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April 17, 2006 Minutes
Town of East Windsor
Economic Development Commission
11 Rye Street, P.O. Box 389
Broad Brook, CT 06016
Regular Meeting Minutes
April 17, 2006

An informal meeting began at 7:05 p.m. due to a lack of quorum.

The informal discussion included EDC members:  Chairman Eric Moffett, Jim Richards and Josh Kapelner—and visitors:  David Monaco and Glenn Grobard, owners of the Broad Brook Centre Shops.  Also participating in the discussion: Town Planner Laurie Whitten and Ed Filipone, a member of the Board of Selectmen.

It was noted that the Agenda should clearly indicate that the meetings are held at the Town Hall Annex, 25 School Street, Warehouse Point.

The discussion began with Glenn Grobard explaining his presence at the meeting, along with his partner, David Monaco.  Mr. Grobard noted his background is real estate and construction.  They are the owners of Goodfella’s Restaurant and the plaza known as The Broad Brook Centre Shops.  Mr. Grobard noted that they just lost     a 5,000 sq. ft. tenant, along with the nail shop and other tenants that have recently moved out.  Mr. Grobard and Mr. Monaco then went on to explain their recent proposal for an 11-unit condominium complex on the Adam’s Den property.  They are trying to create a village concept in Broad Brook, a center that would be enticing, but noted the problems with the Zoning Regulations.  Mr. Grobard and Mr. Monaco expressed their concerns with being able to work with the town boards and residents to recreate a village atmosphere.  They had brought the concept to the Planning & Zoning Commission and felt they received favorable feedback.  Since then they had spent a great deal of money for engineered plans only to find out their chance of getting approval is nominal.  They also made reference to a group of resident’s known as CREW (Concerned Residents of East Windsor)—that their understanding of this group is such that it may negatively influence the proposal because it’s related to multi-family housing.  Mr. Monaco described their vision to improve Broad Brook center, improving the atmosphere with sidewalks and new lighting.  They are reluctant to spend another $30-$40,000 to get started on the condo proposal, only to be denied.

Town Planner Laurie Whitten explained that the current regulations don’t allow the density as they are proposing, further adding that the Planning & Zoning Commission is in the middle of a residential moratorium and in the process of updating the entire Zoning Regulations.  Ms. Whitten stated that the condo proposal was a good one, but they are looking for a density that’s beyond what is allowed.  She reiterated to the developers their need to come up with a regulation that will work for them.

EDC member Jim Richards expounded on the resident’s concerns, stating that the issue with the proposed Chapman apartments on North Road caused people to be apprehensive regarding more apartment complexes.  He’s in agreement that
Planning & Zoning need to pursue village regulations, however, he anticipates it would take five years to be able to get the center up and going.  Mr. Monaco expressed his frustration that this is the only town of all towns and villages in the state going downhill – that there’s an 80% vacancy rate in Broad Brook center.  He questioned why the residents don’t under-stand the revenue in taxes that will be brought in with development in the center.  

EDC Member Richard Covill arrived at the meeting.  Chairman Moffett established a quorum and officially called the Meeting to Order at 7:30 p.m.


Members Present:        Eric F. Moffett, Jim Richards, Josh Kapelner, Richard Covill

Members unable  Matt Crossen, Sharon Aprea
to attend:      

Continued visitor discussion –

Chairman Eric Moffett questioned how to attract people to Broad Brook, considering it’s out of the way— noting the need to make the center a destination.  

Mr. Monaco expressed the disregard that has been the attitude towards Broad Brook, that it is a politically churned up town.  He is considering contacting the Journal Inquirer, Channel 8 and Channel 30 news to bring awareness to the town.  He further noted the shabby sight when seeing a broken-down chain link fence in the center of town.  

Town Planner Laurie Whitten explained that she had downloaded several village related regulations for them to use as a sample for creating a regulation that would work for their project.

Mr. Grobard cited that if they go forward with a text amendment or new regulation, they still need approval for a specific amount of units; they have to start off making money to continue future potential projects to beautify the town.  The reason they are here is to find some direction, questioning whether they should wait a year.  Ms. Whitten responded that there are no guarantees with zoning; the current regulations aren’t written for a village district, which has major requirements, such as architectural requirements.

Jim Richards stated that perhaps it’s the approach that needs to be different.  He suggested that instead of trying to market their vision for the town center, to pre-market the proposal under the banner of the Economic Development Commission.

Discussion continued with Chairman Moffett suggesting to the developers that they develop a game plan, first locating hamlet or village district regulations that they could rework for their own proposal.

Jim Richards suggested involving the Chamber of Commerce and holding a Business-after-hours Block Party to promote the potential village vision of Broad Brook.  This could be held in the parking lot of the Broad Brook Centre Shops.

MOTION:  To pursue the marketing idea for the future of Broad Brook with a Business-after-hours Block Party when village district regulations are created.


   Economic Development Issues

-       Marketing Brochure

Discussion began with the issue of where to route the Marketing Brochure.  Ed Filipone relayed his discussion with the First Selectman that she was agreeable to having the returned responses from the brochures go through the Selectman’s office.  The staff would track and deliver the return postcard to the applicable department of interest.  Town Planner Whitten questioned the average percentage of expected responses of the brochures.  Jim Richards replied that it’s approximately 3-5%, and that the EDC must have a positive attitude and approach for economic development in the town.  Chairman Moffett recommended that the members come up with a target group for recipients of the brochures.  Mr. Covill suggested the library, in addition to other local establishments.  This will be further discussed at the next meeting.

-       Landscape Beautification Contest Event

Chairman Moffett suggested that the Commission hold off on the beautification event for now.


There was discussion about composing an article for the Town Newsletter that would provide information about the five boroughs of East Windsor:  Broad Brook, Windsorville, Melrose, Scantic and Warehouse Point.  The Commission members talked of different ways to promote the town, specifically Warehouse Point and Broad Brook as Village Districts:  Warehouse Point and Broad Brook.  Town Planner Laurie Whitten noted that Geisslers does have approval for improvements to their site, adding that it might be a suitable place to promote the Warehouse Point area.

Also, there was conversation about promoting specific types of businesses, such as the auto industry that is prominent in East Windsor.

MOTION:  To contact Betsy Burns of Human Services regarding her contact person with Cox Cable to attend the next meeting for a discussion on how to promote the town.                                                                       Richards/Covill-Unanimous

Mr. Richard Covill cited a letter he received from Steven Knibloe of the East Windsor Housing Authority.  The letter clarifies that the new construction for the Active Adult Housing on Depot Street goes by the name “East Windsor Housing, LLC, DRD which is not affiliated with the Town’s Housing Authority.

Jim Richards distributed handouts for the 18th East Windsor Community Day, to be held May 13, 2006 at the East Windsor High School from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


MOTION:  To approve the minutes of March 20, 2006 as submitted.  


MOTION:  To adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.  -   Kapelner/Richards-Unanimous

        Respectfully submitted,

        Nancy J. Rudek,
Recording Secretary