Zoning change paves way for improvements at Cherry Street plaza

An update to the zoning regulations will allow the sale of the medical office building at 199 Cherry Street, giving Stoneham Milford LLC the money it needs to update the shopping center at 155 Cherry Street, where ShopRite is currently located.

The Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approved the regulation change at its Oct. 6 meeting by an 8-1 vote with board member John Grant voting in opposition.

Effective Nov, 1, the change amends Section 3.16 of the Milford zoning regulations to allow for the sale and subdivision of separate parcels within developments located in the Corridor Design District-1 (CDD-1) zone. The change makes the regulations comparable to those for the Shopping Center Design District (SCDD).

Attorney John W. Knuff made the presentation on behalf of Stoneham Milford LLC, which owns both parcels. The main parcel at 155 Cherry Street is 16.8 acres and currently houses ShopRite as its anchor store, plus assorted other retail uses. The smaller parcel is 0.38-acres and has an office building with St. Vincent’s Urgent Care on it.

Knuff said the change means the regulations for the CDD-1 zone are the “functional equivalent” of those in the SCDD zone in which the Westfield Connecticut Post Mall is located. The regulations allow for a development site to be subdivided, provided the overall center complies with the regulations.

Knuff said that in 2004 Westfield sold the parcel on which the Target building was constructed. He said the Target property does not have its own parking, but Target has an easement and parking agreement with Westfield to use the parking on that parcel.

“A separate parcel makes a difference in taxes, but not in zoning,” said Knuff.

He said in the case of the Cherry Street shopping center, a subdivision is not required because there are already two parcels.

“Overall, the center will operate in the same way,” said Knuff.

Knuff said the current regulations prohibit the sale of 199 Cherry Street separate from 155 Cherry Street because the regulations state that all parking that services the property must be on site or on property owned by the same company or person.

With only eight assigned spaces, the property at 199 Cherry Street would not conform to the regulations if sold because the rest of the parking is located on the 155 Cherry Street parcel.

Knuff said ShopRite is leaving the shopping center and Total Wine & Spirits in the plaza is “facing some serious challenges” with the opening of Total Wine & More on the Post Road.

Shoreham Milford plans to sell the 199 Cherry Street parcel to “generate capital to reconfigure” the shopping center and make it a viable place. The sale would require an easement to the parcel at 155 Cherry Street for access and parking, said Knuff.

Knuff said the regulation change also applies to three other parcels in the CDD-1 zone: 230 Cherry Street, 150 Boston Post Road, and 155 Hill Street.

According to the assessor’s records, the 10.86-acre property at 230 Cherry Street is where the new ShopRite is being built and where Total Wine & More has already opened. The property at 150 Boston Post Road is 12.48 acres and currently has a car wash. The property at 155 Hill Street is 10.95 acres and has a factory building on it.