Commission continues public hearing on construction proposal | Top stories

MIDDLEBURY – The Planning and Zoning Commission, meeting on Thursday, May 5, held a public hearing for an application that proposes a new two-story, 16,000 square foot commercial building at 1625 Straits Tpke.

Project Manager Emily Jones, PE, Civil One, Woodbury, represented the plaintiff, Middlebury Edge LLC.

She described the project as an addition to an existing complex, which has commercial and retail tenants and is serviced by public water and sewer; existing utilities will serve the new building.

Ms Jones said the existing parking area would be used and outlined the new storm water drainage plan which will deal with runoff resulting from the new building.

The plan is pending before the Conservation Commission as the applicant is working with a soil scientist to ensure compliance with the needs of the existing wetlands.

Landscaping and lighting plans demonstrate project updates, including plantings to enhance the existing retention pond.

Ms. Jones noted the positive recommendation the Economic Development Commission recently made after reviewing architectural renderings, which are consistent with the look and feel of the existing building at this address.

During her presentation to the commission, Ms Jones responded to comments from City Engineer John Calabrese, noting that the requested lighting plan had been provided and that fixtures would be compatible with existing lamps.

She also added details to the plans, such as concrete materials requested by the city engineer and dumpster screening at the back of the building near a loading area.

Ms Jones also responded to comments from planning consultant Hiram Peck, addressing her question about whether the new building would meet zoning regulations for its location by pointing to the boundary lines added to the plans.

“The entire construction of the project is within the LI80 area,” he said.

Chairman Terry Smith asked if the project would encroach on state property when installing the retaining wall, confirming that another permit would not be required for the six-foot wall.

Ms. Jones also answered the question of why this new building would exceed the city’s maximum building space of 14,000 square feet.

Robert LaFlamme, the developer, said this would accommodate a proposed tenant who needs 8,000 square feet of space. “We are very happy to have this tenant.”

The public hearing continued until Thursday, June 2.

The commission approved an application to demolish an existing building to construct a two-story, two-bedroom house with shed and pergola at 43-45 Sandy Beach Rd.

The Conservation Commission and the Department of Health have approved the project and the septic system.

In other cases, the commission noted that a survey for an affordable housing plan would soon be ready and posted on the city’s website.

Peck is preparing the survey, which will gather public input on housing and feed that data into the plan, and expects a draft to be ready for the commission’s June meeting.

At the previous meeting, Mr Peck described the Affordable Housing Plan, “more like a conservation and development plan for housing”.

The plan would include design elements, potential access to amenities including transportation, parks and playgrounds, health and emergency services, and utilities.

Affordable housing includes rented or purchased homes where residents are not burdened with costs. In other words, the house costs less than 30% of the income of a household earning 80% or less of the median income of the region.

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