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City Opt Out Opens Property to Milford Business

The Beaverbrook property could become the site of a mulching operation.

Milford will not purchase the Beaverbrook property, a tract of land along I-95, although it will retain a recreation easement for most of the property.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Monday to follow Mayor Ben Blake’s recommendation and pass on the purchase. The city had the right of first refusal before the completes a sale of the property to a developer.

Although the property has 57 acres, only 15 acres are usable for development. The rest are undevelopable marshes, Blake said. The Iroquois natural gas transmission pipeline crosses the property, which also reduces its development potential.

The property is located along the south side of I-95 east of the Schoolhouse Road exit.

Blake said in 2001 before selling it to the church, the water company granted a passive recreation easement for a large portion of the property to the city for one dollar. Since then, the city has spent about $10,000 a year maintaining hiking trails there.

The easement specifies that the city has a 45-day right of first refusal, which was why it came before the aldermen.

Blake said there was no reason for the city to buy the land, since the easement allows it to use it for recreation in perpetuity.

"Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?" Blake said.

In January, the Kingdom Life Church notified the city it had reached an agreement to sell the property to Grillo Organic, a Milford-based mulching operation, for $3.7 million.

Blake said the sale is contingent on Grillo receiving a special exception permit from the zoning commission for its yard waste recycling operation.

Milford Patch was contacted by at least one resident who expressed concern about what that potential use could mean for area residents in the way of increased traffic and noise, among other quality of life and safety issues.

