TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Public Hearing #1529
May 27, 2008
***** Draft Document – Subject to Commission Approval *****
The Meeting was called to order in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT. at 7:04 P. M. by Chairman Ouellette.
ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM:
A quorum was established as four Regular Members (Devanney, Farmer, Gowdy, and Ouellette) and two Alternate Members (Thurz and Tyler) were present. Alternate Member Matthews was absent; the Commission carries one vacancy at present. In accordance with the sequence of rotation Chairman 0ullette noted Alternate Member Thurz would sit in on the Continued Hearing for the Application for a Text Amendment proposed by Southern Auto Auction; Commissioner Tyler would sit in on other Items of Business. Also present was Town Planner Whitten.
ADDED AGENDA ITEMS: None
RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:
Chairman Ouellette noted receipt of the following Application:
1. Application of Paul Guarino for a 1-lot Resubdivision of property located on the west side of Rye Street, owned by Margaret and Jason Ellsworth and Elizabeth Ciorogan. [R-3 zone; Map 35, Block 42, Lots 1, 9 & 16].
(NO LEGAL NOTICE THIS EVENING)
PERFORMANCE BONDS – ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE: Stepping Stone Drive – Road Acceptance:
Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business. He noted receipt of memo dated March 19, 2008 from Town Engineer Norton citing no exception to the plans for Stepping Stone Drive as presented to him. Town Planner Whitten noted Town Engineer Norton had made some comments to the engineer initially but all those issues have been addressed. This proposal is a referral to the Board of Selectmen for acceptance of Stepping Stone Drive.
MOTION: To ACCEPT THE REQUEST for Fairway Estates Subdivision for road acceptance for Stepping Stone Drive and make a referral to the Board of Selectmen to send acceptance of Stepping Stone Drive to a Town Meeting.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
CONTINUED HEARING: Southern Auto Sales, Inc. – Text Amendments – to allow Inventory Storage Areas in B-2, M-1, TZ5 & A-1 zoning districts. Amend: Sec. 203, Sec. 402 and Sec. 502; and new Sec. 815. (Deadline to close hearing 6/17/08):
Chairman Ouellette read the Hearing description. Appearing to discuss this Application was Attorney T. Mark Barbieri, representing the Applicant, Southern Auto Sales, Inc.; Don Poland, of Connecticut Planning & Development, LLC; and Jay Ussery, of J. R. Russo & Associates. Also available in the audience was Rick Nadeau of Southern Auto Sales, Inc.
Mr. Poland re-opened discussion by noting at the previous Meeting the Commission had requested to see a map showing areas which would be subject to development under this proposal for a Text Amendment. Mr. Ussery explained that the map before the Commission is a map prepared by Southern Auto Sales (SAS) for the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) which shows zone designations; they had added TZ5, M-1 and A-1 parcels that would fit the Text Amendment as drafted today. They have not shown every potential parcel as some - the High School which is located within a TZ5 Zone, or the Balch parcels on the west side of Route 5 which are primarily flood plain areas - would not be available for development. The map shows parcels from North Road down to the South Windsor line, and to Ellington to the east.
Mr. Ussery reviewed the various parcels shown on the map, starting with parcels presently owned by SAS on South Main Street, Stoughton Road, and Phelps Road. He continued his review of parcels, beginning with those toward the South Windsor line: 1) parcels on the south side of the corner of Abbe Road zoned M-1, presently in agriculture, 2) Phelps Road - a) the Army Reserve Center zoned A (but not probable for development), b) parcel to the east owned presently by SAS, previously denied a zone change, 3) South Main Street - Acme Auto zoned M-1, 4) South Main Street - parcel owned by Al Rodrigue zoned M, some already developed into the self-storage facility, some M-1 land remains undeveloped, [Mr. Ussery noted a zone change had been approved on this parcel but it was never filed; Town
Planner Whitten indicated then the zone reverts back to that prior to the zone change request], 5) land within the Industrial Park on Craftsman Road through to Newberry Road, the parcel containing the former mushroom factory, 86 acres zoned M-1, 6) Newberry Road, parcel owned by Steve Dearborn, currently in agriculture but zoned M-1, 7) on Main Street, parcel to the north of the SportsWorld, parcel zoned M-1, 8) North Road, large parcel across from Shoham Road, 70+/- acres, behind W. B. Mason’s Warehouse, zoned M-1 but contains significant wetlands, 9) North Road, another parcel to the east of the parcel previously discussed and running up to the Clynch parcel zoned M-1 but also contains significant wetlands, 10) North Road, parcel to east of self-storage facility and runs up to the previous Chester’s Market parcel, contains 70+/- acres and a home, also contains wetlands 11) North Road, the Bass parcel located across the street from the previously discussed
parcel, abuts B-2 zoned land and has frontage on a State highway, also contains significant wetlands.
