Milford P&Z denies proposed regulation change

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021.

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021.

Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — After a lengthy discussion, Milford's Planning and Zoning board denied a regulation review change that a local attorney had proposed.

Attorney Kevin Curseaden had proposed a regulation change in September to the Planning and Zoning Board that, he said, would make the site plan review procedures more efficient. 

Curseaden said his proposal would bring the local P&Z into compliance with statutory time frames for action on a site plan.

"The site plan needs to be heard by the commission within 65 days of filing," he said. "The current regulation leaves it open to the city to review. So it leaves it open to their availability whether they're on vacation, they're present, if they have time to review and the discretion of that person, whether something gets on the agenda."

The proposal would not remove the city planner from the site review, explained Curseaden. Instead, it allows the city planner's supervisor, the director of permitting and land use, or somebody else to review the plan.

"Right now, the city planner can delegate plan review, but his supervisor does not," he said. "When only one person is reviewing the plans, and if they are not available or don't have time due to staffing issues, then the plans don't get reviewed in a timely manner which prohibits it being on the agenda within 65 days."

Director of permitting and land use Joseph Griffith told the board there is a real problem missing the 65-day deadline.

"The concern here is that at no point does the clock not officially start," he said. "The application comes in. It gets reviewed and is based on our workload. Sometimes we can get to something quickly. Sometimes, not. There is no time to start the clock. Once the clock has started, it comes before this board and goes relatively quickly."

He said the regulation change would address that issue, Griffith said.

"The meeting after the application is handed over the counter, this board will be notified that we had an application come in, and that would start the clock," Griffith said. "The first day that any application is presented to the board, they won't be asked to make a decision on it. So it's a notification that you have an application, and the clock has started running. At that point, it's up to our office to make sure we have the exchange and dialogue with the application."

Griffith said if the application fails to show compliance, the applicant could pull it from the commission's agenda.

"We do have a 65-day clock," said David Sulkis, city planner. "We start that clock when we schedule the application for the board. Then, once we have vetted everything and it's been reviewed, which can take time, we schedule it and start the clock."

Sulkis said he had talked to the city attorney and the city's current regulations are fine.

"He said we can change them, but they are fine," Sulkis said. "But if the goal is to make the process faster for the applicant, that's not going to be accomplished by these proposed changes."