At a recent meeting, Milford City Council approved a conditional use request from Helmick Fast Food that could bring Chipotle to Milford. The request was a renewal of a conditional use that was approved in 2022 but expired. Initially, when asked who the tenants would be in the new building which would include one fast food and one drive-thru business, Tom Schreier of Hillcrest Associates, stated that there was no potential tenant known currently. Councilman Andy Fulton asked if there were plans in place to prevent the approval from expiring this time like it did after the last approval.
“I know the last one, unfortunately, we let it expire due to some lease negotiations that fell through,” Schreier said. “My client is currently negotiating with some potential tenants and has decided to just move forward and get those approvals with or without those leases.”
Councilman Brian Baer asked if the new building would also include improvements to the parking lot in the theater and surrounding area. Schreier stated that there were plans on adding new curved islands, additional landscaping and better circulation around the former Wendy’s site. When asked if there was anyone who wished to speak in favor of the application, Art Helmick, owner of the property as well as the Milford Movies 9, spoke.
“I’m the property owner. And all I want to say is that we did have some trouble with lease negotiations before and our attention was to move faster than what we have. The site was under some type of reconstruction at the time when the previous owner passed away and left it to his wife. She no longer wanted to follow through. And it was a hazard and that was the reason we tore it down. I guess you would say we tore down because we were doing the movie theater right there and due to the fact that we couldn’t keep people out of it. There was holes dug in, there was a lot of things going on there,” Helmick said. “We didn’t plan on putting Wendy’s back. I think what held us up before was that we were working with a tenant before, Chipotle, and you have to meet their timeframes. And if you don’t, the ball gets dropped. So, they’re back at the table. We have others as well. But we are inches away from signing. I was hoping tonight that we actually could have said we have this thing signed, but it takes a little bit more than we thought but we’re gonna move forward because we’re getting a lot of activity because people want to be here.”
No one during the public hearing spoke against the request. Council expressed significant support for the possibility of new food options in Milford.
“I vote yes on the motion on reason that this is a site that I think has been ready for a food establishment,” Councilman Jason James said. “When council approved this before, many constituents were anticipating some type of business like this, and I am glad it is back to the table and it will be good for the entire city.”
Councilwoman Katrina Wilson agreed, stating that she liked the fact that “Mr. Art” was working forward rather than waiting for signed leases.
“I vote yes,” Councilman Todd Culotta said. “I like Chipotle. But seriously, I commend Mr. Helmick for actually mentioning that prior to being completed. I am excited about it going in there.”
Council approved the request with a vote of 6 to 0 as Councilwoman Nirmal Samaroo was not present.
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