Proposed development Ponemah Hill could feature multi-family housing and retail space

MILFORD – A proposed development off South Street could bring multi-family housing and businesses to a large undeveloped swath of land near the intersection of Routes 13 and 101 in Milford.

The plan for the project, called Ponemah Hill, would need rezoning of about half of a 65-acre tract to allow for commercial development, as well as multi-family.

Rezoning from Residence B District to Commercial would reduce the property’s allowable multi-family density from 245 to 119 units and permit commercial development, making it a mixed-use area.

The plan is from Stephen Desmarais Construction, and Desmarais has not provided specific details of what he might develop if he gets the zoning change.

About 20 house lots on a proposed new road extending from Prospect Street is also part of the plan.

Prospect Street residents are already fighting a proposed traffic change that would bring more cars from Ledgewood Condominiums and the assisted living facility into their neighborhood.

The Planning Board could soon begin a formal review.

At its Sept. 24 work session, board members noted several areas of concern, including the impact on town services and natural features – quarries, trails, streams and wetlands – and how the plan lines up with the goals of the Milford Master Plan.

They also said the developer should meet with town water/wastewater commissioners to talk about water and sewer connections.

Also in the plan is a smaller area to be rezoned, from Residence A to Commercial, affecting an undeveloped strip of land between the end of Webster Street and the Public Service property at the corner of Route 13 and Hammond Road. The rezoning would allow for apartments and businesses.

Town Planner Jodie Levandowski called the plans for Ponemah Hill “very preliminary,” and said Desmarais has not submitted a formal application.

In an email, she called the proposed rezoning “a great opportunity for Milford” and “tax positive for the town,” because it will reduce the number of allowable multi-family units and because vacant developable commercial land is needed for economic development.

The two zoning changes would require public hearings and a town vote next March.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or at kcleveland@cabinet.com.