Zoning permit ends litigation against Milford Auto Group

A unanimous Planning and Zoning Board approval on July 2 for a special exception and special permit with site plan review for an auto dealership at 1698 Boston Post Road ends litigation against the Milford Auto Group.
City Planner David B. Sulkis said the city took the dealership, located at 1470 Boston Post Rd., to court when it began storing vehicles at the 1698 Boston Post Road site without P&Z permission.
In the statement of use, Edward Fedor, member of Milford Auto Group, wrote that the application seeks to remedy a cease and desist order issued by the city planner on Dec. 29, 2016, and pending litigation in Superior Court.
In the statement, Fedor wrote that the property at 1698 would be used for the sale of used automobiles, and also for storage of new vehicles to be sold at the main location at 1470 Boston Post Road. He indicated that the family-owned business has operated in Milford since the 1950s.
The dealership plans to construct a 2,640-square-foot building with an office and two bays holding two cars each to prepare cars for delivery, including washing and detailing. There would be two to three employees onsite for sales and car preparation. Hours of operation would be Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m.
The parking lot would have 32 parking spaces for customers, four for employees, about 172 for ve-hicles being sold, and four spaces in the service facility.
The 3.84-acre parcel located in the Corridor Design Development District 5 (CDD-5) zone is the site of the former Post Motor Inn, and the El Torero Restaurant. As 1698 Boston Post Road LLC, the Milford Auto Group purchased the property on June 17, 2016 for $2.25 million.
Presenting the application on behalf of Fedor, Attorney Thomas Lynch said the motel and restaurant buildings have been demolished. He said the dealership plan is just for the rear of the property. He said the front portion remains available for future development, and said “a number of retail and restaurant owners” are interested in developing that portion of the project.
Lynch said the property bordering Tumblebrook Drive would have a 70-foot landscaping buffer with less extensive landscaping along the side that faces Goodwill and Costco. He also said the new portion of the development will have an 8-foot high fence, based on a variance already granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Milford Auto has been working on these plans for two years, and “thought storage on site was a permitted use” until it received the enforcement order from the city, said Lynch.
Commenting on the landscaping buffer, Project Engineer Ronald Wassmer said the 70-foot buffer by the residential zone already has “significant existing trees” and would be supplemented with additional evergreens. He said the project includes a stormwater management system where none currently exists.
No one from the public was present to speak, but Sulkis said that resident Frank Tomaszek of Tumblebrook Drive had a meeting with Lynch at the June 18 meeting that was canceled due to audio problems in the City Hall auditorium, and wanted additional plantings in that buffer zone. Sulkis said Tomaszek also wanted slats to be woven into the fence, which has not been done.
In response, Wassmer said arborvitaes have been extended along the northwest property line. He said it makes sense to have slats put in the fence by the residential border, but not along the border with Whole Foods.
The board added four conditions to its approval: the applicant submit updated plans that meet the concerns raised by the city engineer and the fire marshal, arborvitaes be planted along the 70 foot buffer zone, and the front portion will not be developed or used without P&Z approval. The city engineer required a drainage report to be submitted for his review. The fire marshal wanted an additional fire hydrant installed.