TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Special Meeting #1482
May 8, 2006
***** Draft Document – Subject to Commission Approval *****
The Meeting was called to order at 7:05 P. M. in the Cafeteria of the East Windsor High School, 76 Main Street, Warehouse Point section of East Windsor, CT. by Chairman Guiliano.
ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM:
A quorum was established as five Regular Members (Gowdy, Guiliano, Ouellette, Rodrigue, and Saunders), and two Alternate Members (Kehoe, and Matthews) were present. Also present were Town Planner Whitten, and Ex-Officio Member Selectman Filipone, and Glenn , AICP, of Planimetrics.
PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed changes to the Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations, Plan of conservation and Development and proposed Zoning Map. (As proposed and referenced in booklet 10, Zoning Strategies, as amended; Booklet 11, Subdivision Strategies; Booklet 12, POCD Amendments, dated March 7, 2006; and Proposed Zoning Map.):
Mr. Chalder presented the audience with a summary of the proposed changes, including those to Zoning Regulations, the Zoning Map, the Subdivision Regulations, and the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). Mr. Chalder reported the changes have been proposed to address residential development and growth in East Windsor which caused the Commission’s adoption of the moratorium adopted in June, 2005. The Commission has held subsequent meetings for discussion of strategies to reach the proposed goals. Tonight the Commission will consider adoption of those strategies, and elimination of the moratorium.
Mr. Chalder reported that the overall Zoning strategies are designed to guide Residential Development and preserve Open Space, while providing more control of Multi-Family Development. The intent is to encourage more flexible development patterns; to do that the Commission is promoting Planned Residential Developments (PRDs) within the R-2, R-3, A-1, and A-2 Zones. The Commission can guide development under the PRDs via a density factor, and promote more Open Space.
With regard to Multi-Family Development (MFD), Mr. Chalder noted this category of development will provide for construction of general multi-family complexes as well as age-restricted developments. MFD will require a Zone Change, which gives the
Commission maximum discretion as to appropriate locations for these developments. Each development must provide Open Space, must be constructed on parcels of at least 4 acres, and must be served by public water and sewers. The Commission is also adopting a map which will identify areas which are unacceptable for MFD (rural areas), and other areas which might be acceptable under certain circumstances. The Commission is also changing the density standards for MFDs; previously a developer was allowed 4 units/acre and up to 12 units/acre for elderly housing. That density has been dropped in half; the Commission has also added incentives to bring the density factor back towards the original limits under certain conditions.
Mr. Chalder noted that Age-Restricted Housing (ARH) requires approval of a Special Use Permit after approval of a Zone Change to MFD. ARH developments must also provide Open Space, and can not be located in rural areas. ARH developments must be built on parcels containing 8 acres or more served by public water and sewer. Mr. Chalder indicated this information is reflected in Booklet 10.
Mr. Chalder suggested the Commission has proposed changes to the Subdivision Regulations, which promote single family development. These projects must provide Open Space and improve the infrastructure where appropriate. Projects containing 5 or more lots require review by a landscape architect; if the Commission isn’t satisfied with the review presented by the developer’s landscape architect they can hire their own at the cost of the developer. Developments of 20 or more lots will require a traffic analysis at the cost of the developer.
Mr. Chalder suggested the Commission is also proposing changes to the Subdivision Regulations with regard to Open Space. As part of a subdivision development, land must be dedicated as Open Space, or the developer can offer a fee-in-lieu-of Open Space which the Town can use to acquire other open space in other areas to create interconnected greenways throughout the town. This Open Space must be deeded to the Town, a Land Trust, or other conservation organization. The Commission can approve or reject the Open Space proposal offered by the developer.
With regard to infrastructure, Mr. Chalder noted the Commission is now allowing narrower roadway widths for minor collector roads, and landscaping islands at the ends of cul-de-sacs. The Commission is proposing that sidewalks/trails will be provided for all subdivisions, either on-site or off site in another location; a developer could offer a fee-in-lieu of sidewalks which could be applied towards sidewalks/trails in another location. They are also proposing pedestrian/bike trails/pathways under a Sidewalk/Trail Plan Map. They are also proposing a zero increase in peak run off, and the use of best management practices for development of projects.
