TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
Planning and Zoning Commission
Public Meeting #1478
March 6, 2006
***** Draft Document – Subject to Commission Approval ******
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 P. M. by Chairman Guiliano in the Cafeteria of the East Windsor High School, 76 South Main Street, (Warehouse Point section), East Windsor, CT.
ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM:
A quorum was established as three Regular Members (Guiliano, Ouellette, and Saunders) and one Alternate Member Kehoe (arrived at 6:40 P. M.) were present. Regular Members Gowdy and Rodrigue and Alternate Member Tyler were absent. Also present was Town Planner Whitten, and Glenn Chalder, AICP, principal in Planimetrics.
WORKSHOP: Residential/Open Space Regulations:
Mr. Chalder indicated that the goal tonight is to go through the strategies discussed at the previous meeting, and decide when the Commission wants to schedule a Public Hearing.
Booklet 7 – Possible Zoning Strategies:
Page 2: Town Planner Whitten noted under Section 4.1 Terms and Words Defined – item 4 – The town does not have The Illustrated book of Development Definitions (Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research (Piscataway, NJ ) as amended; reference to same needs to be deleted. A substitution for this document would be the Planner’s Dictionary.
Page 3: Town Planner Whitten noted the density factor for the R-2 Zone has been included in the PRD Regulations by definition; reference to the density factor for the PRD should be either deleted from the PRD Regulation section or this page.
Page 4 and 5: New standards for PRDs, no changes.
Page 6 and 7: Commissioner Ouellette noted the comment in the sidebar was actually made by one resident rather than “some people”. Mr. Chalder suggested the box can be deleted when the documents are ready to go to Public Hearing.
Page 8 and 9: Discussion was initiated with regard to managing multi-family development in the future. Chairman Guiliano suggested most of the people in the
audience at the previous meeting were in favor of getting rid of the multi-family developments entirely.
Henry Crenshaw, Riverview Drive: noted that under Section 8A.3 the text reads: “no area shall rezoned to a Multi-Family Development District unless the applicant has proven and the Commission has determined that:, and continues on under subsection 3……”the site is identified in the Plan of conservation and Development, as amended, as being located outside of any area that is definitely not appropriate for multi-family development.” He questioned how that language applies? Mr. Chalder suggested the text was highlighted (italic print in these minutes) because in the POCD amendments the Residential Growth Guide Plan Map would modify areas available for such developments.
Commissioner Ouellette noted that in previous workshops Mr. Chalder had noted that Rocky Hill had eliminated further multi-family development; he questioned if any other communities have gotten rid of multi-family regulations/developments? Mr. Chalder suggested most towns, perhaps with the exception of Bethlehem, have some type of multi-family housing. Some towns, such as East Granby, have set a specific percentage – no more than 30% of the housing stock would be multi-family. Commissioner Ouellette likened it to the cap set by the Commission on Active Adult Housing; multi-family developments seem to be a common application coming before the Commission, taking a time out to digest what the town has could be a reasonable thing to do. Mr. Chalder indicated that the Commission’s role
is to look at the overall development patterns in town and set better guidelines; you could set percentages for specific housing types or take the time out.
Town Planner Whitten noted the Residential Growth Guide Plan in the POCD highlights the areas that would allow multi-family housing by Special Permit; that would limit multi-family housing coming in. She noted that the villages of Windsorville, Broad Brook, Scantic, Warehouse Pointy and Melrose are considered rural village districts; most village districts have mixed housing types. Chairman Guiliano suggested he things more of the village district being concerned with design and architectural styles of housing, but not sticking apartment housing in Windsorville.
Chairman Guiliano suggested he wouldn’t have a problem asking for a time out for apartments in town; Commissioners Ouellette and Kehoe agreed. Mr. Chalder indicated then he would be deleting pages 8 – 12, Section 8.A of the Zoning Regulations, completely. Town Planner Whitten noted that would basically not permit SDD (Special Development Districts) anywhere in town, and the existing multi-family housing would become non-conforming. Chairman Guiliano concurred. Commissioner Saunders questioned if that made problems for the existing developments being non-conforming? Town Planner Whitten noted they were conforming at the time they were created and approved. Commissioner Saunders questioned if that would give people problems financing homes, etc.?
Mr. Chalder indicated the zones wouldn’t be able to expand but they are controlled from the beginning.
Town Planner Whitten questioned if the Commission would consider allowing multi-family in Broad Brook and Warehouse Point but not in Windsorville, Scantic, or Melrose? Commissioner Kehoe questioned if the areas were played out already in Warehouse Point? Town Planner Whitten suggested there isn’t much option for anything new but the possibility would be on the books. She noted recent discussion for a proposed multi-family development in Broad Brook for which the applicant would have to come up with a regulation to allow it; if the Commission eliminates multi-family completely it would be more difficult for the applicant to do that.
