Developer Louis D’Amato has filed suit challenging the Planning and Zoning Board’s changes to a proposed 28-unit residential development at 90 Heenan Drive.
The board unanimously approved the project in July with a number of conditions. D’Amato said the appeal seeks to have the project go forward in its original form.
D’Amato’s primary complaint centers on the board’s requirement to connect the upper and lower levels of the project, which are separated by a 40-foot cliff. He said this would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and substantially raise the cost of the homes.
PZB Chairwoman Susan Shaw, D-4, said the connection between the two levels of the project is essential to protecting the public’s safety.
“The original police report recommended that the applicant do just that,” she said. “For the board, as it was for the Police Department, it was a matter of safety for the residents that the upper and lower portions of the site be connected.”
Most of the units will be priced at about $130,000, with 30 percent designated as affordable housing and costing about $75,000. But D’Amato said the cost of the homes could rise depending on the cost of legal fees and the length of the appeal.
The project, situated on 4.1 acres near the Ryder Mobile Home Park at Cascade Boulevard, would consist of 1,100-square-foot manufactured houses with two or three bedrooms.
D’Amato said the board “denies all affordable-housing applications” regardless of their merits. He added that he made concessions to address the board’s criticisms of the project, such as additional landscaping, engineering work and a widened road, but the final conditions made the project unfeasible.
Shaw said 6 percent of Milford’s housing stock is classified as affordable and that the objections to the project were not related to the cost of housing.
“While cost-containment is a part of any developer’s goal ... no one could or would argue that safety should be sacrificed in order to provide more and cheaper housing,” she said.
Original Story by Chris Rhatigan