Two sets of neighbors opposed to construction of a single-family house at 182 Milford Point Road have filed a court appeal of the July 7 Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approval.
The P&Z approval was for a special permit and site plan review for the house within 25 feet of the high tide mark. The board added the requirement that the house have a sprinkler system for fire suppression.
John F. and Jennifer L. O’Connell of 283 First Avenue, and Vincent and Patricia Lesko of 286 First Avenue, filed the appeal July 30 in Superior Court, seeking to overturn the P&Z decision.
The house would be located on a 0.27-acre property between Milford Point Road and the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh, just past the curve beyond First Avenue.
The Milford P&Z is named as the primary defendant, along with Ralph Roballey of Stratford, who is listed as co-owner of the property. The other property co-owner is Milford Point Properties LLC, which is not named in the lawsuit. Other defendants are former property owners SDM LLC, which lists George J. Jaser as the agent, and Todd Jaser, executor for the estate of George Jaser.
Also named as defendants are George and Arla Wiles, who are the contract purchasers for the house. George Wiles is the architect for the proposed house, which would be located within the 100-year flood zone.
In the appeal, the O’Connells and Leskos wrote that the board in its decision “acted illegally, arbitrarily, and in abuse of its discretion,” which is standard legal language for an appeal.
They put forth the argument that the board “failed to comply with all the standards set forth in the Milford zoning regulations” and wrote that the planned house is “contrary and inconsistent with the Milford zoning regulations.”
According to the plaintiffs, “the reasons given by the board are not substantially supported by the record.” They also charge that the board “failed to find compliance” with its special permit regulations.
The regulations state that a particular project should be in compliance with the board’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The special permit regulations also require that a project not create a traffic hazard. The regulations further state that site use “will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land and buildings, or impair the value thereof.”
Prior to the 9-1 vote in favor of the house, board members questioned George Wiles about the report from the Milford Fire Department, which stated, “The fire department cannot guarantee service in times of flooding and high tide.”
Wiles said the plans met the requirements of the fire department and agreed to install sprinklers in the proposed house in response to the concerns.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) granted two variances at its Aug. 14, 2012 meeting by a 4-1 vote. One variance is for a front yard setback of 20.5 feet when 30 feet are required. The other variance is for a rear yard setback of 15.4 feet from the mean high water mark where 25 feet is required.
At that meeting, the O’Connells and the Leskos, and residents of six other First Avenue homes, asked the ZBA to deny the application based on flooding concerns. Only the O’Connells spoke in opposition at the July 7 P&Z public hearing.
The parcel is a legal, non-conforming lot because it is 11,688 square feet in an R-12 zone that requires a minimum lot size of 12,500 square feet.
Speaking before the P&Z on July 7, Wiles said the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had granted a permit and notice to approve.
Commenting on the flooding concerns, Wiles said the city has plans to raise Milford Point Road to address the flooding concerns.
At the July 7 P&Z meeting, John O’Connell said Milford Point Road floods every full moon for two days before and after.
During the meeting, board vice chair Jeanne Cervin asked if the city would be liable “if a disaster occurred” if the board approved the application, knowing the area is flood-prone.
Board members Anthony Sutton and Michael Dolan, who said they are both trial attorneys, said the city would not be liable.