Milford P&Z to revisit rules for accessory dwellings

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021.

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021.

Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Six months after it first began discussing them, accessory dwelling units will be back on the Planning and Zoning Board's agenda Jan. 2.

The most significant change in the proposed language of the city’s ADU regulations is the removal of the mention of family members related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption. But the P&Z is maintaining the regulation of having a common interior wall attach the ADU to the property's main house.

Groups like All in for Milford – an alliance of community leaders and neighborhood group – have called on the city to revise its regulations to make ADUs more attractive for homeowners to create while bringing more housing options to those in need.

Under state regulations, ADUs do not have to be attached or be occupied by a relative.

Some board members were against the state’s proposed regulation because they said it would turn a residential zone into a multi-family zone.

"That’s exactly what is it doing here," said Commissioner Mark Zahariades. "Instead of building a garage, you can build a house on your property.”

During the July meeting, City Planner David Sulkis said the state passed PA 21-29 because legislators were trying to achieve more housing options. He told the board members they could opt out of state law or they could update the city’s current ADU regulations.

In August, the P&Z decided to opt out of the state law allowing ADU on lots accompanying single-family homes. During the meeting, Chair Jim Quish said by opting out, the board can create its own regulation and maintain local control over its implementation.

“There is potential for irrevocable harm to Milford if we do not opt out,” Quish said during the August meeting. “We do not want to be handcuffed by the state regulations.”

Milford Mayor Ben Blake echoed the same sentiment as Quish, stating by opting out, the city can keep local control over "our planning destiny."

"If you don’t opt out, you give control to the State of Connecticut, which would be harmful to Milford," he said.

Also being discussed at Tuesday’s P&Z board meeting is the regulation change regarding vehicle charging stations.

The board doesn’t have existing text regarding vehicle charging stations. The vehicle charging regulation falls under the parking and loading regulations, general layout and design.

The proposed text states for new commercial, mixed-use or residential building projects requiring 30 or more parking spaces, 10 percent of those must provide a Level Two or direct current fast charging station. Level Two charging is defined as between 208 and 240 volts.