Cigar shop and lounge okayed for Boston Post Road location

People will be able to buy their cigars and smoke them too at a new establishment planned on the Boston Post Road.

A cigar shop and lounge were one of four quick approvals by the Planning and Zoning Board at its Aug. 5 meeting and public hearing.

The board unanimously approved a special exception and site plan review to permit the opening of a cigar store with an associated private club in an existing retail space at 1770 Boston Post Road. The property currently houses Reichbind Fur and Modern Furniture and formerly housed Jennifer Convertibles & Leather.

Louis Rodriguez, who operates Mickey Blakes, a cigar shop and smoking lounge in Southington, owns the business and filed the application. Following the approval, Rodriguez said the Milford location might open by November.

City Planner David B. Sulkis said the request for the private club is the reason the application came before the P&Z. The proposal drew no public comment.

Rodriguez told the board he has operated the Southington location for three years. He said the store would be open to the public, and anyone could join the private club and use the smoking lounge if they pay the $49.99 monthly membership fee.

State law allows anyone age 18 or older to shop at the store and join the club, but Rodriguez said he has a policy that the minimum age is 21 to join the club.

This statement came in response to questions from board members regarding his policy of allowing club members to bring their own food and drink, including alcoholic beverages.

Rodriguez said there is no state law prohibiting people from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into the private club. Club membership includes private lockers where members could store items, including cigars, food and beverages.

“We work closely with the police department in Southington,” said Rodriguez. “We really pride ourselves on being involved with the community.”

Other Approvals

In other business, the board unanimously approved a petition from David Fernandez, owner of Bistro Basque, who needed the board to agree that there is enough parking downtown for him to expand his restaurant.

Fernandez plans to expand the restaurant at 13 River Street into an adjoining retail space at 17 River Street, formerly occupied by the Artifax store, which now has a web-only presence. Fernandez owns the building at 15-23 River Street.

Parking requirements for restaurants are higher than those for retail businesses, and the board's vote essentially said that there is adequate parking in downtown Milford to accommodate the expansion.

The board also unanimously approved a minor amendment to a site plan review allowing Celestial Capital to reconfigure the parking area at 20 Commerce Park.

Architect John Wicko told the board that the complex of six medical buildings needs additional parking due to more demand for medical services, particularly in the pediatric area.

“Reconfiguration of the drive aisle to allow for head-on parking where parallel parking exists is adding 22 spaces,” Wicko told the board.

Wicko said the landscaping buffer and the fence between the complex and the houses on Corona Drive would be maintained. He said some overgrown evergreen trees would be removed and replaced with new trees. There will be additional landscaping in the form of new traffic islands.

Neither the River Street nor the Commerce Park proposal came before the board as a public hearing, so there was no opportunity for public comment.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a two-lot subdivision at 231 Meadows End Road. No one from the public commented on the proposal.

Attorney Thomas Lynch, representing property owner Angelo Lisi, said one lot would be about 9,300 square feet and the other would be 9,900 square feet in the SFA-10 zone, which has minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square feet.

“The extremely dilapidated single-family house…will be razed,” said Lynch. Lisi plans to build a 2,400 square foot raised ranch style home on each of the two lots. Five trees will be removed and 11 new ones will be planted, Lynch said.

As required by zoning regulations, Lisi will donate 10 % of the subdivision's appraised value of the land to the city's open space fund, in lieu of donating land.