Wanda Katz February 09, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Well at least planning and zoning will have the say and not bureaucrats from Hartford at the DEEP
CuriousOrange February 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I thought Kingdom Life was going to build a new cathedral. Now this. Our region has suffered from 'recycling' companies that thumb their noses at regulatory compliance and payment of taxes. My guess is (A) runoff from the dumps will pollute the wetlands, killing off the thriving population of turtles and other wildlife, (B) the relative tranquility of the public nature trails, West Avenue, the JFK School, and Gloria housing will suffer from the onslaught of monster dump trucks and the smells of rotting organic waste and (C) West Ave will soon need upgrading thanks to the additional wear and tear. I would be very careful about letting this deal go through without major assurances including the posting of large performance bonds.
Michael Brown February 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I'm sorry to inform you that the DEEP has jurisdiction over ALL recycling facility permits.
Milford Citizen February 09, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I guess my thoughts on this are first, organic waste equals leaves and wood, something that is already there and happening. Also, if you live in the area the smell of leaves and wood, even rotting, is WAY better than the 'onslaught" with the disgusting smell every day from the city's waste/sewage pumping station next to Gloria's housing. Second, think of the revenue the city will now get that it isn't getting. This will now make it a taxable property and with 15 acres being available for development that is a pretty decent income bump. As far as traffic from trucks, the highway runs right alongside it making more noise than this would so I am not sure what the problem is. Plus, trucks are slow moving so you would actually decrease the speeders on West Ave., which as a person living in that neighborhood is a major concern to me. I am looking at this and do not see a whole lot of downside to this, especially as someone who lives right there.
CuriousOrange February 09, 2012 at 03:25 PM
(A) The City recently spent millions of dollars to fix the West Ave and other sewer pumps, laying new pipes and repaving the surrounding streets. "Stinky hollow" should not be stinky any more. (B) Roads wear down from heavy use by heavy equipment. Adding a fleet of dump trucks will take its toll. (C) What guarantee is there the new "tax-paying" owner will keep up with taxes? Or comply with regulations? The recycling industry has a dodgy reputation.
Milford Citizen February 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM
(A) You obviously live no where near here. It still stinks to high heaven. (B) True but that is true for any road and if again you lived here you would see how many concrete trucks use this road as main access from O&G and Beard. Further, you would see that this road has just been rebuilt this past year due to that fact and the fact that, while this road may have houses on it, it is an industrial road. (C) What "guarantee" is there that any business pays its taxes? Looking up Grillo's information (Have you done that?) they are a Milford business for nearly 18 years, and only one mile away from here by the way. Being that I have never heard a complaint against them, and being in the neighborhood where I would, I think your point is pretty moot. As for complying with regulations and that the industry has a dodgy reputation, are you talking about trash recycling or organics because there is a major difference and I do not see any evidence of a dodgy reputation. Even if it did though, do you judge and entire industry by the reputation of others in it? That is like saying garbage companies have a reputation of being run by the mob so all must be bad. Well, you still put out your trash though right? Some one has to take it. This company recycles grass, leaves, tree trimmings and makes mulch and top soil. Not exactly a company that is very scary, especially one with a long Milford history. Finally, every industry should comply with regulations, that is the city's job to oversee.
Milford Citizen February 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
This deal is a win win for the city. They get to keep the open space (42 acres worth) and they get taxes on the property now. Before they got no taxes and technically to walk on the other 15 acres was trespassing. Although there were no trails and you risked ticks in the high grass the church generously never posted signs or had a problem with people walking on it.
CuriousOrange February 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Thanks to Grillo, Milford may become known for its dump. I can visualize the eyesore from I-95 now.
Milford Citizen February 09, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Except for the whole tree barrier that separates it from view from I-95 with those trees being on the state right of way and thus can't be cut down. I mean really what is your ax to grind here? Do you even live in Milford? This is a win win.
Starla February 10, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Its bad enough the DEEP gave a tentative permit for Recycling Inc. to begin operations soon at 990 Naugtuck Ave, and not this. Recycling Inc. is just a stones throw from the other location. We'll be getting truck traffic from both sides. There is plenty of undeveloped land in Ct. where these operations can be done.
Michael February 10, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I agree Starla but like Milford Citizen pointed out it would be a loss for the tax base in Milford. If the church is not going to sell to this company then they are going to sell it to someone and the last company to try and acquire the property was going to put up a hotel. THAT would be an increase in traffic. Imagine putting a large office building there. I would rather get stuck behind a truck or two throughout the day then stuck in rush hour traffic before and at the end of a working day if an office building goes in. Not to mention that with JFK school right there imagine the people speeding to work to make it on time? I agree with MLFD Citizen, Milford is not losing anything on this deal.
Heron Beaverbrook February 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
What about all the wild life on this property? Does Grillo have a plan on not disturbing the nesting schedule? And the amphibian population needs protecting as well.
Heron Beaverbrook February 10, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Wait a minute, these guys are paying 3.7 million dollars for this property and are only going to use 15 acres............I don't think so, look how they took over the other property
