P&Z defers action on large Boston Post Road development

The Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) deferred action until its June 6 meeting on a large-scale project including a hotel, shopping center, and apartments on a mostly vacant 16-acre parcel on the Boston Post Road bordering Plains Road.

At its May 16 meeting, the board approved a resubdivision request from Metro 150 LLC to create a three-lot subdivision at 150 and 184 Boston Post Road, and 92, 100, and 110 Plains Road on property owned by Jordan Realty.

Attorney John Knuff said the 16.24-acre property was being consolidated from six properties to three. Knuff said that Lot 1 along the Post Road was intended for retail use, while Lot 2 along Plains Road was designed for multi-family residential use, and Lot 3 along Plains Road and I-95 was planned for a hotel.

Knuff said that all lots comply with the zoning regulations. He said the buffer requirements would be met along both sides of the property lines.

The hearing on the full project was attended by about 40 residents and lasted about three hours.

The board vote was 9-1 with board member Richard Lutz voting against the resubdivision. Lutz was not necessarily opposed to the motion, but wanted to wait until the board heard the presentations for all parts of the development before voting for the resubdivision.

As part of the application, Metro 150 is requesting a special permit and site plan approval to construct a retail shopping center at 150 and 184 Boston Post Road and 92 Plains Road, a hotel at 100 and 110 Plains Road and 150 Boston Post Road, and multi-family residential development at 92 and 100 Plains Road, and 150 Boston Post Road.

The board postponed any discussion and vote on the project components to give its members time to review the information presented. It kept open the hearing on the three construction plans in case it had any further questions for the applicant.

Shopping Center Plans

According to Knuff, the shopping center would consist of one 60,000 sq. ft. along the Post Road. Knuff said the plan meets all zoning regulations. He said the project provides a greater buffer than required by the zoning regulations, saying a 6-foot landscaping buffer is required along the Post Road side, but the developer is actually providing 20 feet.

Raymond Paier, project engineer from Westcott and Mapes, said the 5.97-acre property has 500 feet of frontage along the Post Road, and would have a sidewalk along the full width with walkways at both ends of the site. The plans show 249 parking spaces.

Paier said the stormwater management system would have an underground detention system that would keep all rainwater onsite and have it discharge into the ground.

Architect John Wicko said the building could have between one and three tenants. Wicko said there is extensive landscaping planned, including shade and ornamental trees, along with shrubs. He said evergreen trees would be planted along the rear of the property to screen the proposed apartments from the store.

David Sullivan, a traffic engineer from Milone and MacBroom, said his study considered all three applications, and covered Route 1 from Plains Road to Route 162, and Plains Road from I-95 to Route 1.

He said that traffic growth in the area “has been flat and in some cases has gone down.” Sullivan said he used a suggested growth rate of 0.6 percent. He said he made a recommendation to the state Department of Transportation, which also has to review the plans, to adjust the timing of the light at nearby traffic signals to improve traffic flow.

Sullivan said the stores would have two driveways with a recommendation for a traffic signal at the south entrance. He said the north entrance would be designed so that vehicles could only make a right turn to exit the property.

He said in the afternoon peak hour, there are 1,350 cars passing by the property along the Post Road. Sullivan said the stores would add another 203 cars in that peak hour. Of those 203 cars, 67 would use Plains Road to access I-95.

During the public hearing, no one spoke in favor of the stores, while four asked the board to reject the application, with some expressing concerns about increased traffic, and others about more development in Milford.

Susan Falcigno of 105 Benjamin Heights Drive said she is “very opposed to the whole project.” Falcigno said there is already a traffic impact to the area from Cumberland Farms, and Dunkin’ Donuts, and said the proposed apartments on Bic Drive would only add to traffic.

“It’s not good for that area. It’s way too much stuff,” said Falcigno.

Christine Parrella of 1253 Naugatuck Ave. questioned why the applicant was proposing more retail space when she said there are empty storefronts in the K-mart plaza, on Cherry Street, and at the Connecticut Post Mall. Parella said the plans would “tear down historic homes for profit.”

“It’s an overdeveloped city. When will the development stop?” asked Parrella.

In response, Knuff said, “It’s a vacant piece of property with no natural resources or historical value.” He said the Milford Police Department had “no concerns whatsoever” about traffic from the project.

Lutz commented that traffic on Plains Road is sometimes backed up from the Post Road to I-95.

In response, Sullivan said, “Part of the problem is the timing of the signals.”

Knuff said if the entire parcel was used for retail use, “we would be looking at far more traffic.” He said the hotel and apartments are “low impact traffic.”

Commenting on the question of empty storefronts, Knuff said, “Every retailer has their own special requirements.” He said a retailer may not wish to take over an existing site, noting that “older buildings are having trouble finding tenants.” He said the Whole Foods plaza and the new plaza with REI on the Post Road “are fully tenanted.”

The proposed building would be near the existing shopping center at 232 Boston Post Rd. A small warehouse building on 0.38-acres of land at 184 Boston Post Road would be demolished as part of this plan.

Metro 150 LLC registered with the Secretary of State on Nov. 7, 2016 and lists Metro Star Capital II LLC as manager. The latter LLC lists Metro Star Properties II LLC as member. This LLC lists Metro Star Properties LLC as its manager, which, in turn, lists Robert H. Smith Jr. of 50 Cherry St., as member.

The properties are owned by Jordan Realty LLC of Milford, which lists James R. Beard as member.

Jordan Realty has agreed to sell six acres of land at 130 and 150 Boston Post Road to the city of Milford, for construction of a new police station.