Gulf St. subdivision dispute settled

A dispute over a four-lot subdivision at 622 Gulf St. has been resolved with a negotiated settlement with the adjacent property owners at 646 Gulf St.

The Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) unanimously approved the settlement at its Sept. 17 meeting, with the final approval coming from Superior Court Judge Theodore R. Tyma on Sept. 23 at the State Superior Courthouse in Derby.

Attorney Thomas Lynch, representing Francis G. and Mona J. Luperella of 646 Gulf St., speaking by phone following the court hearing, said that under state law, land use cases cannot be withdrawn, even if those involved reach a settlement, hence the need for the hearing. Lynch said that since the P&Z agreed to the settlement, Tyma accepted the stipulation, ending the case.

The Luparellas had challenged the board’s Aug. 7, 2018, approval of the subdivision at 622 Gulf St. Lynch wrote in the Aug. 29, 2018, lawsuit that the P&Z’s decision was “contrary and inconsistent to the Milford Subdivision Regulations” because it allowed for the “creation of building lots without proper roadway access.”

George H. Ward, Trustee, owner of 622 Gulf St. had received approval from the board for the subdivision, including a waiver for the width of the accessways to the rear lots, and for the shape 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 about a century. The board approval included permission to construct two additional houses.

The accessway to Old Field Lane to 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.

At the Sept. 17 P&Z meeting, Lynch said the main concern of the Luperellas was the access driveway from Old Field Lane, which he said was from a 1921 easement granted by a prior owner to the prior owner of the 622 Gulf St. property. He said they were concerned the construction of a two additional homes would overburden the easement.

Lynch said a realignment of the property line and creation of a new driveway on his client’s property allows access these two rear lots. He said the Fire Marshal Bernard Begley reviewed the plans and issued an approval memo on Sept. 12, based on the plans, which include a fire hydrant to be located on Gulf Street, and a driveway radius that meets the fire department’s standards for access.

“My clients were pleased with the outcome of these negotiations because by moving the driveway further back it now enables them to construct a home on the front part of the property,” said Lynch, commenting that with the location of the prior easement, they could not construct a house closer to the street with a water view.

Lynch said deed restrictions were negotiated including restricting the locations of future houses on both properties, and having Ward pay for the construction of the new common driveway with future maintenance costs to be shared by the two property owners on a negotiated basis.

Attorney Kevin Curseaden, who represented the Ward property, asked the board to approve the settlement, which would then need to be approved by a judge. Curseaden said the settlement involved a slight lot line adjustment and a relocation of the easement on the Ward property. He said the settlement has no impact on the subdivision approval.

There was no one from the public at the P&Z meeting to comment on the proposed settlement.