P&Z vote expected tonight on land buy for new police station

The Planning and Zoning Board is expected to vote on a referral Tuesday, Dec. 20 for the purchase of land on the Boston Post Road for a new police station.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting lists discussion of an 8-24 referral “for the acquisition of approximately 6 acres of land located at 130-150 Boston Post Road for the purpose of constructing a new police station.”

An 8-24 referral is the administrative procedure by which the P&Z reviews any use regarding city land before moving to the Board of Aldermen for a final decision. In an 8-24 referral, the P&Z acts in an advisory role.

At a Board of Aldermen’s meeting earlier this month, the aldermen met in executive session (in private) to talk about the possible purchase of land at 130-150 Boston Post Road for a new police station.

Mayor Ben Blake said he couldn’t say much about the discussion, only that it was preliminary and was meant to make the aldermen aware that the six-acre parcel is under consideration.

The Police Station Building Committee walked the property on Saturday, Nov. 18, according to minutes from the building committee meeting. The largely undeveloped land is on the Boston Post Road roughly across the street from the Planet Fitness gym and Bobettes.

According to the city assessor’s office, Jordan Realty owns the property. The 130 Boston Post Road portion is appraised at $1.2 million; 143 Boston Post Road, with a building constructed in 1947, is appraised at $825,000, and 150 Boston Post Road, with a car wash on the property, is appraised at $2.3 million. The land was previously owned by Beard Sand and Gravel.

Police Commission Chairman Rich Smith told the Police Department Building Committee members that the site is “clearly accessible.”

Police Chief Keith Mello said the site is a great location, according to meeting minutes. He said the building would be positioned so it would be visible to the general public and something Milford could be proud of.

A motion was made to move forward with the recommended purchase of the property and the building committee supported the motion unanimously, meeting minutes state.

The building committee started its mission with an eye on determining if the existing police station should be expanded or if a new station should be built elsewhere. The current police station was built in 1970 at 430 Boston Post Road, and Mayor Blake has said in the past that there are those who say it was obsolete on day one.

“Over the past 35 years, all available space has been utilized to the point where we are using external storage space for recovered property as well as off-site space for task force and special operation initiatives,” according to a proposal included in last year’s capital improvement plan.

Mayor Blake said an expanded police station has been in the city’s capital improvement plan since 1998.

“There are serious space needs,” Blake said in the past, pointing out that many areas that should be used for operations are being used for storage. “For example, when he have a lineup, we have to use the West Haven Police Department.”

Tuesday's meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at Milford City Hall.