Mr. Chalder noted the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) is an advisory document, and has no regulatory affect, but it does give developers guidelines for their projects. Under the POCD the Commission is proposing new areas of consideration, including: a Groundwater/Acquifer Protection Plan which will utilize a two tier protection strategy – East Windsor will be mapped for acquirer protection areas by 2008 by the State; at that time the town will adopt regulations for the red areas (most significant protection areas), and also regulations for the blue areas (for potential future
Mr. Chalder indicated the Commission is proposing a Residential Densities Plan Map which will guide the intensity of development within the Village Districts of Broad Brook and Warehouse Point. This map will be used to evaluate if a Zone Change will improve or detract from the area. The present Sewer Service Map will be eliminated in lieu of this Residential Densities Plan Map. This map also identifies the rural (green) areas, which are remote from infrastructure and have less desirable soils; non-residential areas are identified in grey, and the sewer service area is identified as the white area.
Mr. Chalder noted the moratorium would be lifted June 15th by the adoption of these changes.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES DISCUSSED:
Booklet 10 – Zoning Strategies:
Page 7, Section 20.7. Modifications:
* Resident Paul Anderson, Main Street, Broad Brook, suggested the following revision for the last sentence: Any modification that would significantly alter a modification granted by the Commission shall
be approved by the Commission. require approval of the Commission.
Page 9, Section 8A.5.2 Non-Elderly Occupancy:
* Mr. Krenshaw, 5 Riverview Drive, referenced the following language: “Residential condominiums, residential cooperatives, or other like usages which are not restricted to occupancy by elderly persons.” He felt such language could be left to interpretation as apartments. Town Planner Whitten suggested changing the wording to “not inclusive of apartment communities”; Commissioner Matthews suggested “owner occupied” usages; Mr. Krenshaw felt the Commission could make an affirmative statement for no apartments. No specific
decision with regard to this language was made at this hearing. Chairman Guiliano felt it would be difficult for the Commission to regulate owner occupied units; such a decision should be the responsibility of the association governing the project.
Page 8, Section 8A.5.2d Non-Elderly Occupancy:
* “up to two (2) additional multi-family dwelling units on the tract for each (1) multi-family dwelling unit on the tract that is deed-restricted in perpetuity so as to
be included in the Affordable Housing Appeals List maintained by the State,
and….” Commissioner Matthews requested deletion of this paragraph as East Windsor is currently in excess of the Statutory requirements for affordable housing; he felt East Windsor’s position would allow removal of this language. Mr. Chalder noted the text above gives the Commission the discretion not to give a density bonus; the same language is listed further down the page with regard to Elderly Occupancy. Commissioner Matthews preferred deletion of subsection d; he felt Non-Elderly Occupancy might bring more children into the school
system. Town Planner Whitten noted 80% of the median income level of $72,000 – or $57,700 - is the income qualification for affordable housing. No decision made as to deletion vs. retaining
Page 9. Section 8A.5.3d Elderly Occupancy:
* “up to two (2) additional multi-family dwelling units on the tract for each (1) multi-family dwelling unit on the tract that is deed-restricted in perpetuity so as to be included in the Affordable Housing Appeals List maintained by the State, and….” See discussion under Section 8A.5.2d.
Page 5, Section 20.5 Open Space Requirements:
* In the absence of any specific definition with regard to open space resident Bob Lyke affirmatively referenced the language under subsection c: “The Commission reserved the right to make the final decision on the suitability of open space land and the means of preservation”. Mr. Lyke felt this language would leave the decision regarding suitability up to the Commission rather than developer’s attorneys.
Booklet 11 – Subdivision Strategies:
Page 4 - Modify Streets and Infrastructure Standards (Roadway Widths):
* Commissioner Matthews referenced a slide presented by Mr. Chalder noting that it showed a couple walking along a road. He suggested that if a car were traveling in the direction of the couple walking the car would have to move into the opposite lane to pass. He felt that as a town we’ve said we don’t want sidewalks as an intention to preserve the rural character, but we’ve also found people want to walk. He has a concern that if we go to narrower road widths, as proposed under this section, people
won’t feel comfortable walking on the road.
Mr. Chalder suggested that under this section the Commission is proposing a pavement width of 36’ for minor collector streets; this would include two travel lanes of 12 to 13’, with 5’ shoulders. Speed limits on such streets are generally 35 miles/hour. He indicated that minor local streets are being proposed for a width of 26’, which would provide two travel lanes of 11 to 12’ with a 1 1/2 to 2’ shoulder. Cul-de-sacs serving less than 20 lots are being proposed for a 22’ width. It was noted that the widths for minor collector and minor local roads are the same widths
as are currently carried in the regulations; the width has been added for cul-de-sacs.
