Milford P&Z delays decision on proposed bus installation

MILFORD – Developers are back on the hunt for the creation of a private bus depot and fueling facility on Plains Road for the school district’s busy contract business.

The developers, 615 Plains Road, LLC, presented their plan to the Milford Planning and Zoning Board last week – a decision that was delayed after wetland violations that needed correction.

The board continued meeting on the request until its next meeting, so a full board is available for the final vote.

The developers entered into a long-term lease with Durham School Services to allow Durham to use the building at 615 Plains Road for a general office, dispatch, bus inspections, general maintenance and a private service station.

The proposed surface parking improvements will provide school bus and employee parking for 69 school buses and 67 employees, including drivers and eight on-site staff employees.

“We have police approval, fire department approval, sewer approval and an indoor wetlands plan is in place,” said solicitor Kevin Curseaden, representing Durham School Services. “The work cannot be completed until spring, but a planting plan was filed with the Inland Wetlands Commission on time, February 28.”

In addition to a private refueling facility, the proposal has the location to be used as a base for school bus operations, storage and maintenance. There is an existing 13,694 square foot building that the applicant says will not change, and they are also set to build a stand-alone gas station with zoning approval.

During the school year, the first bus leaves at 6:00 am. All buses return in the morning between 8:30 and 9:15. The midday courses are carried out between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., returning at 12:30 p.m. Afternoon course start at 1:15 p.m.

Sports trips may see buses return at 10.30pm or later.

Buses will exit onto Plains Road, turn onto Shelland Street and then onto Bic Drive leaving the bus depot. On the way back they will take Bic Drive to Shelland then Plains and enter the property from Raton Drive.

Attorney Thomas Lynch, representing the plaintiff, said that because the total number of peak hour trips will be 70, the claim does not need a traffic study or third-party review. Traffic study or third-party review is triggered with an application generating 100 or more vehicle trips during the peak.

Urban planner David Sulkis said small projects in the city required traffic studies. Some have been smaller residential properties and projects with lower traffic impacts than this application.

“We required a third-party review, simply because of the location of these uses within existing residential neighborhoods,” he said. “The problem with that, unlike the mall site, this site is immediately adjacent to a dense residential neighborhood, and there is concern that this use may, perhaps, have a negative impact on those neighborhoods.”

Sulkis pointed out that the circulation letter they received mentioned the 70 buses but did not mention the rest of the employees who will be working at the site.

“So unless everyone is going to this site and there is no one there, because everyone has left by bus, this circulation letter that has been provided does not give us the full extent of what’s going on there,” he said.

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