Milford apartment project delayed over storm water report

The David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect St. in Milford

The David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect St. in Milford

Pam McLoughlin / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — The public hearing originally scheduled for a proposed mixed-use project with 36 apartments at 67 Prospect St. has been postponed to the Feb. 16 meeting of the Planning and Zoning at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The hearing was originally scheduled for the board’s Feb. 2 meeting.

The board voted unanimously on July 19 to have a public hearing on the proposal, which includes restoring the historic 1835 David L. Baldwin house on the property and converting it for use into an office and fitness center, and constructing a three-story building behind the house for the apartments.

Baldwin served as Milford town clerk for 27 years and clerk of probate for 12 years. The property was one part of the home lot of the Rev. Peter Prudden (1601-1656), leader of the Hertfordshire Group that founded Milford in 1639, and first pastor of the First United Church of Christ.

According to Attorney Thomas Lynch, who is representing 67 Prospect Street LLC, the delay is caused by updates to the plans for the drainage system. Lynch indicated in an email that the revised plans are for a system intended to retain all storm water on the property, even from a 100 year storm.

“We want all aspects of the site plan to receive city department approval prior to presenting it to the board,” he wrote, adding that the city engineer is reviewing the plans and his report would likely not be available by the Feb. 2 meeting.

When the Inland Wetlands Agency approved the wetlands portion of the project at its Dec. 20, 2017, seven residents spoke in opposition, based on their concerns of how the project might affect neighboring properties with regard to storm water flow. The project needed wetlands approval because the property is located within 150 feet of wetlands or watercourses within the Wepawaug River watershed.

The three-story apartment building will have grade level parking underneath and includes 36 single-bedroom apartments on the next two floors. The property would have 58 parking spaces, of which 32 spaces would be under the building.

Zoning regulations require 1,000 sq. ft. of land for each one bedroom or efficiency unit, which means a project of this density is permitted in the zone. The property is a 0.98-acre lot, and is located within the Milford Center Design District, which permits mixed use developments with multi-family housing.

As part of a legal settlement with the city, the owners paid for a ground-penetrating radar investigation on Aug. 20, 2020, which concluded that there were no “anomalous radar reflection patterns consistent with unmarked graves.” Local historians had thought the city’s first burying ground was in the backyard, meaning that a number of Milford’s founders could be buried on the property. However, the radar survey settled that question.

The owners also agreed to recreate and restore a bronze plaque and stone, previously located next to the Baldwin House driveway, at or near its former location.

Finally, they agreed to restore the exterior building systems on the Baldwin House to wood or replaced with wood before any certificate of occupancy is granted for any portion of the apartment building or site.

The Milford Historic Preservation Commission, in turn, agreed to issue a certificate of appropriateness, to allow the project to move forward. The first floor of the Baldwin House would have 1,285 sq. ft. of office space. The second floor would have a fitness center for use by the apartment dwellers.

The LLC lists Christina Smyth of New York, Michael Tarantino and Daniel Boynton, both of Milford, as members. Boynton and Smyth purchased the property for $455,000 on July 20, 2015.