Chairman Guiliano questioned if the multi-family concept means condos – attached or detached, or apartments, or what? Commissioner Saunders felt apartments were the issue. Commissioner Ouellette suggested density is an issue for him, more on the detached condos; it’s not what he wants to see for the town.
Al Grant, Melrose: would the village district be defined by the map rather than the sewer capacity? Chairman Guiliano indicated the Commission would be referring to the map. Mr. Grant questioned if the map would be specific as to locations? Commissioner Saunders suggested it would be confined to the village district map. Commissioner Ouellette questioned if this was one of the questions that was used in the telephone survey. Town Planner Whitten referenced page 2-1 of the POCD which listed survey results. Mr. Chalder suggested he would have to review the data from the original survey to answer that question.
Mr. Chalder offered the Commission the following options with regard to multi-family housing: 1) delete pages 8 – 12 completely; 2) say SDDs approved or existing as of 3/6/2006 are conforming; or 3) in Broad brook or Warehouse Point multi-family might be permitted in the future. The consensus of the Commission was that apartments have been the problem. Commissioner
Ouellette indicated that for him an issue is open space and/or perceived open space; he doesn’t want to see clustering in the future. Mr. Chalder suggested he felt the Commission has made many changes to reduce density; he cited examples on page 9.
Al Grant, Melrose: suggested there is a link between density and preserving open space in other parts of town; you have more density in the villages. He suggested a fee-in-lieu as an option. Mr. Chalder referenced page 9; that type of concept would work better if you limited it to areas of Broad Brook and Warehouse Point.
Town Planner Whitten noted that elderly occupancies is within the multi-family housing so that would be eliminated. Commissioner Saunders didn’t want to eliminate multi-family housing entirely, but would consider eliminating apartments because of what’s out there already. Discussion followed regarding defining apartments vs. condos; condos were considered to be owned personally, but could then be rented to others. Mr. Chalder suggested land use regulations deal with land use; regulations based on ownership are very difficult to deal with. He suggested that with a Zone Change the Commission has as much power as any commission has; they have absolute discretion. With a Special Use
Permit someone can brow beat you, etc. He suggested many towns are going in this direction – site plan approval for a Zone Change; the site plan presented at the Zone Change Application must be approved; if it doesn’t work for a particular site the Commission can deny it.
Chairman Guiliano suggested because of what multi-family encompasses you need to be careful of eliminating everything; if the Commission could eliminate apartments it would work for him. Mr. Chalder indicated he didn’t know how to do that specifically. The Commission could say you have had enough and not do any more, or say Planemetrics had heard your concerns and you would like to try this regulation for a rest and you could pull it if it doesn’t work, or you could do Broad Brook and Warehouse Point, which is a narrow test area. Commissioner Ouellette suggested we say that but don’t do it. Mr. Chalder suggested the Commission can. Commissioner Ouellette cited page 3-10 of the POCD which indicates a percentage of multi-family housing and suggests East
Windsor doesn’t need to plan for more. He suggested the Commission has heard many arguments for that. Commissioner Saunders felt limiting multi-family housing to the villages; he felt the areas were pretty much tapped out; maybe one or two people will try. The Commission could see how it goes. Chairman Guiliano reiterated the application would require a Zone Change.
Noreen Farmer, 247 South Water Street: questioned if the stand along units, like those at Coleman Farms on Tromley Road, would fall under multi-family housing? Chairman Guiliano replied affirmatively. Mr. Chalder suggested it could be a piece of land with one housing unit or 15 individual units/buildings or 15 units in one building under common interest ownership is multi-family housing.
Chairman Guiliano questioned that the Commission would have the right to ask for a complete set of plans before considering a Zone Change? Mr. Chalder suggested would indicate specifics of the project but not be a detailed site plan. Chairman Guiliano suggested the Commission would need architectural drawings. Mr. Chalder concurred, noting the Commission needs to see a detailed site plan including architectural drawings to decide compatibility, but the site plans wouldn’t include pavement widths, etc. Chairman Guiliano suggested the Commission needs to know that a project will fit in a particular location. Mr. Chalder suggested the application would need a Zone Change to do it and then it would require a Special Use Permit with Site Plan.
Henry Crenshaw: suggested if you leave in Section 8.A, then subsection 3(d) references the need for streets with adequate width, grade, alignment, and adequate capacity etc. for traffic generated by a project, he suggested using the POCD as a guideline for pavement width, traffic volume, etc. Chairman Guiliano noted that the POCD is a guideline; he suggested fixing the lengths, widths, etc. listed in the current regulations. Mr. Chalder felt specific standards tie the Commission to those numbers; review of criteria allows discussion/argument to base decisions on. Commissioner Ouellette agreed with Mr. Crenshaw; he felt the wording was vague; what’s adequate? He noted he’s an expert in the field and he has trouble; some communities set levels of
service, etc. as standards. Mr. Chalder felt strict criteria will be a disadvantage. Commissioner Saunders felt making DOT reviewed applications affecting traffic on Route 5 was important.
