Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House is moving forward with plans to build a new facility at 25 Bridge St. in New Milford.

A new special permit application was filed March 27 with New Milford's Zoning Commission, including changes -- approved through variances granted in February by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals -- from the original, denied proposal.

"We are pleased we've entered this new stage and look forward to going through the zoning process as smoothly as possible," said Lisa Martin, Loaves & Fishes' president. "We are excited about the possibility of starting on the next phase -- getting started with the project."

In June 2014, the hospitality house's original application before zoning was denied. Attorney Neil Marcus, representing Loaves & Fishes, filed a civil appeal with the Superior Court in Danbury to overturn the denial.

An extension was granted by the court while Marcus went before the ZBA and now applied to the Zoning Commission to get new, altered plans approved.

Many residents have expressed outrage at Mayor Pat Murphy's stance that Loaves & Fishes must move from its location in the town-owned Richmond Citizens Center.

The mayor, beginning her campaign for another term, said her intentions have been misunderstood.

"Suggesting Loaves & Fishes leave the Richmond Center was assistance on my part that the previous director's husband, John Rogers, asked for," Murphy said. "He asked me to find a better location."

"That's the only reason I tried to find another place for them," she added.

Murphy had suggested Loaves & Fishes relocate to Faith Church property, nearly five miles from downtown on the Brookfield border.

She wanted to reconfiure the interior services at the Richmond Citizens Center and move the Social Services office into Loaves & Fishes present space.

That, she said Monday, will not be happening.

The mayor also noted some residents' rancor with zoners over the June 2014 denial is misplaced.

"If you apply to zoning with something that doesn't meet regulations, the commission has to vote `no' and then you go for variances to the ZBA," Murphy said. "Many people have had that happen."

Loaves & Fishes' new application includes demolishing the old Straub plumbing building, a non-conforming structure, on the north end of the parcel, and putting in 15 parking spaces.

The existing four-family residence on the Bridge Street side of the parcel would be reduced to three-family with the removal of the studio apartment.

The newly constructed hospitality house building would contain a kitchen, dining room, storage area, conference room and mechanical room on the ground floor.

The main level would include offices, conference room, laundry and restrooms.

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352