Milford zoning board nears 'reluctant' approval of apartment plan

The David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect St

The David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect St

Pam McLoughlin / Hearst Media Connecticut

MILFORD - The long debate over the proposed apartment complex at 67 Prospect St. seems to be nearing an end as the Planning and Zoning Board appears headed to “reluctantly” approving the project at its next meeting.

The board held a public hearing at its March 16 meeting. Board member Jim Kader said that the project has received approvals from numerous areas, but no one seems enthusiastic about it. The plan calls for a three-story, 36-unit apartment building to be built behind the historic David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect St. . The house will have its exterior restored, and its interior renovated to house office space and a fitness center for the apartment dwellers.

“It seems to me that people’s hands are tied and reluctantly approving, we’re going to reluctantly probably approve this,” said Kader. “I know that they think they are doing a great project and they got to make money but we also have a neighborhood that we are worried about and this project is encroaching on the whole neighborhood.”

Board Chairman Jim Quish agreed to end the discussion, but move the vote to the board’s April meeting.

“Because of the complicated issue that it is appropriate to put off the vote to next meeting. We will have a motion and a second on the floor and the board discussion will be open and it will be open to question staff,” said Quish.

Attorney Thomas Lynch, representing the developer, 67 Prospect Street LLC, told the board that the developer had addressed the three open items from the previous public hearing.

Lynch stated that one of the matters was to address traffic or issues of delivery trucks coming onto the property. Project Engineer Manny Silva said that they applied a turning template for delivery vehicles. Silva explained that the delivery trucks will come straight in, park in a designated spot and they will back up into an open area. The trucks will then turn around and go straight out of the property. In response to a question from Quish, Silva said he had determined the template would work based on the state DOT standard for delivery and garbage trucks.

In response to concerns from the Milford Cemetery Association, Lynch said the project now included tree buffers along the east side of the property that borders the cemetery.

Quish suggested that the applicant have trees that were already mature and tall instead of waiting five to 10 years for them to grow. Silva stated that it would be possible but it would cost more and it would take time to find and transport them.

The final concern was drainage and runoff water from the property affecting the local area. Silva said that he met with City Engineer Greg Pidluski and Robert J. Hiza, a professional engineer hired by the cemetery association, to do additional field testing of the groundwater level.

Hiza ultimately approved the proposed drainage system to manage a possible 100-year storm with no runoff, Silva said. Cemetery Association Vice President Raymond Oliver, though, said Hiza had “conditionally and reluctantly” approved the proposed drainage retention system. Oliver asked the commission not to approve the project.

In their discussion, board members expressed lingering doubts about drainage and the size of the project, with John Mortimer expressing his belief that a somewhat smaller project would be a good compromise.

Robert Satti said that public safety and parking is an issue, and proposed that as a condition of approval any future discharge of runoff water be the sole responsibility of the property owner.

With a motion made and seconded to conditionally approve the project, Quish agreed to continue the motion to the board’s next meeting to give all the members more time to consider it.