proposals, usually due to concerns regarding increased density and traffic. At the Nov. 1 meeting, only one resident attended and she expressed concern about the buildings’ height, but did not ask the P&Z to deny the plan.

Green Turtle LLC, which lists Warren K. Field of Milford as manager, submitted the petition for a special permit and site plan review for the nine-unit project, three story, 35-foot tall buildings for vacant land at 132-140 Monroe St.

One parcel is 0.22 acres and is appraised at $103,000. The other parcel is 0.29 acres and is appraised at $200,000. The properties are within the R-7.5 zone that permits only single-family houses.

The project was submitted under Connecticut statute 8-30g, which is designed to encourage building of affordable housing with 30% of the units designated for rent at below market rates to people earning 80% or less of the area’s median income. The law essentially overrides local zoning regulations, requiring the P&Z to prove a project presents a threat to public health, safety or welfare, in order for it to be denied.

Attorney Thomas Lynch said the project is proposed for an area that already has multi-family projects, including the 185-unit Heritage Sound Condominiums, the 140-unit Milford Beach Apartments, Milford Housing Authority apartments on Viscount Drive, and Beach Shore Village.

“The proposed development is in harmony with other properties in the area,” said Lynch.

Lynch said that Field completed a project in 2015 at 229 West Main St. that is fully rented, saying, “this project is a mirror image of that property.”

The proposal calls for three buildings with three 1,500 square foot two-bedroom units per building. Each unit will have a one-car garage and with surface parking, there will be 20 parking spaces.

The project met with approvals from all city departments, said Lynch, and thus met the standards of the statute addressing public health, safety and welfare concerns. He said the fire department said sprinklers are not necessary. Lynch said the police department said the sightlines were excellent with 465 feet of visibility to the east on Monroe Street, which has a center median.

Stephen R. Ulman, traffic engineer, said the 85th percentile speed on Monroe Street is 29 mph, requiring a sightline of 335 feet from the driveway, which he said is “more than sufficient.” A three-year review of accident data identified nine motor vehicle accidents in the area.

Ulman said there are 94 vehicles heading westbound on Monroe Street during the morning peak hour and 233 westbound vehicles during the afternoon peak hour. He said the project is expected to generate 8 vehicle trips per morning and afternoon peak hour with 59 vehicle trips per day total.

Lynch said two units would be rented to people earning 80% of the median income with a monthly rent of $1,391. One unit would be rented to someone earning 60% of the median income and that person or persons would pay $1,071 in monthly rent.

Lynch will submit the project’s compliance plan at the board’s Nov. 15 meeting, a document that needs to be reviewed by the city’s Community Development Office. The plan details how the developer will process applications for the affordable units, and calculate rents.

Lois Hoory of 165 Maplewood Ave. was the sole person to comment on the application. Hoory said she was “neither opposed nor in favor,” and said she appreciated the need for housing. She said she was concerned about the project density with nine units on two lots intended for single-family homes.

“These houses are going to be so high,” said Hoory, expressing concern about privacy on her adjacent property.

In response, Lynch said a vinyl fence along the property boundary would provide privacy.

Warren Field and his brother Christopher developed the 15-unit 8-30g project at 335 Meadowside Road that is nearing completion. They have an application pending before the board for a minor amendment to the existing site plan.

According to city planner David B. Sulkis, they would like to use brick, instead of concrete on the interior walkways. They also plan to relocate an electrical transformer within the site. The board is expected to take up the request at its Nov. 15 meeting.