Owners of Asian marketplace project in Milford fined $100 per day for blight

A close-up view of new Asian marketplace under construction, whose owners face hefty fines for letting the site fall into disrepair, in violation of the city's blight ordinance.

A close-up view of new Asian marketplace under construction, whose owners face hefty fines for letting the site fall into disrepair, in violation of the city's blight ordinance.

The owners of an Asian marketplace under construction at 804 Boston Post Road are being fined $100 per day since July 4 for blight on the property, health department officials say.

The prominent site is the former location of the once-popular M & M Farm Market.

The order of violation was given by the Milford Health Department June 4, and the owners had until July 4 to clean up the site, health department records show. As of Thursday, they had been charged $100 a day for 77 days for a total of $7,700.

In addressing the fines to the Board of Health, Health Department Executive Director Deepa Joseph said the goal is always to work with the owners of a blighted property to remedy the situation.

The site has improved to the eye of those driving by the busy intersection, but blight remains, health department officials say.

Beginning in May, the owners were ordered by the health department to cut down all overgrown vegetation, repair or replace construction fencing and plywood that is falling down or in disrepair and to get rid of “inorganic” building materials, appliances and household furnishings on the site. The report also reflects a violation because storage containers were left in a state of disrepair or abandonment.

The owners are listed as Long and Lily Deng of Long Island and the company as iFresh, a Chinese supermarket chain. Kevin Li, iFresh official, said this week that the company has cleaned up the site extensively, “but whatever we do they’re not satisfied.”

Li said construction crews are working on the cleanup each month. He said owners have been asked to address the construction fence, “but it’s not 100 percent falling down.”

“We’re trying to fix it up,” Li said, noting he is looking for a way to remove the city’s lien on the property in respect to the blight fines.

Health Department records show that on June 14, Li told a health department official he was not aware of the anti-blight order and asked for an extension, as the company was changing contractors. The health department declined to grant the extension.

On June 27, an inspector noted “90 percent” of vegetation was cut down and trash was cleaned up, but all of it was not completed and the construction fencing remained.

Into late August, reports show there was more to be done.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Board approved the Asian supermarket and food court in March 2016. It took a while for construction to begin, but once it did, a new building with Asian style storefront spaces quickly took shape.

Then the project came to a standstill and the highly visible property became overgrown with weeds and in obvious disrepair.

At the time of the public hearing, neighborhood residents expressed concern about the potential stench of garbage, delivery trucks in the wee hours and parking.

Architect Ray Oliver said at the time that his client, “New York Mart,” had 17 stores between New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The building, Oliver said, would be faced with clay and tile for an Asian look and include six storefronts.

The plan for the inside include a grocery store expected to carry produce, fish and Asian specialty items, a food court and market area with vendors.

Li said there are still plans for the business to open, but right now he cannot say when.