Milford house

A public hearing is scheduled for a restoration proposal for historic Milford House


MILFORD – A public hearing will be held on a proposal to convert the historic Baldwin House into a mixed-use development that will include three dozen apartments.

The Town Planning and Zoning Council unanimously voted to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on February 2 via Zoom on the proposal to restore the house at 37 Prospect Street and convert the space into 36 apartments , offices and a fitness center.

“I hear a lot of people upset about this, I think they should at least have a say,” said Jim Kader, board member.

City attorneys Jonathan Berchem and Debra Kelly noted that a public hearing was neither required nor prohibited by city zoning bylaws, and that council’s consideration of the application is limited to “ if the plan complies with the implementing regulations ”.

The two also wrote to town planner David Sulkis to note that “the application calls for mixed-use development in the Milford Center Design District (MCDD) area – a use specifically permitted under section of the Milford Zoning Regulations “.

Opening the discussion on the public hearing at the recent PZB meeting, board chairman Jim Quish said he viewed the Prospect Street project as having “a similar scope and impact to that of the Smith Funeral Home property ”.

Council recently approved a mixed-use project in the former funeral home, located at 125-135 Broad St., after a public hearing on September 1.

The board offered lawyer Thomas Lynch, representing the developer, the choice of having his presentation at the January 19 or February 2 meeting. Lynch said he would wait until the Feb. 2 meeting to present. He said the application was presented as a site plan and was zoning compliant.

“We look forward to bringing this to you as part of a settlement with the Town of Milford to save the Baldwin House,” Lynch said.

Patrick Rose of Rose Tiso and Company is requesting a review of the coastal area site plan for the project on behalf of the owner, 67 Prospect Street LLC. Zoning regulations require 1,000 square feet of land for each one bedroom or efficiency unit, which means that a project of this density is allowed in the zone.

The three-storey apartment building would have parking at ground level and will include 36 one-bedroom apartments on the next two floors. This is a reduction from the 44 units offered in 2017 for the 0.98 acre lot. The property would have 58 parking spaces, of which 32 would be under the building.

As part of a legal settlement with the city, the owners paid for a ground-penetrating radar survey on August 20, 2020. The investigation concluded that there were no “abnormal radar reflection patterns consistent with unmarked graves ”. Local historians believed the town’s first cemetery was in the backyard, meaning a number of Milford’s founders could be buried on the property. However, the radar survey settled this issue.

The owners have also agreed to recreate and restore a bronze plaque and stone, previously located next to the driveway of Baldwin House, in or near its former location.

Finally, they agreed to either re-wood the exterior building systems of the Baldwin House or replace them with wood before a Certificate of Occupation was issued for part of the building or site.

The Milford Historic Preservation Commission has agreed to issue a certificate of adequacy, to allow for the renovation of the house. The first floor of the Baldwin House would have 1,285 square feet of office space. The second floor would have a fitness center for the use of apartment dwellers.

David L. Baldwin built the house in 1835. Baldwin was Clerk of the Town of Milford for 27 years and Clerk of Estates for 12 years. The property was owned by Reverend Peter Prudden (1601-1656), head of the Hertfordshire Group which founded Milford in 1639, and first pastor of the First United Church of Christ.

The LLC lists Christina Smyth, of New York, as well as Michael Tarantino, of Milford, and Daniel Boynton, of Milford, as its members. Boynton and Smyth purchased the property for $ 455,000 on July 20, 2015.

When the Inland Wetlands Agency approved the wetlands portion of the project at its meeting on December 20, 2017, seven residents objected, due to concerns about how the project might affect neighboring properties regarding stormwater flow.

The project required wetland approval as the property is located within 150 feet of wetlands or streams in the Wepawaug River watershed.

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