The Grillo plan: Expand landscaping to site currently owned by Kingdom Life

A public hearing has been extended on a proposed Grillo Services landscaping products operation at 553 West Ave. to allow an acoustic engineer to do a peer examination of the Grillo acoustic study.

Grillo’s attorney Brian M. Stone granted a 30-day extension to the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) at its Jan. 5 meeting, giving the board until its Feb. 16 meeting to complete and report this review. The public hearing was scheduled to close by Jan. 19.

Grillo is seeking 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.

The facility would include two buildings with roads on a 57.33-acre property zoned Design Office 25. This location would be in addition to the existing facility at 1183 Oronoque Road, where the company has a 16.48-acre property it leases.

The project would include construction of a 3,300 square foot two-story office building, and a single-story 3,200 square foot Quonset hut style building for dry storage.

Additional development would include a customer and employee parking area, accessed from West Avenue, a location for trucks to refuel, an area for concrete pavers, and an area with storage bins for mulch and related products.

Other areas of the property would be designated for leaf composting, stockpiling of logs prior to mulching, topsoil screening and processing. The company plans to have a retail operation at this location selling mulch, compost, soils and related products. It would also sell gravel, stone products and pavers.

The 57.33-acre parcel has a 41-acre conservation easement held by the city of Milford for walking trails. Of 15 acres outside the conservation easement, less than eight acres can be developed, in part due to an easement for the Iroquois Gas Pipeline, which cuts the property in half.

Grillo has a contract to purchase the West Avenue property from Kingdom Life Christian Church, pending P&Z approval of the application. New board member Scott Marlow recused himself from the application, and left the room, stating that he is a long-time member of Kingdom Life Church, where he also serves in a leadership role as presbyter.

Michael Grillo, co-owner of Grillo, said the company has a retail operation at the present site, and has a lease until 2021 at which time the landlord plans to take back eight acres of the property for other uses.

Grillo said the company wants to maintain its corporate headquarters in Milford. He said the Oronoque Road site will be used for bulk processing and the majority of materials will be trucked to the West Avenue site.

“We think it is the right fit for the property. We will clean up the trash and phragmites and make that area much more valuable for wildlife,” said Grillo.
Noise Concerns Discussed
Discussing the potential noise level from the West Avenue site, Grillo’s acoustical engineer Carl Cascio said he measured noise levels at the existing site at distances from 25 feet to 800 feet. He said noise levels at 600 to 800 feet away were at 55-55 decibels, which he said is 10 decibels below the existing noise levels on West Avenue. He said the tub grinder and the rock and dirt screening machine would be located at different corners of the West Avenue site to reduce the noise impact.

Board member Thomas Nichol questioned the noise impact at the West Avenue site, saying that at the Oronoque Road site, 20 to 30 foot high mounds of processed materials block noise.

Cascio said he measured noise both on a direct line of sight, and behind the mounds, and said the mounds did reduce noise, saying to Nichol, “You are right; it is significant.”

Nichol also said the processing machines are located near the Iroquois gas pipeline, and questioned how the vibrations from the machines would affect the pipeline.

Civil engineer Fred Mascia said he dug test pits along the pipeline to measure its depth and said it is 10 to 12 feet below the surface. He said the entire pipeline would be fenced to keep out equipment.

“Iroquois is very emphatic,” said Mascia, that no machinery be operated over the gas pipeline and that the pipeline can only be crossed by a road.

Board member John Grant said the board’s regulations state that no outside storage of materials are permitted, and asked how much material would be stored outside.

In response, Michael Grillo said the company applied for a special exception due to these regulations. Grillo said there would be winnows or rows of leaf compost that would be 15 to 20 feet wide at the bottom, and 15 feet high at the top. He said these piles are turned every 30 days, noting that 20,000 to 25,000 cubic yards of leaves could be on the site, and they would become 6,000 yards of compost. Grillo said there might be 2,000 to 5,000 cubic yards of brush, and 5,000 to 7,000 cubic yards of topsoil.

"This is not to replace the Oronoque Road site," said Grillo. "We are expanding our business and we are looking for other areas in the state. We want this to be our corporate headquarters." He said the proposed Quonset hut with a concrete floor would be used for the storage and sale of grass seed and organic fertilizer. He said the company does not plan to sell pesticides or herbicides.

"There is not enough room for retail only on West Avenue," said Grillo.

Click here to read about comments made during a hearing about the Grillo application.