CT Post Mall appeals Milford P&Z zone change denial

The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford photographed on April 27, 2021.

The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford photographed on April 27, 2021.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Centennial Retail Management, LLC — owners of the Connecticut Post Mall — have appealed the Milford Planning and Zoning Board’s denial of its zone change proposal covering the mall property.

The zone change application was denied, 7-3, with Peggy Kearny, John Mortimer and Chair Jim Quich in favor and Nancy Austin, Joseph Castagnoli, James Kader, Brian Kaligian, Carl Moore, Robert Satti and Marc Zaharides voting against the plan in October.

“In denying the 2021 application, the board acted illegally, arbitrarily and in abuse of its direction in that the proposed amendments were in accord with the POCD (Plan of Conservation and Development), the proposed amendments were consistent with the Milford comprehensive plan, and the board failed to review the information before it in accordance with the law and the regulations,” the lawsuit claims.

Centennial’s zone change proposal called for making 5 percent (15 units) of the total 300 planned units affordable, as defined under state statute 8-30g, expanding the types of schools permitted in the zone, explicitly allowing outdoor dining in the zone for all types of food service establishments, and reducing the height of apartment buildings.

Some commissioners expressed concern that a regulation change would have unintended consequences during deliberations held on Oct. 5

“The board’s deliberations reflect that the denial was not based upon substantial evidence. Instead, the discussion focused the members’ dislike for residential uses at the property, in apparent disregard of the fact that such a use is already permitted in the SCDD (Shopping Center Design District) zone”, the lawsuit states.

The redevelopment project of the Connecticut Post Mall is planned to be completed in phases. Phase 1 would include about 300 apartments around a central plaza in the area formerly occupied by Sears Auto Service. Phase 2 includes demolishing the entire wing of the mall formerly occupied by Sears, which would free up 450,000 square feet of commercial space.

“We are continuing to work with city officials on a workable solution that will create a vibrant project for the community for the long term,” said a Centennial spokesperson.