Mr. Chalder returned discussion to the Commission’s preference for multi-family housing. Commissioner Saunders favored option 3 – only in Broad Brook and Warehouse Point – and test drive it. The consensus of the Commission agreed. Mr. Chalder indicated he will redraft Section 8.A.3 and will redesign the Residential Growth Guide Plan Map to include multi-family only within the blue boundaries – Broad Brook and Warehouse Point. He noted he will also delete the sidebar on Page 9; the concept is in the narrative.
Commissioner Ouellette questioned why Active Adult Housing wasn’t part of the multi-family regulations? Mr. Chalder suggested the Commission had separate regulations for this type of housing; the draft tried to maintain the integrity of those regulations. He cited Section 5.17 contains discussion of congregate housing complexes, which is a variety in that type of development. Commissioner Ouellette questioned if those developments would be restricted to the village districts? Town Planner Whitten suggested that Age Restricted Housing tends not to be multi-family so far. Commissioner Ouellette agreed, so far; he noted he’s been involved in many projects statewide and there is a large variety. Town Planner Whitten noted there are 33 units left to be built. Discussion followed regarding reflecting the Active Adult Housing/Age Restricted Housing cap in the regulations specifically.
Al Grant, Melrose: questioned if Active Adult Housing is different than multi-family housing? Would it be allowed in other areas than the village district? Chairman Guiliano replied affirmatively. Mr. Grant questioned if there would be any restrictions? Chairman Guiliano suggested sewer and water must be available, and the site must be 8 acres in size. Mr. Grant questioned the density; Mr. Chalder referenced page 17. Mr. Grant questioned the track record on Active Adult Housing; he felt it would be difficult to police if people pass the units on to their children. Commissioner Saunders suggested the units are deed restricted. Town Planner Whitten noted the town still has the cap. Mr. Grant felt Active Adult Housing is similar to multi-family
housing. Town Planner Whitten suggested Assisted Living is a different type of housing and has no cap.
Elizabeth Burns, Human Resources Direction, Town of East Windsor: suggested East Windsor has no Assisted Living housing at present; people think of Chestnut Point but that’s a full scale nursing home, Medicare/Medicaid funded
Town Planner Whitten suggested there is the Zone Change and Special Use Permit process so the Commission can say no. Mr. Chalder noted the town also has the cap in place which polices this type of housing. He also noted that an AARP survey indicated that 80% of the people would rather continue to live in their current home. People who develop Active Adult Housing are going after a market they feel is there, but people are buying a smaller home than the one being sold, at the same or higher price.
Noreen Farmer, 247 South Water Street: felt that Active Adult Housing going on town land in a multi-family set up shouldn’t be looked at any differently than any multi-family development; even with the cap that may change.
Debbie Crenshaw: agreed with Ms. Farmer. She noted Texas has a large number of Over 55 developments and they have had many problems; the people get too wild, and they can be loud. They should have the same requirements as multi-family.
Henry Crenshaw: suggested that when looking at any of these developments allowed under Section 20, when they go in they may be fine but he is concerned with what will happen 10 or 20 years down the road. When the economy goes bad they could get a zone change, or a rule change, and could get around the multi-family restrictions. Chairman Guiliano noted that’s been his concern as well, and the reason he wanted to keep the cap.
Chairman Guiliano noted he was also concerned with the resale value in the future. He agreed with Mr. Crenshaw but didn’t know if he wanted to put Active Adult Housing in with multi-family housing.
Town Planner Whitten felt there is a need for managed care/assisted living communities; we will need ore services for the elderly as time continues on. The 55 and Over Housing really doesn’t serve that purpose; it’s for people who want to downsize and don’t want the maintenance issues of home ownership. The assisted living communities might tend to be located in the village district because people might want to be near those amenities. She indicated some assisted living communities, such as McLean’s in Simsbury, are beautiful; she would be reluctant to limit locations.
Elizabeth Burns, Human Services Coordinator, Town of East Windsor: supported Town Planner Whitten’s comments; working for the town and being the Human Services Coordinator she can tell you that people can’t remain in town when they need assisted living services, but they really want to remain. It’s one place the town really does have a gap.
Mr. Chalder clarified that the new Section 22, pages 14 - 19, because of the cap and the Zone Change/Special Use Permit process, he will leave it is written. The Commission agreed.
