William Stark and his fellow Woodmont residents can now all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to deny a developer’s bid to construct a controversial 8-unit affordable housing complex at 1556 New Haven Avenue.
When the PZB made its decision, a thunderous applause rang out at City Hall.
“I was relieved,” Stark said after the vote. “I didn’t know which was it was going to go based on a lack of reaction from the board in the initial hearing.”
More than 50 Woodmont residents packed City Hall last month to oppose the plan. Speakers cited a host of concerns including safety, flooding, traffic and density issues.
Several PZB members cited health and safety concerns as reasons for their denial. PZB member James Quish said he thinks its “dangerous” walking up an active driveway from the rear of the parcel.
Vice Chairwoman Jeanne K. Cervin said her concerns centered on a lack of parking spaces. She said no spaces were designated for visitors, and there were no lots nearby.
“These are my major concerns,” Cervin said.
PZB member Thomas Nichol said he is concerned that there is not enough room for fire trucks to navigate the complex.
Chairman Ben Gettinger credited neighbors and their testimony as reasons for why he voted for a denial. Edward Mead, a zoning member, said he has density concerns, and cited a lack of green space proposed for children to play on.
The PZB’s denial comes on the heals of legislation that would make Milford immune to the state’s affordable housing statute until 2015. This means a developer could not circumvent local zoning laws by filing an affordable housing application.
Stark like Mead said his biggest concern centered on density. He said the moratorium likely played a role in the PZB’s vote.
“There has got to be a way to change the affordable housing statute so it doesn’t ruin neighborhoods,” Stark said.
The applicant’s attorney Kevin Curseaden, of Milford, had told Planning and Zoning Board members that the proposal includes reconfiguring an existing two-family house on the site. Additionally, two new buildings would have been constructed, which would have added three units in each facility.