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Milford-based Metro Star's plans to develop a 143-unit residential community with commercial and office space at 367, 377 and 373-375 East Main Street -- most notably home to the aging Days Inn -- will continue to be reviewed by Branford's Inlands Wetlands Commission (IWC) at its June 11 meeting. (Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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With a May 14 determination that an Inland Wetlands (IW) public hearing won't be required, Milford-based Metro Star's plans to develop a 143-unit residential community with commercial and office space at 367, 377 and 373-375 East Main Street -- most notably home to the aging Days Inn -- will continue to be reviewed by Branford's Inlands Wetlands Commission (IWC) at its June 11 meeting. Meanwhile, a previously Town-approved Metro Star development, the planned Atlantic Wharf 10-building complex on Meadow Street, carries zoning approval until 2022 but remains in litigation from a 2019 suit brought by Metro Star Capital LLC (Milford) against property owner 1 Church St. LLC (Branford), with counterclaims recently filed (see related story).
The East Main Street IW application under review, submitted by Metro 375, LLC and Metro Star Companies, LLC (Milford) involves demolishing five buildings on the 6.44 acre parcel, including the circa 1960's Days Inn, as well as a vacant former restaurant building and a former branch of Key Bank. Following removal of existing buildings, paved areas and utilities; plans then call for constructing new buildings, parking areas, sidewalks and other site amenities. Total building development would include one new commercial building along East Main Street and seven residential buildings (including a clubhouse) to the east. By incorporating garages, the development would allow for 213 parking spaces, while decreasing current impervious surface by about 5225 square feet.
The IWC's review of the proposed development mainly focuses on an inland wetland found on the southerly edge of the property as well as any impact the plan's proposed upgrade to the site's stormwater management system may have on existing wetland. According to the applicant, the site's stormwater runoff rates to the receiving drainage system in East Main Street will be reduced; and the new system will create a significant improvement over existing conditions.
The wetlands on the site extend along a corridor located behind buildings and the abutting Interstate 95 right-of-way property. Plans call for demolishing the existing buildings and then constructing new buildings at a point that's five to seven feet further away from the wetlands corridor than the existing buildings. In addition, an asphalt drive currently located between wetlands corridor and the existing buildings would be removed and landscaped, with that area maintained to provide fire emergency access to the rear of the new buildings.
During the May 14 virtual meeting of the IWC, commissioners discussed the application with Metro Star representatives including attorney John W. Knuff (Hurwitz, Sagarin, Slossberg & Knuff, Milford); and heard a report from Branford Inlands Wetlands Director Jaymie Frederick. Frederick noted no correspondence or calls from the public had been received regarding the application, which was first submitted to the Town on April 4, 2020.
In response to IWC chairman Peter Bassermann's question of whether this was a project requiring a public hearing, the consensus of the commissioners was that, although this is a large application, the items under consideration by the IWC for approval don't involve significant regulatory activity, and don't impact the public interest with regard to inland wetlands regulatory oversight.
During the past months, town government meetings have been held remotely, due to Gov. Ned Lamont's Executive Orders for COVID-19. At press time for this article, the June 11 IWC meeting was set for 7 p.m.; with an agenda not yet posted, at www.branford-ct.gov