Residents expected at P&Z hearing tonight to oppose apartment plan

Residents are expected at a Planning and Zoning Board public hearing tonight (Tuesday) to oppose an apartment plan in Woodmont near the West Haven line.

The public hearing is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at Milford City Hall.

The plan calls for building an eight-unit housing development at 1556 New Haven Avenue, on property that once housed the late Dr. Jan Fugal’s pediatric practice.

Bella Properties Milford is asking for a special permit to build two buildings on the .62-acre parcel and leave the existing house, in which Dr. Fugal practiced. The single-family house would become a two-family house. The two additional buildings at the rear of the property would include three apartments each. All of the apartments would be two-bedroom.

The developer has filed the plan under the state’s affordable housing statute — known as 8-30g. That means the project does not have to meet existing zoning regulations as long as a certain percentage of the units will be rented to people who make between 60% and 80% of the median income.

One neighbor called the proposal an “abomination.” Another has written to his state legislators complaining that the proposal is too dense for the Woodmont neighborhood.

“I am not opposed to the need to develop affordable housing in our city,” wrote William Stark Sr., whose property on Chaucer Court abuts the site.

“However, the siting of six units on a site measuring approximately 100’ x 200’; a site that is completely surrounded by existing single-family homes, seems to be a poor location for such development.”

Stark said about 30 Woodmont residents met recently at the Woodmont Borough Hall to discuss opposition.

“Aside from the over-riding issue of destroying the character of the neighborhood, we are developing concerns with fire safety, traffic, sewage details, storm water details, lack of good public transportation and lack of pedestrian amenities, which is a public safety issue,” Stark said.

He said there is inadequate public transportation, with limited routes and limited schedules on that stretch of road, and “the lack of safe pedestrian access is a major issue.”

Affordable housing

Tom Ivers, the city’s block grant coordinator, has said in the past that Milford is not close to meeting the required number of affordable housing units it needs to be exempt from the state’s affordable housing law.

A community must have 10% of its housing stock earmarked as affordable in order to bypass the law. Milford’s affordable housing stock is at about 6%, and the city needs about 800 more affordable units to reach 10%, Ivers said.