Town Planner Whitten questioned that on page 18, Section 22.11.1, would the Commission prefer to promote 30% Open Space rather than 20%? Mr. Chalder suggested all multi-family developments went to 20%, while the PRD went to 30%.
Booklet 8 - Possible Subdivision Strategies:
Page 2 - Add in the Planner’s dictionary.
Page 4 and 5: Town Planner Whitten noted on page 4, Section 5.7.1(c) you need to add Zone R-2.
Page 6 and 7: Chairman Guiliano felt the proposal for Fee-in-lieu-of sidewalks needs to be added to page 6, Sidewalks and Pathways. Mr. Chalder suggested it’s been discussed in the POCD, and narrative is being added to Section 6.3 of the Subdivision Regulations - 50% off site, or 40% Fee-In-Lieu.
Page 8 and 9: Town Planner Whitten noted the Town Assessor had reviewed recent applications with regard to appraised value/fee-in-lieu calculations and recommended keeping the fee-in-lieu offering at $2,000 per lot. Chairman Guiliano suggested reviewing the amount every couple of years; Mr. Chalder indicated he would like to think that enough of this goes on that every year the Assessor would certify the Grand List and set a new value for the following year, which would ensure that it always be current. The annual date of review/change should be written into the regulations.
Page 10 and 11:
Noreen Farmer, 247 South Water Street: Referenced Section 11.1(a) noting the narrative reads.....”the property for which the waiver is sought is uniquely affected by these regulations.” She suggested unique is ambiguous. Mr. Chalder suggested there are court cases and laws which define “unique”.
MOTION: To TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.
Sauders moved/Ouellette seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
The Commission RECESSED at 8:10 P. M. and RECONVENED at 8:22 P. M.
Booklet 9 - Possible POCD Amendments:
Page 2: Mr. Chalder suggested the proposed aquifer protection guidelines would occur down the road. Commissioner Saunders referenced the area red-lined on the proposed map, questioning if this would be an area where the Commission wouldn’t want to allow gas stations, or anything environmentally sensitive. Mr. Chalder indicated that the water companies who pump water from wells must do a map to indicate those locations; the map for East Windsor isn’t scheduled to be done until 2008. They are surmising that Level A - the highest level of protection - will be something like this area red-lined. You would want the most protection in that area. The State requires that the towns adopt regulations consistent with the State regulations. It wouldn’t mean existing gas
stations would have to close; if a business were doing something environmentally sensitive they must use “best management practices”.
Page 3: Residential Density Plan - Shows zoning categories.
Page 4 and 5: Town Planner Whitten noted that on page 4, paragraph 2, the narrative is in conflict with earlier discussion.
With regard to page 5, Mr. Chalder indicated he would be removing the blue area in Scantic and Windsorville, and leaving it around Broad Brook and Warehouse Point; then he could eliminate the green area. He questioned if someone came in with 33 units of Age Restricted Housing would the Commission allow it in the blue area because it’s like multi-family housing, and would you allow it in the green - rural - area, which used to the sewer avoidance area? Does the Commission want to say must be in Broad Brook or Warehouse Point; does the Commission want Age Restricted Housing in any green area or just in blue? Chairman Guiliano felt Age Restricted Housing needs to be in sewered areas, which appear to be white or gray on the map. Mr. Chalder suggested he will change the map and text to
indicate that multi-family housing must be in only the blue area; Age Restricted Housing can be in the green area, and both are at the sole discretion of the Commission. Chairman Guiliano suggested using only the map as a reference for locations.
Commissioner Ouellette suggested the map is called the Residential Growth Map; this could be talking about single family housing but that’s not discussed in this section. Mr. Chalder indicated he would change the language to say multi-family housing only in the blue areas and village districts; he didn’t want to call it a Multi-Family Growth Plan. Commissioner Ouellette questioned if the blue line was off somewhat someone would have to amend the map? Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively. Mr. Chalder suggested someone couldn’t apply for a Zone Change and Commission couldn’t approve anything until the map in the POCD was amended.
Page 6: No changes, but Mr. Chalder will also add this to the Subdivision Regulations.
Page 7: Chairman Guiliano suggested he didn’t want to see sidewalks in Melrose, Scantic, or Windsorville. Mr. Chalder indicated he would change those areas to a different color.
Mr. Chalder suggested he will do another revised draft for the Commission’s review, and then the Commission could schedule the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Ouellette questioned if the regulation changes Town Planner Whitten is working on with Don Poland will be incorporated in that Public Hearing as well? Town Planner Whitten suggested the regulation changes probably wouldn’t be in this Public Hearing but would be in a Public Hearing eventually.
MOTION: To ADJOURN this meeting at 8:45 P. M.
Saunders moved/Ouellette seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Peg Hoffman, Planning and Zoning Commission Recording Secretary