Neighbors upset with construction activity on Shelland Street
Frustrated residents pleaded with the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) at a Dec. 5 public hearing, asking the board to provide relief from noise and dust related to a contractor’s outside storage and operations yard on 3.11 acres of vacant land at 110 Shelland Street. The property is in the Housatonic Design District.
Instead, the board suggested the residents accept an offer to meet with Mallico Construction representatives and discuss their concerns about how noise and dust are diminishing their quality of life, and how Mallico might address those concerns. The board held open the public hearing until its Dec. 20 meeting to give both sides time to meet.
Mallico is seeking a special permit and site plan review to create a storage yard. According to the presentation at the hearing, the company constructed much of yard without applying for a permit.
At the public hearing, project engineer Raymond A. Macaluso told the board his firm, Westcott and Mapes, was hired after the fact to present plans for work that had been done without a permit. Macaluso said Mallico received “an enforcement order” from the P&Z on May 23, and Mallico hired Westcott and Mapes on June 15 to develop a site plan.
Macaluso said the plan for a contractor’s storage yard would meet all regulations. Uses would include storing roll-off dumpsters and trucks, screening topsoil, and storing topsoil, rock and mulch in concrete bays for sale to contractors. A water truck would be used to control dust.
“He will probably deliver it more than likely to contractors,” said Macaluso. “It will not be a retail operation.” He said there would be no rock crushing, even though the company would like to do this.
Hours would be Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., as needed.
Mallico does emergency work for the city of Milford, including snow plowing, and Macaluso said there may be times beyond these hours that the company needs to retrieve a piece of equipment.
Macaluso said there would be no utilities or building, and no connections for sanitary sewer or electric. He said an on-site trailer would be removed.
Macaluso said there would be a 20-foot wide buffer with a five-foot high berm along the rear of the property. The berm would be planted with evergreens, including spruce trees, white pines, and arborvitae. He said stormwater from city-owned property to the rear comes through the property and would be filtered before exiting onto Shelland Street.
“There is not going to be any activity, except a contractor storage yard,” said Macaluso.
Board member John Grant commented on the presentation by saying zoning regulations require the site to be enclosed “and should be screened on all sides.”
In response, Macaluso said, “There is no fence along the street line, but we can put one up if it is required.”
Board member Richard Lutz quoted from the zoning regulations, saying the buffer should have been installed “well in advance of starting work on the site.”
City Planner David B. Sulkis said the zoning regulations define screening in different sections as “anything from a wall to fencing to landscaping.” Sulkis told the board, “You have to make a judgment.”
The proposal would be constructed on two adjacent lots owned by Mallico Realty Company LLC of Orange, which lists James V. Mallico III as manager.
Mallico purchased the two properties from Jordan Realty LLC of Milford, on Nov. 25, 2015, paying $375,000 for each parcel. The 1.25-acre parcel had been appraised by the city for $142,760, while the 1.86-acre parcel had been appraised for $194,640. Jordan Realty lists James R. Beard as member.
The parcels are across from the Milford Power Company and almost back onto properties on Partridge Lane, but a narrow band of city owned land separates the two. One rear corner is adjacent to the property and home at 64 Tranquility Way.
Macaluso said there is a contractor storage yard on the adjacent parcel to the west and there is the perception that Mallico is doing the work that is upsetting neighbors.
According to city property records, the 1.61-acre property to the west is owned by Prindle Hill Construction LLC of Orange, which lists Franklin Bradley as member and Cathy Bradley as chairperson and owner. Prindle Hill purchased the property from Jordan Realty for $415,000 on Dec. 31, 2015.
Mallico owns a 1.44-acre parcel at 585 Plains Road, which is located at the end of Shelland Street. The Plains Road property has a multi-bay garage building with onsite parking for the firm’s trucks.
Neighbors vent frustrations
Describing the site work that took place in April, Sharon Chickos of 20 Partridge Lane, said, “It was horrendous. He took down every tree in sight and leveled everything.” Chickos said work took place even at 5 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
“The dust was incredible. I don’t know what a little water machine can do to keep down the dust,” said Chickos. “Putting in a berm and plantings are essential. We need large trees to buffer the noise and dust.”
Attorney Jennifer Mongillo spoke on behalf of Michael and Linda Abdelsayd of 64 Tranquility Way, saying, “Since last March my clients have been unable to enjoy their home.” Mongillo said that the city filed a cease and desist order against Mallico, which was “completely disregarded.”
Mongillo said work has been taking place from 5 a.m. until late evening with noise pollution from heavy machinery lifting dumpsters, and moving of rock and soil. She said the Abdelsayds cannot open their windows and their yard is covered in dirt. She said they are also unable to enjoy their pool due to all the dirt.
“They clear cut all the trees,” said Mongillo.
Edward Chickos of 20 Partridge Lane said, “I am friends with the Mallicos. All along young Jim said he would put a berm behind my house. I don’t want to see his equipment. The dust comes right up the hill toward our house.”
Chickos said he has a 100-foot wide buffer zone due to the city-owned property, but said the Abdelsayds have nothing.
Linda Abdelsayd said, “Since Mallico came in, we do not sleep,” saying they are woken up at 6 a.m. by rocks being dumped into the back of a dump truck.
“The dust is unbelievable,” said Linda Abdelsayd. “I cannot open a window.”
Speaking in favor of the plan was Louis D’Amato of D’Amato Brother Builders. He said he is the owner of an adjacent six-acre parcel, saying, “I am in the process of preparing a plan for a series of buildings.”
D’Amato said, “The property is zoned for what it is used for.” He said if homeowners buy property next to an industrial parcel, they do not have a right to complain.
“These are good people and they have a right to develop their property,” said D’Amato, commenting on the Mallico family.
In response to the public comment, Macaluso said he had contacted Mongillo to schedule a meeting with the neighbors, and said, “We did not know there were other neighbors who were opposed.”
Mongillo said she received a phone call the day before the hearing and declined to meet because the Abdelsayds wanted to address their concerns to the board. She said she was willing to reach out to other neighbors with regard to having a meeting with Macaluso and Mallico.
Board vice chairman Edward Mead said he thought it would be “worthwhile” for the neighbors to meet with the developer and return to the board.