Blogs > All About Milford and Orange

If you live, work, or simply just care about Milford and Orange, this is the site for you. We'll provide you with interesting news about these communities. Most importantly we want to hear from you. Feel free to contact City Editor Helen Bennett Harvey, at or Brian McCready, Milford Bureau Chief, at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Milford townhouse plan reviewed

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— The Planning and Zoning Board recently heard from two former members who offered the board divergent opinions on a developer’s proposal to construct nine townhouses in three buildings on Melba Street.
Acquisition Trust LLC, owner of the parcel at 180 Melba St., is seeking to add nine two-bedroom units in three buildings on land that served as parking for the former dilapidated apartment complex. The entire parcel consists of four acres.
The former 53-unit apartment complex at 180 Melba St. was condemned for numerous health and building code violations, including failing air quality tests and lacking structural integrity. Acquisition Trust LLC is in the process of renovating the former apartment complex into 41 upscale units.
The city spent about $110,000 relocating the residents including paying for a portion of their rent and providing emergency housing, which is supposed to be repaid by the building’s owners.
At a recent zoning meeting, Alderman Philip Vetro, D-4, a former PZB member, spoke in favor of the application, saying the developer has turned around the site that was a “big nuisance” for the neighborhood.
“It’s a gigantic improvement aesthetically and pleasing to the eye,” Vetro said. “The big question I hear from residents is when it will it be finished.”
But after Vetro spoke, former PZB vice Chairman Mark Lofthouse, R-5, said the developer is seeking a bedroom number waiver, and that it is the members’ duty to uphold the zoning regulations.
The developer needs a special permit to increase the number of bedrooms proposed for the site. Currently, zoning regulations allow for 16 bedrooms per acre, and the revised application would increase that to 20.5 bedrooms per acre.
“You’re being asked to play Santa Claus on the density bonus. This area is already dense enough,” Lofthouse said. “I’d like you to stand by your election promise. Please don’t forget your promise.”
In the more recent local election, Democrats won all five available seats on the PZB, and they campaigned on a platform that the city was too overdeveloped.
Attorney Steven Studer, who represents the developer, said his client has been very upfront about asking for the density waiver.
“We’re not playing any games,” Studer said.
Lofthouse countered that the developer is asking the PZB to “throw your regulations out the window. ... Don’t fall for it,” he said.
Studer said his client is “doing the right thing for the city” by renovating the condemned apartment buildings, and has made a large financial investment in the site.
The board will vote on the plans May 20.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home