Milford zone change could clear way for car dealer's Post Road plans

Colonial Toyota in Milford photographed in January 2010.

Colonial Toyota in Milford photographed in January 2010.

Photo by Arnold Gold

MILFORD — A vacant Ford Street lot can now be home to commercial development.

The Planning and Zoning Board recently approved a zone change for 21 Ford St. from residential to Corridor Design Development District 1. But board members were quick to point out this was simply an approval of a zone change not a specific use.

"All we are voting for tonight is to change the zone, not to approve any maps," board member Etan Hirsch said. "This is just step one. More is coming down the pike."

Attorney Kevin Curseaden, representing the applicant, Gold Coast Freehold, LLC, brought in a conceptual plan of the building at the request of board Chair James Kader.

The plans show a 26,325-square-foot building at 435 Boston Post Road with parking spaces around the building.

"This is for one of the companies associated with Colonial Toyota, one of their LLCs," Curseaden told the board. "The applicant received previous approvals and previous zone changes for other parcels such as the Kimberly Diner."

Curseaden said the 21 Ford St. lot is the only parcel on the block, surrounded by Gunn Street and Boston Post Road, that is not zoned CDD-1.

"The request of the board tonight is to change the zone of this parcel so that they can complete their site plan and come back with a fully developed site plan for that block and that area," he said. "The only request tonight is for the zone change for 21 Ford St. for those reasons."

Resident Prashant Chandra, who spoke against the motion, said in 2014, many residents on Ford Street, Gunn Street and Peck Street were at a zoning meeting considering a similar situation where the owners wanted to rezone residential to commercial.

"In that meeting, we expressed our concern that commercial would use Ford Street to exit and enter, and there would be excessive traffic on Ford Street, Gunn Street and Peck Street," he said.

In 2014, Colonial Toyota submitted an application to allow the business to store a portion of its vehicle inventory on the site at 449 Boston Post Road, which formerly housed the now-demolished Kimberly Diner. Colonial is also seeking permission to use a vacant commercial building at 435 Boston Post Road as a photo shop to take pictures of vehicles for internet sales.

Richard Platt and Mary Ito both spoke on behalf of the Botsford Family Historical Association, which owns the property on 84 Gunn St.

"I want to be able to reassure the board of directors this proposal is confined simply to this one parcel and not to extend to across the street or anywhere else," said Platt.

Ito said she was concerned about "the development at the top of Gunn Street and Peck Street, and ... that we have been gradually encroached on by commercial property."

Justin Raffone, representing Robert Crabtree of Crabtree Automotive Group, said the focus is to separate the commercial from residential places.

"In the process of developing the property, we do respect and want to continue to increase that hedge to keep the privacy there," he said. "We are looking to improve the curb appeal of that whole section and eliminate a lot of the property entries."