Four-lot subdivision: Gulf Street vote expected soon

The Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) is expected to vote at an upcoming meeting on an application for a four-lot subdivision at 622 Gulf St.

The board had two public hearings on the proposal, one on June 19 and the other on July 17. The board’s next scheduled meetings are Aug. 7 and 21.

George H. Ward, Trustee, and his successors owns the 3.9-acre property in the R-18 zone. The proposal needs a coastal area management site plan review and approval, subdivision approval, along with waivers for the width of the accessways to the rear lots, and the shapes of two of the four lots.

There are three houses on the property and these houses are accessed by either rights of way or easements across neighboring properties, which date back more than a century. The accessway to Old Field Lane is 10 to 16 feet wide and the one to Gulf Street is 15 to 20 feet wide, both narrower than the 25 feet required by Milford’s zoning regulations for rear lots.

Ward is requesting the subdivision to allow him to construct two additional houses on the property, houses that would use the existing accessways.

Attorney Kevin Curseaden requested that the board not vote on the application at its July 17 meeting because only seven of the 10 board members were present.

Due to the requested waivers of the subdivision regulations, the board needs at least 75% or eight of its 10 members to vote in favor of the waivers for them to be approved. Had the board voted at its July 17 meeting, the waivers would have no chance of being approved, due to the lack of at least eight board members.

At the June 19 hearing, Curseaden said both state law and the city’s planning and zoning regulations allow the board to grant waivers to the subdivision regulations.

Curseaden said the Lots 1 and 2 need a waiver because they do not fit the definition of being generally rectangular in shape due to small bump outs in their shape. Lots 3 and 4 need a waiver because the right of way to access them is not 25 feet wide.

He cited a court case from 1924 that said property owners can access their property from an existing right of way and no mention is made of the width of that right of way. He said a title attorney said it would insure titles for these lots based on that case.

In his advice to the board, City Planner David B. Sulkis said the board does not have to make its decision based on the 1924 legal case that Curseaden presented, commenting, “Every case is different.”

Following the June 19 meeting, Curseaden said he had an individual meeting with Attorney Thomas Lynch, who is representing Francis and Mona Luperella of 646 Gulf St. The accessway to two of the houses, one existing and one proposed, is on their property, and derives from a 1921 easement. Curseaden said he also had two joint meetings with other property owners, which included Joseph Blichfeldt of 650 Gulf St.

Curseaden said Lynch had a meeting on July 13 with John Milone, who is president of the engineering firm of Milone & MacBroom, to try to stake out where the access driveway at 646 Gulf St. would be. The intent was to guide the Luparellas as to where they can build a house on their own lot.

“Mr. Ward is trying to walk a fine line between satisfying Mr. Luparella so he doesn’t come and object to this project, or appeal the approval, and Mr. Joe Blichfeldt’s property over here, and any negative impact that a new house here might have on Mr. Blichfeld, who has already stated his support for the project,” said Curseaden.

“There are a lot more discussions and negotiations that need to go on with that. Mr. Lynch said I could represent that his client does not have any objections to the application tonight,” Curseaden added.

Curseaden said he believed the board could grant subdivision approval based on the private accessways. He said the use of the accessways is subject to private agreement between property owners, and is not something the board can decide.

During the July 17 public hearing, two neighbors commented on the application with one opposed and one in favor.

Thomas Mele of 612 Gulf St. said he shares a 500-foot border with Ward’s property. Mele questioned why the proposed Lot 4 is not using the accessway from Gulf Street, instead of the one leading to Old Field Lane.

“I am not too anxious to add additional traffic into this roadway. It is fairly narrow. It is too narrow for two cars to cross. I feel it is pretty well burdened the way it is,” said Mele. “I am curious as to why the accessway to Gulf Street from Lot 4 is not being used. This is roundabout and lengthy.”

Joseph Blichfeldt of 650 Gulf St. said he favored the subdivision because it would maintain the character of the neighborhood.

He commented that on Seaview Avenue there is a new subdivision that is not in character with the neighborhood of beachside bungalows or individual homes.

“It’s just my guess that the development being done there is done to maximize the revenue they can get from the subdivision or whatever it is,” said Blichfeldt. “We have a different thing, someone who wants to maintain the character of the community he is in. That is a unique circumstance and it is something I can support.”

Blichfeldt was referring to the eight-unit project at 214-224 Seaside Ave., which is an 8-30(g) affordable housing project that the board approved under threat of a pending court appeal if it was denied.