Boutique health club gets P&Z approval

A boutique health club is coming to the Milford Marketplace shopping center, following unanimous Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approval of a special exception and site plan review at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Attorney John Knuff presented the application on behalf of Orangetheory Fitness franchisee Joseph Miller of Stamford. Knuff said health clubs are permitted in the Corridor Design Development Districts (CDD) 1 to 4, but not in the CDD-5 zone where the facility would be located.

Knuff said the 4,000 square foot space is adjacent to Whole Foods in the shopping center located at 1680 Boston Post Rd. He presented a petition with 281 signatures of people in support, along with letters of support from other tenants at the marketplace.

“While we all have parking concerns, those people who have the greatest concerns are these retailers in the center,” said Knuff.

The board accepted Knuff’s position that Orangetheory is different than general membership health clubs and agreed to his proposal that the 16 parking spaces allocated to this retail space, along with two unassigned parking spaces, are sufficient to meet the needs of the business.

Knuff said at Orangetheory, members are required to sign up in advance for classes and said there are a maximum of 24 slots available for each hour-long class with 15 minutes allotted between classes to allow for one group to leave as another arrives. He said 19 is the average class size in the chain.

Classes start as early as 5:30 a.m., which is before most stores in the center are open, and there are no classes on Saturday or Sunday afternoons when the center is busiest.

“We are confident there will not be a parking issue with the center,” said Knuff.

Miller said Orangetheory is a premium brand that appeals to an affluent client.

Based on the 4,000-square-foot space, a general membership health club would need 32 parking spaces.

Speaking in support of the application, which received no public comment, board member Rick Varrone said he has owned karate schools, and said, “Everything that you have put forth is exactly the way it is. I think this will be a great addition over there.”

The chain currently has five locations in Connecticut with the nearest facility in Shelton.

Other business

In other business, the board unanimously approved a special permit and site plan review to allow Stacey Fiore of 41-43 Hillside Ave. to construct a concrete staircase from her patio to the beach. The proposal received no public comment and the board approved it without discussion.

City Planner David B. Sulkis said the P&Z approval was required because the stairs will be within 25 feet of the mean high tide line.

“Ms. Fiore should be commended for coming in and getting a permit,” said Sulkis.

The board also approved an 8-24 approval recommending the Board of Aldermen approve an access easement agreement with Eversource Energy to allow the company to use city-owned land by the Housatonic Treatment Plant on Caswell Street to access its power distribution lines.

Sulkis said the agreement was approved by city attorney Jonathan Berchem. The aldermen will vote on the proposal at an upcoming meeting.