Meadowside neighbors speak against housing plan

About 50 residents attended the June 2 Planning and Zoning Board public hearing on a proposed 18-unit apartment complex at 335 Meadowside Road with one person speaking in favor and many speaking in opposition.
The lone person to speak in favor of the application was Marci Pitney of 229 West Main Street, who is renting from the Field brothers in an affordable unit at that location.
Pitney said that after 25 years of marriage, including raising a daughter and a son, she was divorced, and wanted an affordable place to live in Milford to allow her son, currently a junior at Jonathan Law High School, to continue to attend Milford schools. Her daughter is living away at college.
“My main concern was keeping my son in the education system he has gone through since kindergarten,” said Pitney. “If not for the affordable housing, I am not sure where I would have ended up. I consider myself extremely lucky to be given this opportunity.”
Those who spoke in opposition to the project by Field & Son Builders expressed concern regarding the project's density of 18 apartments on one acre, an increase in traffic along busy Meadowside Road, and the potential impact of storm water runoff.
Frank Ginise of 331 Meadowside Road, which is the adjacent property, said his wife was approached by the Field brothers in 2010, commenting that the couple might wish to sell their property because “low income” housing was coming.
A petition filed by Denise Doucette Ginise on the website Go Petition, asking the P&Z to deny the project, had 230 signatures through May 31, some of them signed as anonymous. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-development-of-18-affordable-housing-units-in-milford-ct.html
Ginise said the Fields tried to subdivide the property in 2010 into two lots, but were denied by the P&Z. If the apartments are built, one building would be 8 feet, 9 inches from his property line, when they should be no closer than 10 feet, said Ginise.
“If there is a fire, that's my house,” said Ginise.
Ginise said the poor condition of the house at 335 Meadowside Road “wasn't always like that” and criticized the Field brothers, saying, “These gentlemen have let it go.”
Commenting on traffic, Ginise said in the summer when Silver Sands State Park is open, “I am sitting in my driveway five minutes waiting to get out.” He said the apartment property has no overflow parking, asking where would visitors park in the event of a party or holiday. He also expressed concern about emergency access when multiple vehicles might respond to a fire or medical emergency.
“If they really want to build affordable housing, they should build in areas where there is room,” said Ginise.
Traffic engineer Kermit Hua made a presentation on behalf of Ginise. Hua said he disagreed with the scope of the study conducted by David Spear, a traffic engineer hired by the Field, saying five major intersections should be included ranging from Robert Treat Parkway to Meadow's End Road. He said the Milford Police Department website showed 50 accidents along the length of Meadowside Road from 2012 to 2015, 31 occurring at intersections in this area.
“During the summer time, it is a mess. You have all those people going to the beach,” said Hua.
Hua also said it is not preferable to locate a driveway in proximity to an intersection, referring to adjacent Great Meadow Drive.
“You have conflicts when you locate a major driveway in proximity to an intersection,” said Hua.
William Healey of 37 West Shore Drive said he lives 100 yards away and said the water table on his property is eight feet below grade. Healey asked if run off from the project would go onto this property that he said is already water soaked. He said the fire department's ladder truck would be unable to enter the property if other fire apparatus were on site. He said there is no rear access to the three-story building.
“Sprinklers are meant to keep the fire in check, so the occupants can escape, not to put the fire out. That's the fire department's job,” said Healey, expressing concern about the wood truss construction of the buildings.
Sharon Reilly of 24 West Shore Drive said home values would drop as a result of having a three-story apartment building next to the single-family homes. Reilly also expressed concern about a lack of privacy in her yard from tenants who could look down into it.
“We have multi-family units all over the place,” said Reilly. “Why should there be a multi-family complex built around us?”
John Pagliano of 325 Meadowside Road said, “The Field brothers commented if they couldn't build a second house, they would do multi-family housing.” Pagliano said his wife was struck by a car while walking their dog along Meadowside Road, resulting in multiple fractures.
Commenting on the condition of the house, Pagliano said, “Mr. Field is showing his true feelings. He is letting it go to pot. Renée Fisher never let it look like that. It's appalling the way he let that property go.”
Gwen Bruno of 1 Vincent St., said, “I am not against affordable housing,” saying her son is 26 and he and his girlfriend cannot afford to live in Milford. She said he would not live at this proposed complex because “It's way too dense.” Bruno presented pictures to the board showing the present condition of the home at 335 Meadowside Road with peeling paint, a broken front door, a missing railing, and an unmowed lawn, and also past pictures that did not show any of these problems.
“I moved to Milford as a single mom. I know how hard it is,” said Bruno.
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