Milford ‘paper street’ could be abandoned for sport courts plan

MILFORD — What started as an engineering plan to rebuild tennis, pickleball and basketball courts ended up as the Laurel Beach Association requesting the abandonment of a paper street from Stanley Street to Court Street.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Board approved the request, but because it was an 8-24 request, the final vote for the city to abandon paper street will be taken by the Board of Aldermen.

“This is a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen because the Board of Aldermen is the one who ultimately approves the request,” said David Sulkis, P&Z executive secretary. “If you approve the request, the Board of Aldermen can approve it with a simple majority. However, if you deny the request, then it takes a supermajority of the Board of Aldermen to approve it.”

The Planning and Zoning Board heard the request to abandon the paper street from Stanley Street to Court Street (lots 74 and 75) on March 15.

“In March of 2021, I contacted an architect-engineer firm named SLR to come and do a survey of our property. We have tennis courts, pickleball courts and basketball courts,” said Sonia Bannon Penagos, Board of Managers of the Laurel Beach Association.

Penagos asked the firm if they needed to resurface, repair or rebuild the courts, and the firm told her they needed to rebuild.

“We discussed how the courts there are not USTA size, and we needed to make some adjustment and move a little bit towards the west, and I said great, give me some plans, and we’ll go from there,” said Penagos. “When they gave me the plans, they put something out in the middle of the ball field, and I told them that is not what we had discussed. They told me we couldn’t build there because it is a paper road.”

When Penagos asked what the paper road was, the firm told her that initially there was supposed to be a neighborhood, but the state came and took over the property across the street, and Laurel Beach Association owns the other side of the property. The firm told her nothing would happen unless the city abandons the paper road.

“So I started the request in November,” she said.

Sulkis said the paper street is a city right of way that it controls.

“This goes back to common law in Connecticut,” he said. “Streets have to come from somewhere, so streets in a new subdivision are usually carved out of the private property. Usually, when there is abandonment, the streets are divided because the owner on one side gets half of it and the owner on the other side gets half of it. In this case, the association has both sides, so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that it will go to whoever the property owners are if the city abandons it. In this case, it’ll be Laurel Beach Association.”