by Terry Rogers
On Monday, July 27, Milford City of Council approved a conditional use application presented by Jerry Embleton for the construction of a two-story building on North Washington Street. The property is located near the corner of Southeast Second and North Walnut Street, across from the TADA Dance Studio.
“The applicant proposes a 28’ x 40’ two-story mixed use structure containing first floor commercial space and a single second story apartment,” Rob Pierce, City Planner, said. “The Planning Commission approved the request with two recommendations. They recommend that the commercial portion of the building only operate between 8 and 5. They also recommend that the business have no more than five employees.”
Embleton explained that he planned to construct a building that would fit the character of that area of town and that he felt it would be an asset for the area. His hope is to attract a real estate or insurance company to the location which would bring in revenue to the City.
“If this ends up being an office, why would we limit the hours they can work or how many people can work there?” Councilman Todd Culotta asked. Councilman Andy Fulton felt that the applicant’s narrative included working that said there would only be five employees and it would operate from 9 AM until 5 PM. He felt Planning and Zoning simply went along with what the applicant stated.
Embleton explained that he was not sure why the engineer included the limited number of employees and hours of operation in the narrative. He stated that he was fine with expanding the hours and employee number as it provided him with more options for tenants. Councilman Dan Mirabello felt that limiting the number of employees could make it very difficult for Embleton to find a tenant.
“Even a real estate office could be difficult,” Councilman Mirabello said. “Real estate offices could have 10 to 20 people working out of one location. Because they are out on the road, they may be able to share desks so it seems as if this might really limit the applicant.”
Councilman Jason James asked about parking for the building. Pierce explained that the applicant included two parking spaces for the apartments but intended the retail location to use City lots either at the corner of Northeast Front and Walnut Streets or the M&T Bank parking lot.
“These restrictions are too strict for that area,” Councilman Fulton said. “We want this area to thrive and this is creating an unnecessary hardship.” Councilman Mike Boyer stated that the building would self-impose the size and hours so there was no reason for Council to limit those items.
The application was approved unanimously.