Empty building on Naugatuck Avenue to become business and apartments

A Planning and Zoning official said this week that converting a long-empty building on Naugatuck Avenue to a business with apartments above will be an improvement to the area.

The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday night from Christopher Saley, Milford’s public works director, for site plan review approval to convert an existing building at 255-257 Naugatuck Avenue for first-floor commercial use and three apartments on the upper two floors. Mixed uses are permitted in the CDD-2 zone.

The property has been boarded up for many years and had a sign for a long-closed Chinese restaurant on the front. The property is owned by DPC Associates, LLC, which lists David Plaskon of Seaview Avenue as the principal.

Saley said he purchased the property two years ago, which had previous approvals from the P&Z for a three-lot subdivision and an approval from more than 10 years ago for five apartments without a store.

“I could use the plan for five apartments,” said Saley. “I thought this plan made more sense.”

In presenting the application to the Planning and Zoning Board this week, Saley said he lives in the area and he did not think the subdivision was right for the parcel, which is 0.18 acres. He said some people question the commercial part of the building.

“A lot of people think commercial use won't be successful in that area,” said Saley, who is also a local businessman. “I think it will be successful.”

As part of the plan, the board is requiring Saley to create a patio area at the rear of the property. The parcel will have eight parking spaces and more are available on Naugatuck Avenue and Manila Avenue. Allowing shared parking was part of the board's approval.

Responding to a suggestion from the board, Saley said he did not think he would need to label the onsite parking spots for the apartments. He would work with the tenants to determine the best way to use the parking lot.

The plan received positive comments from two board members. Board member Jim Quish, who represents the area, said, “It's a welcome addition to the third district.” Board member Jeanne Cervin said, “It certainly will be an upgrade to the area.”

Other business

In other business, the board unanimously approved construction of a new house at 89 Cooper Avenue to replace one heavily damaged in October 2012 by Superstorm Sandy. The project required coastal area management site plan approval.

Architect Raphael Amaya said property owner Laurie Robinson has been living in a trailer on the property since the house was damaged and subsequently demolished. Amaya said Milford officials determined the house was damaged to more than 50% of its value.

Amaya said the new house would be 1,402 square feet, which is slightly smaller than the previous house that was 1,532 square feet. The house will fall just under the 35-foot height limit, and will be elevated out of the flood zone with a two-car garage on the first level.