Pond Point housing NOT on December 15 P&Z agenda

UPDATE: Although the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) rejected a proposed court ordered settlement for an affordable housing application at 86 Pond Point Ave., the board was back in executive session on the topic for 30 minutes at the start of its Dec. 1 meeting.

Following the meeting, an official indicated in private that the board would conduct a public hearing, followed by a vote at its Dec. 15 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, on whatever it discussed in executive session. However, the item is not listed on the agenda for the board’s Dec. 15 meeting.

At the board’s Oct. 20 meeting, a divided board voted 6-4 to reject a revised proposal with a reduction in size from 23 units to 16 units, supporting the wishes of neighbors who asked the board to deny the proposed settlement.

If the judge rules in favor of the applicant, the developer can proceed with the original plan for 23 units. However, if the board settles with the applicant prior to the judge’s decision, then that settlement would go before the judge for final approval.

Justice Marshall K. Berger, presiding judge of the Superior Court’s Land Use Litigation Docket, issued a ruling on June 29, 2015, writing that the P&Z’s reasons for denial on Dec. 19, 2013 did not prove the project would create a risk to public health and safety and outweigh the need for affordable housing. The board had cited concerns due to traffic and the loss of open space.

The P&Z board met in executive session on Aug. 18 and Oct. 6 to discuss terms of a settlement with property owner Colberg LLC. Colberg LLC lists Thomas Colucci of 305 West Main Street, Milford, as its manager. The address is the location of a single-family home owned by Susan Colucci.

City Attorney Jonathan Berchem told the board on Oct. 20 that Berger has issued 22 decisions on 8-30g applications and all have been in favor of the developer. He said two of the 22 cases were appealed to the Appellate Court and the court sided with the developer in both cases.
Other 8-30g Hearing Resumes
The public hearing resumes for a proposed eight unit affordable housing development at 1613 New Haven Avenue, filed under the 8-30g statute.

The board conducted a public hearing at its Oct. 20 meeting for the plan presented on behalf of Charles Gagliardi of West Haven, who purchased the 0.43-acre property for  $201,000 in June 2012 under the name Seaview Cove LLC, which lists him as the sole member. The vacant property is located in an R-12.5 zone, which is a single-family zone, between Anderson Avenue and the Oyster River.

The board continued the public hearing while it hired a traffic engineer to review the traffic conditions at the site, a traffic study that is funded by the applicant. Attorney Thomas Lynch said he would also discuss amendments to the site plans.

The Board of Aldermen recently passed an ordinance that authorizes the P&Z to hire outside experts and have the applicant pay the cost. The aldermen passed this ordinance in response to court cases where Justice Marshall K. Berger of the Superior Court’s Land Use Litigation Docket has criticized testimony against 8-30g projects as not coming from an expert witness.

The board will also conduct public hearings for a proposed storage facility from Lock Up Storage Inc. at 417-421 Bridgeport Ave., which is a vacant lot on Rt. 1 opposite the Exit 34 ramps.

In addition, it will conduct a public hearing for Grillo Services, which is seeking to construct a facility for leaf composting, tree and brush recycling, processing of topsoil, sale of landscaping products, and two buildings with roads at 553 West Avenue.

The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously rejected Grillo’s request for a zoning variance at its July 14 meeting at which 14 residents asked the board to reject the proposal. Grillo requested a side setback variance from 200 feet to 15 feet on one side and to 60.25 feet on the other side.

The Inland-Wetlands Agency has approved the Grillo proposal on three separate occasions, the most recent of which was at its May 20 meeting, when it approved a revised proposal submitted by the company.