Apartment complex planned on West Main Street

A six-unit apartment project filed under the state’s affordable housing law is planned for 232 West Main Street, following Planning and Zoning (P&Z) approval at its Nov. 20 meeting.

Warren “Buddy” Field and Christopher Field plan to construct two three-unit apartment buildings on the 0.32-acre property in the Single-Family Attached Residential (SFA-10) zone.

Field is the contract purchaser for the property owned by Robert E. Page Jr. The existing 1,040-square-foot house constructed in 1900 will be demolished.

Attorney Thomas Lynch said there are a variety of mixed uses, including 16 multi-family residences in the area along West Main Street between High Street and West Town Road. Lynch said the area is conducive to multi-family housing, in part due to its proximity to the Milford train station, which he said is a quarter mile away.

“This is not a single-family neighborhood,” said Lynch.

Lynch said the two-bedroom units will have a garage on the first level, located below two floors of living space. He said the middle unit in each building will be rented at affordable rates with one unit rented to someone earning 60% of the area’s median income with a monthly rent of $1,258, while the other affordable unit would be rented to someone earning 80% of the area’s median income for a monthly rent of $1,572.

In addition to the six garage spaces, there will be 11 parking spaces in a surface lot, including one handicap-accessible space. Lynch said both the fire and police departments approved the project. He said the project meets all the standards of the state statutes, and there is no impingement on public health, safety and welfare.

Traffic engineer Kermit Hua said the project would have a low impact with two trips during the morning peak hour and three trips during the afternoon peak hour. Hua said there is a sight distance of more than 500 feet in both directions at the site driveway, “well over what is required.” He calculated the site distance based on traffic speeds of 35 miles per hour, even though the speed limit is 25 mph.

Traffic counts from March 2018 with an adjustment to factor for the peak traffic months of May and June showed a good level of service at nearby intersections, a level of service that Hua said would remain unchanged from this project.

The project received unanimous Inland-Wetlands Agency (IWA) approval with conditions at its July 18 meeting.

Field told the IWA at its June 6 meeting that the closest building is 20 feet from the property line and 38 to 40 feet from the neighboring wetlands. Stormwater from the roof leaders and the parking lot are directed into a water quality chamber with a swirl concentrator before being discharged into the city’s stormwater system.

The project needed IWA approval because it is within 150 feet of a wetland or watercourse in the Wepawaug River watershed.

The only public comment came from Alderman Bryan N. Anderson (D-5) of Ingersoll Road, who said he was not opposed to the project, but had questions he wanted the applicant to answer.

Anderson questioned the project’s lot coverage, whether a play area for children was needed, and whether any building would overlook a single-family home on an adjoining property, and if so, the distance between the building and the home.

Anderson also asked if the Fields have an interest in the nearby property at 250 West Main Street. According to city records, the Federal National Mortgage Association took possession of the property in February 2018.

In response, Lynch said that Anderson lives four miles from this project and said, “I don’t know where his interest lies in this project.” He said he did not feel a need to respond to the question about the other property.

Lynch said that as an 8-30(g) project, the project is not bound by regulations for setbacks or lot coverage. He said the two buildings will be located on the southerly side of the property adjacent to a multi-family project in a way that would not infringe on other properties.

“These two buildings will not be looking down on a single-family house,” said Lynch.

According to city records, in 2014, the Fields constructed a nine-unit 8-30(g) project across the street at 229 West Main Street. The adjacent properties at 224 and 238 West Main Street, and the rear property at 10 Gunn St. all have single-family homes.

Christopher and Gary Field constructed a 15-unit 8-30(g) project at 335 Meadowside Road in 2016.

Talking about the latest project, City Planner David B. Sulkis said the buildings will be 10 feet away from the property line, which complies with the SFA setback requirements, and would be fully enclosed by a six-foot high vinyl fence.

Board member Scott Marlow asked if there was any provision for handicap-accessible units in projects this size, asking if the board could require 8-30(g) projects to include handicap-accessible units.

In response, Joseph Griffith, director of permitting and land use, said due to the size of the total complex, it is exempt under the building code from providing handicap-accessible units. Griffith said these types of units would be required in a larger complex.

The vote to approve the project was 7-1 with Marlow, who lives at 353 West Main Street, opposed.

Board Chairman Jim Quish and board member Denise Doucette-Ginese were not present at the meeting. Prior to her election to the board, Doucette-Ginese fought against the approval of the project at 335 Meadowside Road, which is adjacent to her house at 331 Meadowside Road.