Milford considering live-work units

MILFORD —Fernando Pastor’s goal is to turn five obsolete and semi-vacant office suites into 14 live-work units on Oxford Road.

Pastor plans to turn the units in Building D of the Office Park into a live-work community where empty nesters, young professionals and established service providers, would be able to run small businesses from home.

“The live-work concept is not new, but it is seen in many urban areas worldwide,” Pastor said at a recent Planning and Zoning meeting. “The pandemic has underscored the need for more live-work options.”

A live-work unit allows a non-separated business and residential use within the same space. The commercial use can be no more than 50 percent of the unit.

Pastor also plans to reduce the number of car spaces and transform them into green areas, planting trees and replacing asphalt with impervious surfaces. He said this will increase the appeal of the property, creating an environment akin with the new ways of living that the market is shifting towards.

“A raised flower bed would delineate each unit rather than a rain garden,” James Sakonchick, president of Kratzert, Jones & Associates, Inc., — the project’s architects — said at a recent Planning and Zoning meeting.

The proposal originally came before the Planning and Zoning board on Nov. 3 as a special exception to allow the live-work dwelling units because housing is prohibited in the current zone regulation at 4 Oxford Rd.

The board decided to table the vote to Nov. 16 because they wanted more time to read a more completed file, however, Tuesday’s meeting was canceled.

If approved, City Planner David Sulkis, said these would be the first live-work units in Milford.

John Mortimer, a member of the Planning and Zoning board, said he found an artisan village an interesting idea but had some concern about the impact on the the current zone.

The current units are 1,562 square feet of typical office suites, which will be converted into two 780-square-foot live-work units.

Sakonchick said the buildings must have sprinkles. A portion of each unit is set up for kitchen, bathroom and bedroom use with a wall separating the front workspace from the back living space.

According to city staff, depending on the unit, it can have up to two bedrooms and a proposed work area of 20 percent to 40 percent of the space, which is separated by sliding doors.

“The building elevations change along the length of the building,” said Sakonchick. “The units will adapt well to smaller uses.”