P&Z okays replacement of Ford vehicle service area

A plan from Stevens Ford to replace a vehicle service area that was previously damaged by a heavy snowstorm at its facility at 717 Bridgeport Ave. was approved quickly and unanimously by the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) at its Sept. 1 meeting.

With only two items on the agenda, the board completed its work in only 20 minutes before an auditorium that contained no one from the public.

Raymond Paier, project engineer, told the board that the 5,500 foot structure is 102 feet long and 54 feet wide, and replaces one of equal size that was demolished following the snowstorm damage. Paier said the project also includes a new façade, entryway, vestibule and doors with interior upgrades.

Paier said exterior site work consists of limited repaving in the front and rear parking lots, and improving the underground storm water management system. The dealership also plans to install a timber guardrail along Bridgeport and Avery avenues to prevent vehicles from encroaching on the sidewalk, making walkway and curb improvements on Avery Avenue, and planting a tree on Avery Avenue.

Commenting on the site plan, City Planner David B. Sulkis said, “The project is an improvement and it makes the site more compliant with our regulations.”

In other business, the board unanimously approved a coastal management area site plan review to construct a single-family home at 41 Melba Street that is outside the 25 foot high tide mark, but within a flood zone. Brian P. Lee owns the 0.07-acre property.

David Salerno of Compass Builders said the plan calls for demolishing two houses currently on the site, and then replacing them with one home that will be constructed on piers at elevation 17 feet. Salerno said the foundation is designed to allow floodwaters to pass under the house. The only walls will be around a staircase to the ground, and they are breakaway walls to comply with flood zone regulations.

The board was scheduled to hear a proposal from Attorney Thomas Lynch for Beach Village LLC, which is seeking an amendment to a special permit and site plan review to approve converting two mixed use buildings to two four-unit residential buildings, Buildings A and D, at 30 East Broadway.

The hearing opened on Aug. 18 and was immediately continued to the board’s Sept. 1 meeting. Sulkis said that Lynch withdrew the proposal to rework it and will resubmit a revised plan.

The board also rescheduled to a later date a public hearing on a proposal from Attorney John W. Knuff on behalf of Stoneham Milford LLC. The plan calls for amending Section 3.16 of the Milford zoning regulations to allow for the sale and subdivision of separate parcels within developments located in the Corridor Design District-1 (CDD-1) zone. The change would make the regulations comparable to those for the Shopping Center Design District (SCDD).

Stoneham Milford LLC is a New York-based company that owns the 16.8-acre shopping center that currently houses ShopRite as its anchor store, plus assorted other retail uses at 155-211 Cherry Street.

Sulkis said current regulations for the CDD-1 zone require the entire parcel to be sold as one unit, thus prohibiting selling a portion of the shopping center. If approved, the regulation change would allow a portion to be sold individually, as can be done at the Westfield Connecticut Post Mall located in the SCDD zone.

The board had a half-hour executive session at its Aug. 18 meeting, but none at the Sept. 1 meeting, regarding a court-ordered settlement overturning the board’s denial of an 8-30g application at 86 Pond Point Avenue. The court ruling on the plan for 23 condominiums on 2.7 acres was issued on June 29.