P&Z denies Grillo application

While the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) denied a proposed Grillo Services landscaping products operation at 553 West Ave., it left open the door to acceptance of a modified proposal for an office building and limited retail operation.

The board voted 7-2 at its March 1 meeting to deny Grillo’s application for a special exception and site plan review to construct a facility for leaf composting, tree and brush recycling, processing of topsoil, and sale of landscaping products, including mulch, compost, soils, gravel, stone products and pavers.

Board chairman Anthony Sutton and board member Jim Quish voted against the motion to deny. Board member Scott Marlow abstained because he is a long-time member of Kingdom Life Christian Church, where he also serves in a leadership role as presbyter. Grillo has a contract to purchase the West Avenue property from Kingdom Life, pending P&Z approval of the application.

In making the motion to deny, board member John Grant said the proposed industrial use by Grillo did not fit the zone, which is designed for office buildings.

Board member Richard Lutz said proposed processing of landscaping materials at the West Avenue site was the issue. Lutz said the Grillos had discussed wanting a corporate office and retail use on the site, and said if there was no material processing on the site, he could perhaps look differently at the plan.

Michael Grillo, co-owner of Grillo, asked the board if that meant he would need to file another application, and was told the suggestion would involve a new, modified application.

The facility, which would have been accessed from West Avenue, would have included two buildings with roads on fewer than eight acres of a 57.33-acre property zoned Design Office 25. The project would have included construction of a 3,300 sq. ft. two-story office building, and a single-story 3,200 sq. ft. Quonset hut style building for dry storage.

This location would have been in addition to the existing facility at 1183 Oronoque Road, where the company has a 16.48-acre property it leases. In 2021, Grillo’s lease on the Oronoque Road property expires, and the landlord plans to take back eight acres of that property for other uses.

The Jan. 5 public hearing on the proposed Grillo Services drew positive comments from 13 residents and negative comments from 14 others. The Feb. 16 public hearing saw some of those 14 concerned residents return, with six people expressing opposition to the plan, and none speaking in favor.

The 13 people who had spoken in favor of the Grillo plan on West Avenue said Milford should support a local business, which is attempting to remain in Milford, works with natural products and has supported community organizations with donations.

The 14 people who opposed the plan at the Jan. 5 meeting, and those who returned at the Feb. 16 hearing, said they were concerned about the volume of truck traffic passing through a residential neighborhood in close proximity to JFK School and the noise that would be generated by the processing machines.

Lawrence Grillo, company vice president, said the company hasn’t made any decision yet on its next move, whether to submit a new application of look for property elsewhere.

“We’re going to take some time and digest the Planning and Zoning Board’s decision from last night," Grillo said on Wednesday. "At this moment we haven't given thought to any property in any town."