Council Discusses Zoning Code Amendment

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2By Terry Rogers

On Monday, April 27, Milford City Council discussed a zoning code amendment regarding the restriction of the sale of alcohol near certain establishments, such as churches, daycares and schools. According to City Manager, Hans Medlarz, if the ordinance was properly enforced, no new restaurants, breweries or distilleries could be located in downtown Milford.

“As we know, our Mayor is working hard at bringing businesses to Milford,” Mr. Medlarz explained. “The way this reads now, if a restaurant wanted to purchase M&T Bank and serve alcohol, or a brewery wanted to open downtown, they could not do so as it is forbidden by ordinance.”

Mr. Medlarz presented new wording for the ordinance which would allow an establishment that served food or that was engaged in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages on the premises to be permitted. The wording of the new zoning ordinance would be designed to be as narrow as possible but would allow for some economic development in the downtown area. The zoning ordinance would have no effect on state law as establishments would still need to follow those laws in order to serve or manufacture alcohol. The zoning ordinance will be scheduled for a public hearing in the near future.

In addition to the discussion about the zoning code amendment, council approved a request from Downtown Milford Inc. for an alcohol waiver. Downtown Milford requested a waiver on June 20 and July 25 for Mispillion River Brewing to offer beer tastings at the Riverwalk Farmer’s Market from 10 AM until Noon on those dates. Council approved the request with only Councilman James Starling voting against it.

In addition, council approved a request from the Police Committee that all parking signs downtown be uniform. Currently, there are different parking limits in different areas of town and downtown merchants were requesting them to be the same. Council agreed that all downtown parking spaces on Walnut Street between Causey Avenue and Northwest Front Street would have a 2-hour time limit on Monday through Saturday from 8 AM until 5 PM.

“We do enforce the parking limits,” Chief Keith Hudson said. “We will ticket people who are in a parking space longer than they are supposed to be. We get complaints sometimes of people staying in parking spaces for three or four hours so this consistent signage will not only be easier for police but for visitors downtown as well.”