Thursday, July 9, 2009

Milford Zoners Alter Trash Plant Regulation

The Planning and Zoning Board this week approved a regulation change that bans recycling plants and trash-hauling operations in one of the city’s heavy industrial zones.

The change to the Housatonic Design District, a large swath of land along the Housatonic River north of Interstate 95, received unanimous support from the PZB, but received heavy criticism from business interests.

The change, which goes into effect July 22, bans all “trash hauling, solid waste processing, construction and demolition debris storage and processing, recycling plants and volume-reduction facilities” in the district.

The banned uses, however, are allowed if they are “accessory to a permitted principal use.”

With the change, existing transfer stations and recycling centers are grandfathered in by the old regulations and can continue operations. They are, however, considered a “non-conforming use” and cannot expand the operations.

Critics contended at a public hearing that the change would alter the character of the district, hurt the city financially and amount to illegal spot zoning and illegal taking.

But City Planner David Sulkis said a language change to the original proposal tightened the regulation and should have eliminated “99 percent” of the concerns.

“It’s going to basically protect the neighborhoods surrounding this zone from heavy traffic typically generated from the waste-hauling industry,” Sulkis said. He said the regulation would also protect the nearby Housatonic River from possible environmental damage.

Sulkis said the change passed Tuesday night with little discussion.

“We heard some forceful objections to this regulation change at the public hearing, many of which were from businesses that will not be impacted,” PZB Chairwoman Jeanne Cervin said. “When the wording was tightened up, it was clear that the power company, Iroquois Gas, Gas Equipment Engineering Corp. and, of course, the city transfer station and the sewer treatment plant, which are not subject to our regulations, will not be impacted.”


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