Milford approves 14 live-work units on Oxford Road

Renderings of the proposed live-work units on Oxford Road.

Renderings of the proposed live-work units on Oxford Road.

Contributed drawing

MILFORD — The city will soon be home to units that combine workspace with living quarters.

The Planning and Zoning Board, at its meeting Tuesday, approved creation of 14 live-work units at 14 Oxford Road, giving the developer the go-ahead to start the modifications of the office space after fulfilling conditions applied by the board to the project.

“The applicant has worked with the project team, inland wetlands, the city engineers office to come up with acceptable site plans,” said attorney Kevin Curseaden, who represents developer David Marasow.

Curseaden said the city engineer and wetlands put forth conditions for the approval.

“The city engineer wants to see a revised drainage report that centers around pre-existing detention pond when this development was first constructed, and the vegetation is growing in it and whether that detention pond functions as originally intended,” Curseaden said.

“The second part of that is inland wetlands would like to ensure the drain pipe is still a viable drain pipe and they want a video camera to be sent down that to confirm it’s not cracked and still working,” he added.

Curseaden said Marasow had agreed to both of the conditions.

The live-work units will feature an office in the front and an open space in the back, according to Marasow.

“Some of them had garage doors in the back, so you can have this as a commercial space and have an electrician, carpenter or somebody that has a small business to bring clients and talk or manufacture small things,” Marasow said. “We thought if someone can have an office in the front and workspace in the back, wouldn’t it be great if someone could sleep on site.”

The plan to convert five obsolete and semi-vacant office suites into 14 live-work units started on November of 2021 when Marasow went before the P&Z board to propose a special exception to the zoning regulation for the location. The board tabled the vote during the Nov. 3 meeting. Later in the month, the board approved the special exception for the city’s first live work units.

At 14 Oxford Road, four units in Building C and 10 units in Building D of the marsh Hill Business Park will be converted into a live-work community where empty nesters, young professionals and established service providers would be able to run small businesses form home. Commercial use can be more than 50 percent of the unit.

Marasow said the city had a hard time understanding how they were going to split the live and work aspect of the units.

“We decided if we added another floor it creates a great divide,” he said. “You have living quarters upstairs. You have a kitchen that gets closed off with pocket doors, and you can have any business in this footprint, it can be a yoga studio, manicure studio or a lawyer office or an accountant office, anything can be done in this footprint.”

Currently, there are two offices in Building C and Five in Building D.

Curseaden said the conversion of the 14 units to live-work properties will take place over time because there are tenants in some of the units and they have leases that extend over several years.

“There’s already 10 or 15 other towns that have done this concept, and it’s a great add on for Milford because I think it’s going to help a lot of people,” said Marasow. “A big problem we are seeing in Milford and other towns is all the new development is geared to high-end very expensive rents, and our goal is to keep something for the average small business that is trying to get by. With a nice two-bedroom with a nice workspace we are looking at $1800 to $2,000 rents, which I think is very fair especially with the size of the unit.”