Tell us the worst: Public asks about new housing development proposed for Milford Hearing will continue on Feb. 19: Supervisors say development will not happen without zoning change and new central sewer system
Not an actual rendering, but “a likeness” of the apartments proposed, as presented by Legend Properties on Monday
By Frances Ruth Harris MILFORD — The packed room wanted an answer to the question posed by Milford Borough Vice President Meagan Kameen: What's the worst-case scenario, if Legend Properties is allowed to build? Legend wants to develop a 20-acre parcel, known as the Santos property, on Routes 6 and 209 in Milford Township adjacent to the borough. Legend is seeking a zoning change that will permit more intensive development on that site than is currently allowed, arguing that a planned central sewer system would accommodate it. At Monday night's public hearing held by township supervisors, Legend CEO Jim DePetris and lawyer Jason Ohliger presented a site map showing the different phases of development. Plans include three new 36-unit apartments, for a total of 108, they said. One-bedroom apartments would rent for $1,500 to $1,700 a month, two-bedroom apartments for $1,700 to $1,900. Kameen said traffic is sometimes backed up to the Milford–Montague Bridge. The public needs to know the potential effects of those residences before the project moves forward, she said. The audience broke into applause. Supervisor Gary Clark and Ohliger said nothing will happen without the zoning change and a central sewer system. Clark and Supervisor Gary Williams said the sewer system is now being studied, and that it will take a year or two before the study is completed. Some in the crowd asked why a developer was making a presentation that depended on new zoning before it was actually in place. A barrage of questionsAll seats in the meeting hall were taken. Many people hovered outside the door, stood along the sides of the room, or sat on the floor. One man called out that he couldn't hear. At least double the number of seats were needed to accommodate the whole crowd. Clark said the supervisors didn't usually have so many people come to their meetings. A barrage of questions and concerns from the public slowed the presentation. Many said they were afraid of losing the Milford they know and love. Joanna Carley said she moved to Milford from Long Island and could not believe she was now confronting the same high-density nightmare she'd left. One man asked why the developer was not in front of the planning board instead of the town board. Don Quick, a township supervisor from 1996 to 2017, said the project smacked of spot zoning, which places a small area of land in a different zone from that of neighboring property. The proposed new zoning, if adopted, would apply to the entire township. But the changes apply only to parcels of 20 acres or more. Clark said no more 20-acre parcels existed in Milford Township. Quick asked for an executive session that he said concerned litigation. But Clark said he wanted to move forward with the hearing. They moved to an executive session later. Fred Weber, who stood with his wife for two hours before being heard, said Milford would be changed forever by the development being proposed. "It was also never explained what the revenue stream will be to the town/borough and what additional expenses will be borne by the residents (e.g. additional fire/ambulance/police/school costs)," Weber stated in a later email to the Courier. "By changing the amendment instead of making this a variance it opens up the development of 4 additional 20 acre parcels in the village for similar development. If all four parcels were similarly developed you could see 800-1,000 renters/owners and anywhere from 1,500-2,000 cars on our one-lane roads." Rachel Hendricks raised her hand many times before she was recognized. Legend's price points weren't part of the project's scope, she said. The board and Quick went into executive session. When they returned, Clark said there was nothing to report. The board then agreed to continue the hearing at the next township meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Clark said the board needed to examine the project and its ramifications more fully. Related storiesPlease see related stories at pikecountycourier.com: "Public has a chance to comment on zoning change that would sharply increase development" "Milford-Westfall sewer connection would be good for business, advocates say"