Hillside Avenue house approval and regulation updates fill short P&Z meeting

A short agenda with little need for discussion resulted in a brief 10-minute meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) on Oct. 21.

With a completed application to review, the board quickly and unanimously approved an application for a single-family house at 105 Hillside Avenue to be built on a 0.11-acre parcel.

At its Oct. 7 meeting, Milford City Planner David Sulkis told the board the application was incomplete, and the board declined to add the request to its agenda. At the Oct. 21 meeting, Sulkis said, “The issues that existed at the last meeting have been addressed.”

At the Oct. 21 meeting, Stephen Bellis, attorney for the applicant, Esquire Development LLC, said the proposal meets all requirements for the R-5 zone and needed no variances. The two-story house will be built on eight foot high piers. Bellis, who is also manager of Esquire, said the lot is currently vacant, as the previous house had been torn down following damage in two storms.

In other business, the board unanimously recommended the city sell a house at 2 Bittersweet Avenue that it acquired through foreclosure. The proposal moves to the Board of Aldermen for a vote at its Nov. 6 meeting, which will take place on a Thursday, due to Election Day that week.

Sulkis told the board that the city foreclosed on the house due to “many liens placed against it for blight. Now that the city owns it, it would like to dispose of it.”

According to the city's property records, Brian and Estelle Dworkin had owned the house. The 1,200 square foot house is located on a 0.09-acre lot.

The board voted unanimously to move a series of recommended updates to the zoning regulations to the next phase of the review stage. John Grant, chairman of the board's Regulations Subcommittee, had distributed the recommendations at the Oct. 7 meeting to board members for their review.

Grant said the state revised its building code in 2009, requiring structures to be built at least one foot above the base flood elevation.

Milford's current regulations state that structures should be built at or above the base flood elevation. This means that the local regulations are out of compliance with the state requirements. Until the board updates the regulations, zoning staff is informing applicants about the need to meet the current state regulations, said Grant.

The proposed change in wording to section 5.8.12 to 5.8.14 recommends deleting the words “base flood” and replacing them with “regulatory flood protection elevation.”

The board also would like to add a section numbered, which would state that all buildings in a flood hazard area would need to meet the requirements of the current state building code.

The next steps in the process include having the proposed regulation changes reviewed by city departments, and the South Central Regional Council of Governments. With comments from these officials, the P&Z would then review its proposal and conduct a public hearing before voting on the updates.

With regard to other regulation updates, the board is proposing deleting the paragraph numbered, which regulates non-conforming lots in the Shopping Center Design District.

The board is also proposing deleting from the regulations, which outlines the powers of the Zoning Board of Appeals with regard to granting variances.

The final proposed change addresses 5.16, which regulates the number of required parking spaces on a property. This change would simply substitute the word “should” for “shall” in the regulations.

Finally, the public hearing for a four-lot subdivision at 364 Orange Avenue was postponed to the board's Nov. 5 meeting. The property is 4.36 acres and currently has a 1,670 square foot house on it with an 1,150 square foot barn that was used as a farmstand when the former Novelli Orchard was in operation. The Stratford law firm of Shepro & Hawkins is listed as the agent for property owner 364 Orange Ave. LLC.