Michael Brown February 10, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Hard to say if Grillo will receive approval from the P&Z but he may get approval from the DEEP. The DEEP can, as we have learned at 990 Naugatuck, supersede the local P&Z permit requirements. Also, Grillo can turnaround and resell the land or his business to someone else, like Darlene Chapdelaine of 990 Naug. Most everyone was happy to see Richie Conine purchase and fix up Daniel Street. The club actually put Milford on the local music map. People aren't as happy to see the former owner of Kangaroos purchase Daniel Street from Richie.
Michael February 10, 2012 at 08:54 PM
"Blake said there was no reason for the city to buy the land, since the easement allows it to use it for recreation in perpetuity." First off there are two parcels of land. One is a 42 acre parcel with walking trails and nesting habitats. Since it is wetlands it cannot ever be developed. The second parcel is 15 acre of undeveloped land with the Iroquois gas line running through it. That is why it is such a difficult property to own and develop as whatever is there cannot be built over the gas line. Now there are a few problems with the property, gas line easement, 150' wetlands setbacks, and the smell of the sewage pumping plant. This leaves few options. First the church can continue to own it and the town gets nothing from it in taxes. Someone buys it and develops a business with higher traffic impact, or this company buys it and you get low impact, environmentally friendly (go investigate their company, they create organic soils from landscaping materials), tax paying small business that does not leave Milford.
Michael February 10, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"Also, Grillo can turnaround and resell the land or his business to someone else..." Or the church can too, so your point?
Michael Brown February 10, 2012 at 09:09 PM
My point is that the city should buy it to protect the adjacent property. There should be much more emphasis on protecting open space in Milford and setting up a fund to purchase land to preserve open space.
Michael February 10, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I will not argue that point.
Heron Beaverbrook February 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM
We need the open space in Milford! Passive recreation is wonderful for all!
Heron Beaverbrook February 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM
How will constant heavy equipment over the pipeline, effect the pipeline?
Elizabeth B. Wright February 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Michael, We do have a fund for open space but it was used to buy the Downs House. Hopes are running high that the borrowed funds will return to that account.
Michael Brown February 13, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I'm speaking of a dedicated fund, paid for by a fraction of a mil added to the tax bill. This is the way Shelton funds open space. And in fact, there are actually 3 accounts for open space. They are all hit-or-miss. One is only funded if a new development is built. The developer must either set aside land for open space or pay into the fund. There haven't been many 'developments' lately, hence no money added to the fund. Another is a straight 10% of the greens fee from the city golf course account. This money can be allocated to recreation OR open-space. Recreation usually wins. The third is an account set-aside based on sale of city property. I'm told it only contains $10,000. A dedicated fund, funded by a tax. Citizens said they are willing to do this, according to a recent poll conducted by the Open Space Advisory Committee.
Sean Grillo February 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM
As far as our operation inhibiting wildlife consider this. If an office building or hotel was built here it would be a large structure surrounded by pavement, what animals can exist there? Our operation occurs with only a small office building, (currently 800 square feet), and a paved area where we have our bins. The rest of the operation occurs right on the land itself. Our current site is frequented by deer, coyotes, hawks, owls, and many varieties of other birds. I have seen coyotes resting on warm compost piles on cold mornings utilizing their heat. The majority of our sites are used to store wind rows of leaves for our composting process. When we leave at 4:30 animals are free to roam the site, and they do. My point is that our operation can and does coexist with nature. Also to those of you questioning our tax history, look into it. Our record has no blemishes. I walk the Beaverbrook Trails daily, and between the train coming through on one side, and I-95 on the other noise cannot be argued. Especially since our site would operate alongside I-95. I understand the bad name that this industry has but we have operated a site on Oronoque since 1993. We have always complied with every state and federal regulation. You cannot rightly compare us to other companies that have shown no regard for the rules. That simply is not fair.
CuriousOrange February 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Mr. Grillo, you make some excellent points.But you offer no guarantees. Once you have changed zoning, what will stop you from selling to someone less compliant, less respectful, etc. Your present site is not visible from I-95.Why don't you solve all our problems ["DEEP Set to Approve Milford Recycling Facility"] by buying out Recycling Inc?
Heron Beaverbrook February 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Do you know about the rodents on this site? Every spring it's a wonder to watch the owls teaching their young to hunt the pesky rodents. That is major rodent control. The owls won't come if your grinding and selling mulch there.
John February 16, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Just the fact that Sean Grillo had the class to try to respond to the hit and miss hackers on this board certainly speaks to the character of his company. If anybody has any questions about the Grillo's why not drive down to their current facility and see what they actually do. If you search other stories on the Patch don't be surprised if you see the same authorities & experts commenting on every story that appears....hmmm seems like some people need to get a life
Heron Beaverbrook February 17, 2012 at 01:23 PM
You are right John, Sean seems like a nice enough fellow. He walks his dog here, is always in control of his dog. But will other people still be able to walk through and enjoy the beauty of this spot?
Heron Beaverbrook February 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/Public_Documents/MilfordCT_Planning/Zoning%20Regulations/Appendix%20D%20-%20Natural%20Resources.pdf
CuriousOrange February 20, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Nicely done, Heron Beaverbrook. Note, when I copied the link from my email notice, I got an extra " at the end which resulted in a 404 error. Deleting the " cleared it up. Why does your email do that, Patch?
CuriousOrange March 27, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The story continues at: http://milford.patch.com/announcements/milford-landscape-supply-company-to-purchase-56-acres?1332853809#comment_2873079

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