Resident Paul Anderson suggested the regulations contain specifics with regard to minimum standards, but the Commissioners are not experts and the Commission’s composition changes frequently. Where is information that informs Commissioners that these are minimum standards; where is the information of the why or not allowing these widths when appropriate? Resident Ed Farrell suggested the Commission is writing specifications as a Bible for the approval process for new subdivisions; the regulations should identify the go or no go issues for approval. He agreed we often don’t have the expertise
necessary, and there are no statutory requirements. Mr. Chalder noted that traffic analyses, which offer comments/recommendations with regard to road widths, are submitted with applications and are available for Commissioners to accept or revise as appropriate.
Stan Paleski, 354 Rye Street, questioned if the issue of reduction of road widths had been reviewed with emergency services staff? Mr. Chalder and Town Planner Whitten noted that all plans are referred to the Town Engineer, Fire Marshal, etc.; recommendations made by town staff is taken into consideration and often adopted by the Planning Commission when approving applications. No changes made to current language.
Chevy Ricketts, 125 South Main Street, cited there are many roads in town where there are no breakdown lanes. Mr. Chalder reiterated the proposed pavement widths, noting there are probably many roads in town that this regulation doesn’t do anything for; it addresses new construction. Assessor Madore noted the Town has no control over the size of the State roads, which is where Ms. Ricketts resides.
Page 7 – 9, Section 7 Open Space Requirements:
* Commissioner Matthews questioned what was the rationale for setting the fee-in- lieu value at 10%; if the Commission needed to use those funds to purchase land elsewhere would it be enough? Mr. Chalder noted that Connecticut General Statute 8.25 sets the 10% of pre-development fee-in-lieu value. He suggested that sometimes the actual land value vs. the perceived land value is different; if the Open Space parcels are separate and disconnected would they be as valuable as connected greenways? He noted the Commission doesn’t have to take a developer’s offer of Open Space; they can decide they want the fee-in-lieu to add to town funds to purchase Open
Resident Al Grant, Melrose, questioned if there are any guidelines for the value
of land set aside in other parts of town? Mr. Chalder suggested the options are 20% of the acreage of a proposed development, or 10% of the pre-development value of the land as a fee-in-lieu of Open Space; it’s up to the Commission to decide if it’s a good deal. The Commission can also take a combination of land and other things. No change due to Statutory requirements.
Page 9, Section 7.6 Exemptions, Subsection 2b:
* “The Commission elects to exempt the proposed subdivision since it will contain affordable housing, as defined herein, equal to twenty percent or more of the total housing to be constructed in such subdivision.” Commissioner Matthews indicated he believes East Windsor is in a good position with regard to affordable housing. He felt a sentence such as this would encourage proposals for additional such projects. Mr. Chalder suggested this language comes from Connecticut General Statutes 8.25. He agreed that East Windsor is above the required 10% but noted the Commission can’t be forced to approve affordable
housing. Commissioner Matthews requested the sentence be deleted.
Page 8, Section 7.4 Dedications Requirements, Subsection 8:
* The Commission
reserved reserves the right to make the final decision on the suitability of open space land and the means of preservation.
Page 8, Section 7.5 Fee in Lieu Requirements, Subsection 1:
* Discussion of the flat fee being $2,000 for 2006. Decision made to leave current language to avoid constant referral to CRCOG.
* Fourth line from the bottom to the end of this paragraph – “…….. based on an appraisal prepared by an appriser paid for by the subdivider. If there is any dispute about the value of the appraisal, the fair market value shall be determined by an appraiser jointly selected by the Commission and the subdivder at the subdivider’s expense.” Appriser should be “appraiser”; the Town Assessor requested the language be change to “licensed appraiser”. This language shall now read: “based on an appraisal prepared by an
appriser licensed appraiser
paid for by the subdivider. If there is any dispute about the value of the appraisal, the fair market value shall be determined by an appraiser licensed appraiser jointly selected by the Commission and the subdivder at the subdivider’s expense.”
Page 9, Section 7.6 Exemptions, Subsection 2b.:
* “the Commission elects to exempt the proposed subdivision since it will contain affordable housing, as defined herein, equal to twenty percent or more of the total housing to be constructed in such subdivision.” Discussion to delete this
paragraph as East Windsor is currently in excess of the Statutory requirements for affordable housing. No decision made as to deletion vs. retaining.
OTHER ADDITIONAL ITEMS OF DISCUSSION:
* When questioned by resident Henry Krenshaw, 5 Riverview Drive, Mr. Chalder confirmed that the Commission has the ability to require a traffic analysis for subdivisions in excess of 20+ units. Mr. Krenshaw suggested a traffic analysis might also be a good idea for Multi-Family Developments Mr. Chalder suggested the Commission could also consider modification of Section 8.A-22 of the Zoning Regulations to require traffic analysis.
