Neighbors line up to oppose Seaside housing project

When it came time for the public comment portion of a June 6 presentation for a 12-unit townhouse project at 178 Seaside Ave., about 15 residents jumped up almost in unison and lined up from the podium to the back of the City Hall auditorium.

By the time the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) hearing wrapped up around 11 p.m., a total of 34 people spoke in opposition to the project, citing concerns about the project’s density, the negative effect it might have on their property values, and the increased traffic it would generate. No one spoke in favor of the proposal. About 60 people were in the audience.

Although the state Senate and House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would effectively create a four-year moratorium on 8-30g projects in Milford, Attorney Thomas Lynch, who presented the plans for the applicant, said the change would not affect this project because it is being proposed under existing laws. Gov. Dannel Malloy has not signed the bill into law.

When most residents spoke in opposition to the plans, they asked the board to table any decision, perhaps hoping that Malloy would sign the 8-30g changes into law prior to such a decision.

Regina Pierce of 181 Seaside Ave. said she lives across from this property, and said the traffic data is wrong about the speeding and number of accidents on Seaside Avenue.

“I don’t know how we are going to stuff that into that little area,” said Pierce.

Dan Varga of 109 Underhill Road said the project is 25 feet from his backyard. Varga said the dumpster would be by his backyard and questioned if it would smell in the summer. He said snow would be pushed to his backyard.

John Bonetti of 157 Seaside Ave. said the project puts at risk “the financial safety of property owners” on Seaside Avenue. Bonetti said the homeowners on Seaside Avenue have incomes and mortgages similar to those for the proposed apartments.

Bonetti said he spoke with a real estate agent who he said told him “proximity to these projects is damaging” to the value of homes. Bonetti said, “Many residents rely on the value of their homes” to fund their children’s college education, and their own retirement.

Emma Sicotte of 156 Seaside Ave. said traffic is traveling faster than 25-35 mph, and said many accidents are not reported. Sicotte rebutted Lynch’s assertion that the neighborhood has varied uses.

“This is not a mixed bag. It is a single-family neighborhood,” said Sicotte. “To bring something like that into this neighborhood is wrong.”

Colleen Noyes of 6 Seaside Court said, “The controversy stems from the density and not from the affordable housing ruse.”

Noyes said she is not opposed to affordable housing, but said the project “is like trying to fit a size 10 foot into a size 6 shoe.”

Susan Morazes of 23 Lewis St. said she lives on a same-sized lot and said, “I cannot imagine how you are going to shoehorn 12 units in” Morazes expressed concern about flooding resulting from snow melting, and the traffic generated by the project. “The buildings may be attractive, but will stick out like a sore thumb,” she said.

John Hyatt of 49 Bassett St. said he retired from 25 years as a Milford firefighter, and said the Tower 1 truck weighs 80,000 pounds and cannot be set up on a drainage galley or catch basin. Hyatt said the outriggers on the truck are 18 feet wide. He said the outriggers need at least 13 feet to operate.

“If the ground won’t support the truck, and firefighters can’t get to the fire, lives may be in danger,” said Hyatt.

Responding to public input, Lynch addressed the board by saying, “The speakers are asking you to ignore the law. We can’t choose laws to ignore. This application is presented in accordance with the current law. You were elected to discharge your duties in accordance with the laws of the state of Connecticut.”