Mapping Milford's future: Residents can comment on draft proposal Tuesday
A Yale architect took community input into account when he drafted his portion of an updated Plan of Conservation and Development.
In his recommendations to the Planning & Zoning Board, Yale Architect Alan Plattus suggested that Fowler Field remain largely a recreational area, not one filled with shops and commercial venues.
Plattus' suggestions are included in a draft proposal for the updated Plan of Conservation and Development, which can be found on the P&Z website, http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/Public_Documents/FOV1-0002D74E/planning. A final public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. for residents to comment on the proposal.
Plattus, who leads the Yale Urban Design Workshop, noted in the proposal that during earlier public comment sessions, “commercial development of Fowler Field was almost unanimously opposed.”
He did recommend some changes at Fowler Field, and said the current configuration is “haphazard, confusing and potentially unsafe.” He noted there is a lot of parking space at Fowler Field, and he said the current configuration and mixture of uses — ballfields, tennis courts and parking — “do little to maximize the park's unique location adjacent to Milford Harbor.”
The draft plan recommends that the city move the driveway that leads to the boat launch to the other side of the pavilion to allow for better pedestrian access to the harbor. There are two schematics for Fowler Field in the draft plan: One showing a parking garage in place of one of the ballfields, and the other with no parking garage.
In his section of the draft report, Plattus also pointed out the need for more recreational facilities in the city, such as a lacrosse field, dog parks, “potentially at Edgewood Park in Devon and the Melba Street Park,” more community gardens and improvements at Eisenhower Park.
The lengthy plan addresses many aspects of Milford development, including the effect rising sea levels have on the coastal community. According to the draft plan, portions of the Atlantic Coast, including Long Island Sound, have been designated as “sea level rise hotspots” that are rising three to four times faster than in other parts of the world.
“Increased sea levels are expected to result in more flooding and increased height of storm surge for coastal cities such as Milford,” the plan states. “In addition, because some of the shoreline construction is at extremely low elevation adjacent to tidal marshlands, these lands may be lost when sea level rises increase.”
The plan says Milford should start examining its entire shoreline with sea level rise impacts in mind and start acquiring shoreline property that is most likely to be lost to rising sea levels.
The report also addresses future development in Walnut Beach, which has undergone many changes over the years. The Yale Urban Design Workshop suggests that the pedestrian link between the beach and the nearby stores be improved, and that the main link, East Broadway, be reconfigured so it’s more attractive.
“The adjacent residential uses are set far back from the street, and the pedestrian environment along East Broadway is unpleasant and uninteresting,” the report states. “It could be possible to reconfigure the street as a more pedestrian-friendly corridor through lane narrowing, expansion of the pedestrian realm with a linear park, and development of new street-facing, mixed-use buildings along the east side of the street.”
The draft plan also suggests that the public beach at the end of Naugatuck Avenue be redeveloped as an entertainment pier and become an anchor for the commercial district, “much as it was in the 1920s.”
The Plan of Conservation and Development must be updated every 10 years to qualify for grants. Milford's was last updated in 2002: It is a statement of policies, goals and standards for the physical and economic development of the city.