Sewer Avoidance Area/Service Service Area:
* Mr. Lyke, Rye Street, questioned that in rewriting the regulations the Commission will no longer be relying on Sewer Avoidance Maps. Mr. Chalder noted he has had experience with other towns that have used Sewer Avoidance Maps to guide their growth; he understood that was the intent for East Windsor, but we’ve recently found that there has been a change in the use of the sewer plant due to the closing of a high use facility. For that reason the sewer plant is no longer operating to full capacity. The Commission is now drawing up its own
map for inclusion in the POCD (the Residential Densities Growth Map) which will assist the Commission to determine development suitability. Mr. Chalder suggested the non-growth areas essentially follow the Sewer Avoidance Area.
Mr. Lyke noted a representative from the WPCA was present this evening; he questioned what would happen to a development that was already approved by the PZC with a condition for an adequate sewer provision? Town Planner Whitten noted that issue has nothing to do with the adoption of these revisions. Paul Anderson, Main Street, also Chairman of the WPCA, reported that the WPCA is working on a property line base map which will identify the existing sewers, and their existing size. The WPCA will be working with the PZC, and a sewer map will be developed. Mr. Anderson noted the DEP has
clarified that the WPCA is the legal authority to determine if a sewer can go in a specific area. There will be a sewer service area, and then the rest of the town. There is a process for exceptions. With regard to prior approved projects they don’t even have information available for them yet; there is no guarantee that they will get, or will not get, sewers. This will be another planning tool which may, or may not, be available in the POCD, but it will be an official map. Mr. Chalder noted that this process provides for a cooperative effort between the WPCA and the PZC.
Mr. Anderson suggested that the map of the OPM is a regional development area; all mapping will agree in the future. There are many financial ramifications for
the town if its map is not in agreement. At some point in time we will have to update the sewer plant and will need financial assistance from the State; it’s more advantageous if the town is in agreement with the OPM map.
Zone Change – Abutter Notification:
* Mr. Lyke questioned if there was anything in the regulations, or any guidelines elsewhere, regarding that abutting landowners be notified of a proposed Zone Change? Mr. Chalder noted that issue wasn’t part of the scope of this project, although the town can do whatever it wants. He noted there is pending legislation – proposed House Bill #52-90 – regarding notification of abutters. Mr. Chalder suggested it’s a more global regulatory issue. He noted there were many tweaks which could be made to the regulations but they are not within the scope of this project.
* Mr. Chalder reiterated that under the Subdivision changes proposed all projects will be required to provide land for sidewalks; if sidewalks are not preferred in the proposed subdivision the Commission may require land elsewhere for a greenway or pedestrian walkway, etc. Commissioner Matthews felt the percentage requirement should be higher. Chairman Guiliano felt the numbers should be reasonable so the developer will want to contribute it to something else; he felt if the numbers were too high the developer will just put in the sidewalks, which may not be what the Commission really wants. Commissioner Matthews suggested he was thinking 50
years down the road; he felt the town would have many more sidewalks. The higher percentage would provide a larger fund for installation. Commissioner Matthews also felt a large part of the trails will be the responsibility of the town rather than the developer. If the residents won’t pay for it it won’t get done. Mr. Chalder suggested that’s the reason for adding money to the Open Space Fund. The Commission is just offering alternatives to the question of yes or no for sidewalks.
* Resident Ed Farrell noted that with regard to specifications whenever you have a proposed plan and there are conflicts where you need more information you drag out the Planner’s Dictionary; what will that tell you? Mr. Chalder suggested it’s a comprehensive reference resource.
* Mr. Farrell questioned the lack of engineering or building standards in the proposed regulations. Chairman Guiliano suggested this Commission doesn’t deal with building standards; that would be the purview of the Building
Department. Mr. Chalder indicated that planning is a use specification/standards
* Paul Guarino, 258 Rye Street: felt the Zoning Board is well staffed and well qualified on any of these issues, and their standards.
Town Planner Whitten noted this information had been referred to CRCOG. She has received a referral from CRCOG dated 4/21/2006 noting they are in favor of these proposals.
MOTION: To CLOSE the Public Hearing on the proposed changes to the Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations, Plan of Conservation and Development and proposed Zoning Map. (As proposed and referenced in Booklet 10, Zoning Strategies, as amended; Booklet 11, Subdivision Strategies; Booklet 12, POCD Amendments, dated March 7, 2006; and Proposed Zoning Map.)
Gowdy moved/Rodrigue seconded/VOTE: Unanimous
MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 8:22 P. M.
Gowdy moved/Rodrigue seconded/VOTE: Unanimous
Peg Hoffman, Planning and Zoning Commission Recording Secretary