Planned Milford subdivision to require tree removal, road widening

MILFORD — Plans to re-subdivide land on Zion Hill Road are on hold awaiting reports concerning the proposed removal of 14 trees from the site.

The Planning and Zoning Board, at its meeting Tuesday, continued discussion on the proposal for the land at 238 Zion Hill Road — which calls for tree removal and replacement and widening a portion of Southworth Street — until its July 5 meeting.

“This is a semi-rural road unless you want to create a speedway. Why does it need to be wider?” asked Patricia Houser, a member of the Milford Environmental Concerns Coalition about the widening of the roadway and tree removal.

“This is a neighborhood between two major highways, the Merritt Parkway and I-95,” said Houser. “Those trees, especially the size they have attained, are serving the purpose of filtering air pollution in those neighborhoods. They are also reducing heat at a time when these areas are going to be vulnerable to urban heat island effects.”

The board decided to postpone its decision to wait for the report and recommendations of the Tree Commission. The applicant, GAMS, LLC, is proposing to remove about 14 trees, but attorney Thomas Lynch said plans call for additional tree planting.

Steven Johnson, assistant director of public works and tree warden, said it would be worth reviewing the Tree Commission report and recommendations.

“One of the takeaways from the Tree Commission report that you will find for the 14 trees being recommended for removal was to remove the trees away from between the sidewalk and the street behind the sidewalk so that we don’t end up with additional issues down the road as those trees grow,” Johnson said.

“It would be healthier for the trees and still accomplish the goal of the subdivision,” Johnson added.

The property is a roughly 1.5-acre site, which will be split into three lots. An existing house will remain and be located on Lot 1.

Lynch said the house was built in 1900, and there is a barn on the western portion of the property, what is to be Lot 2, that is going to be taken down.

All three lots are about the same size, with Lot 1 being the largest at 0.65 acres and Lots 2 and 3 having the same acreage of 0.42.

“Lot 2 is located directly west of the house, and that lot and Lot 3 will have the access to Southworth Street,” said Lynch, adding that the two new houses will be getting new addresses on Southworth Street.

“The proposed houses on all the lots meet all the standards for the zone. The houses will be colonial style. Each house will have city water and sewer and be serviced by underground utilities,” he said.