On Monday, June 12, Milford City Council approved a request from Touch of Italy to extend incentives provided to the company after their purchase of the former M&T Bank building. The economic development agreement, signed in June 2016, provided for waivers of the building permit, water impact, sewer impact and electric impact fees as well as a three-year City property tax abatement once the restaurant opens. The agreement stipulated that the restaurant needed to open by June 28, 2017. However, there have been delays in renovations of the building due to inspections by the Department of Public Health and the Fire Marshall.
“Touch of Italy is working to address some of the items identified by the two agencies, but this has delayed the completion of the project,” Rob Pierce, City Planner, explained to Council. “If Council approves this six-month extension, Touch of Italy hopes to have the identified problems corrected and construction completed by that time, barring any other issues.”
According to a copy of the Fire Marshal’s report included in the City Council agenda packet, several issues must be addressed before they will grant approval of the new restaurant. The report indicates that there is not sufficient emergency lighting to illuminate paths in case of an emergency. The report also requires a fire-rated door at the top of the basement stairs. There are also comments about the sprinkler system and the need for additional fire extinguishers. The issues found by the Department of Public Health were not included in the packet.
“The incentive agreement was signed prior to the Downtown Development District designation with the State which was received in late August 2016,” Mr. Pierce explained. “The DDD program provides for similar building permit and impact fee waivers and provides for a partial tax abatement for improvements.”
Touch of Italy hopes to have construction completed within the six-month extension and is planning for an opening of the restaurant in early 2018. City Council approved the extension unanimously.
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