Turkish Cultural Center moving to Milford

The Turkish Cultural Center Connecticut is moving to 9 Research Drive, following unanimous Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approval at its June 21 meeting. The board approved a special exception and site plan review.
The center, currently located in West Haven, organizes educational and cultural activities such as art exhibits, concerts, lectures and dinners, and also hosts workshops, cooking classes and programs about Turkey and Turkish culture.

“The Turkish Cultural Center is a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of Turkish culture and language in Connecticut and in the United States of America,” according to the center’s website, http://turkishculturalcenterct.com.

The center is moving from 8,000 square feet of rental space at 827 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, to a 14,700-square-foot building in an Industrial District (ID). The building is currently owned by Woodsearch Realty of West Haven, and is valued at $970,000 by the Milford assessor.

Attorney Thomas B. Lynch told the board that the center is the contract purchaser for the property. Lynch said the center will use about 85% of the building with the remaining space being used by existing tenants, who are a chiropractor and an accountant.

Lynch said the center will refit the building to include offices, a meeting room, a prayer room for members, and a community room with a kitchen. There will also be classrooms for language instruction, music, art and tutoring.

He said no construction is planned for the outside of the building. The special exception is needed because the assembly and meeting rooms are not specifically permitted or prohibited in the zone, Lynch said.

The kitchen will be used to serve catered meals, rather than for food preparation, according to Architect Raymond Oliver.

Due to the change of use, sprinklers will be installed in the entire building, said Oliver. The building will also get a new roof, a new heating and air conditioning system, and a handicap-accessible bathroom, he said.

There will be two to three staff members working Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lynch said the assembly room would mostly be used evenings and weekends for such events as speakers and seminars. It would have a maximum capacity of 145 people, but he anticipates attendance will typically be 80 people.

The center needs 51 parking spaces, and Lynch said 49 are available with five to six spaces used by the chiropractor and accountant. He viewed these as shared spaces that would be available nights and weekends when the other tenants are not using them.

The city is requiring installation of a grease trap in the kitchen. The board said Public Works Director Christopher Saley would make the final decision as to whether the sidewalks and curbs will be repaired or replaced. Lynch said Saley told him repairs are necessary, but replacement is not.