Milford Affordable Housing Application Headed to Court

Pond Point Avenue proposal goes to litigation.

Signage on a Pond Point Avenue resident's yard in November. Credit: Patch
Signage on a Pond Point Avenue resident's yard in November. Credit: Patch

The court will now have its say on whether affordable housing belongs on Pond Point Avenue.

Facing fierce public opposition, the Planning and Zoning Board Dec. 19 denied the 23-unit application submitted by Colberg LLC for 86 Pond Point Ave.

Members cited reasons introduced by dozens of residents over several public hearings; namely, an unsafe increase in traffic and area flooding.

Colberg filed its appeal in state Superior Court Jan. 8.

“The reasons stated by the Board for its denial were speculative and were not supported by evidence,” the appeal states.

Lack of ‘expert testimony,’ developer claims

The appeal claims that the board’s decision lacked “expert testimony.” It says the Milford Police Department OK’d the traffic study and the city engineer “made no comment regarding drainage or runoff problems.”

The traffic study looked at a 500-foot portion of road in front of the proposed site. State statistics showed only four accidents occurred on that stretch in a recent three-year period, the applicants said.

But the study excluded the nearby intersection with New Haven Avenue, and many residents said that junction needed to be included to show the full impact an additional 70 cars would have.

One speaker said that data he received from local police quoted more than 40 accidents on a larger stretch of Pond Point Avenue over the past 39 months.

Milford State Sen. Gayle Slossberg said the state figures were “certainly not sufficient" and called for more input from the Milford Police Department.

State’s affordable housing law front and center

The application was submitted under state statute 8-30g, a law passed in 1990 that enables the opportunity for affordable housing in Connecticut towns whose affordable housing stock is less than 10 percent.

The state statute allows developers to bypass local zoning regulations so long as at least 30 percent of the proposed units are deemed “affordable” for households earning less than the state’s median income, which is $54,000.

If a local zoning board wants to deny such an application, it must prove its health and safety concerns outweigh the need for affordable housing. In Milford, the figure is just above 6 percent.

Often, a denied application is settled in court, which can prove costly for a municipality. City Attorney Jonathan Berchem said the city has another affordable housing application pending litigation for a proposal on Merwin Avenue.

tlkensington January 24, 2014 at 07:18 AM
About time. The city rushed review. I understand the urge to get this done before the next board is sworn in, but if the city was going to deny this then they should have taken their time and built the record with evidence against building on the site. The opponents should have also built the record with evidence from experts. Instead now you have one side offering expert testimony. Which side do you think the court will fall on? As I said from the beginning, I expected this to get shot down by the down, but get overturned by the courts. Will cost Milford a pretty penny. Will cost Milford taxpayers.
Maria January 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM
I don't think that this is the right place to put apartment buildings. It ruins the feel and look of the neighborhood. But I have to say that this is NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING. The cheapest apartments I hear is around $900. That is NOT AFFORDABLE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE.
dcm January 24, 2014 at 05:46 PM
The law is for the developer.....he did his due diligence and had facts, not emotional comments! With this affordable housing...maybe my daughter and son-in-law can NOW afford to move back home to Milford!
Gary Tobin January 25, 2014 at 07:09 AM
The expert reports indicate Milford is not attracting or sustaining the number of kids to maintain Milford's current education Infrastructures. Maybe this new development would add enough children to the Milford's Public Schools and curb the building of a new one high school system (may end up being a private, local tax paying, charter school), the closing of schools and selling vacant schools to PRIVATE, local tax paying, Charter Schools.


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