Chairman Ouellette noted some of the parcels described, those in the Industrial Park, are not located on State highways. Mr. Poland cited references on page 3 and page 4 of the Modification Option of the Proposed Text Amendment submitted to the Commission this evening. Under Section 502 of the regulations the Inventory Holding Area would be allowed as a permitted use in a B-2, M-1, and TZ5 Zone, but the requirement for approval under a Special Use Permit under the TZ5 Zone requires additional stipulations, but in a B-2 and M-1 Zones auto uses are already allowed; if the Inventory Holding Areas were allowed in those zones the additional stipulations would not be required. It was suggested the map provides a visual concept of where the text amendment would apply.
Chairman Ouellette questioned the harm in pursuing a zone change to B-2 for the parcels along Route 5 near the South Windsor line? Mr. Poland indicated those parcels are not available at this time, they are in private ownership; for a zone change amendment the property owner must sign off on the application for zone change. The text amendment applies to all A-1, B-2, and TZ5 Zones, so the signatures are not required on the application. A second difference is that the properties mentioned by Chairman Ouellette are not available and are not in SAS control. A third difference, which goes back to the zone change rejection for Phelps Road, was there was a concern for the amount of B-2 zoned land and how it would be used if SAS wasn’t there any longer. To address those concerns Mr.
Poland suggested they are giving the Commission this alternative. He indicated they heard many concerns at the last meeting from the Commission and the public regarding opening Phelps Road up all the way. Consideration of those comments, and review of the wetlands issues, led them to see a point at which this proposal might not fit, so they have written a modification to the text amendment to address those concerns. Mr. Poland referenced page 3 of his Modification Option document, noting the Commission has the discretion to approve, deny, or modify the text amendment proposal. The modification includes revised language which requires the locations to be restricted to parcels along Route 5, South Main Street, and 4100’ from Route 5 along Phelps Road. This modification drops out Route 140/North Road.
Chairman Ouellette queried that if the amendment were adopted any parcel beyond the 4100’ could come in for a zone change to B-2 and could become an Inventory Holding Area? Mr. Poland indicated there is nothing saying a truck terminal couldn’t be approved for the center of Broad Brook; the Commission would have to make that decision. Mr. Poland indicated he couldn’t see this applicant coming in for any parcels deeper than the current Phelps Road parcel; the test track goes back about that distance. Beyond that the Winn property becomes a swamp and is wet. Chairman Ouellette questioned the properties with frontage along Phelps Road which are zoned A-1. Mr. Poland suggested those are dwelling units, which he believed were all in private ownership; he suggested the
Commission may have heard from many of those people at the last meeting.
Commissioner Tyler questioned why they would open up many large parcels arbitrarily rather than propose a zone change? Mr. Poland suggested if we go back and talk about the original zone change which was proposed by SAS last year it was rejected, and during that hearing and at other times they have continuously heard about more and more B-2 zoned land and the concern for its uses. This offers an alternative. Regarding the A-1 and TZ5 parcels their development is required under a Special Use Permit and Site Plan, which requires a Public Hearing. The M-1 auto uses are already permitted, and the Inventory Holding Areas are allowed loosely. Commissioner Tyler then clarified that the applicant is really looking for Inventory Holding Areas in TZ5 and A-1 Zones under Special Use Permit
Applications. Mr. Poland suggested that would allow them to come back with site specific plans, etc.
Chairman Ouellette cited the underlying rationale that at some time in the future the property could be an Inventory Holding Area but it could revert back to agriculture; if the zone is changed to B-2 that wouldn’t be the case.
Commissioner Thurz suggested that anyone else could come in and request these parcels for Inventory Holding Areas. Mr. Poland agreed, but noted they would have to be someone who is already operating an auto use. He reiterated that they have highlighted parcels that have the potential to be used in this way, but there are other pieces, such as the Balch properties, that have significant flood zones and are not likely to be used like this. He clarified that the map is not showing only the parcels SAS is interested in; it could be anyone. Commissioner Tyler suggested a concern is that the public have input to major land use changes. Mr. Poland suggested that’s why they have made proposed the text amendment in this way.
Commissioner Devanney liked limiting the proposal to just South Main Street. Mr. Poland suggested the Commission has the ability to make recommendations. They could stay with the language 100’ frontage on a State highway, then could add some language limiting it on Phelps Road. Commissioner Farmer questioned why limitations would include no A-1 property? Commissioner Devanney suggested she didn’t want to do that if the A-1 parcel were on a highway. Attorney Barbieri felt there would be traffic concerns if the parcels were on other roads. Commissioner Farmer indicated he liked limiting the potential parcels; he felt SAS was interested in that area. Attorney Barbieri noted SAS doesn’t want to go deeper; north to south works best for them.
Commissioner Farmer questioned that there was no other A-1 land abutting a State highway in Broad Brook? Mr. Poland noted it must be adjacent to B-2, M-1 or TZ5 land, must be a minimum of 6 acres, and have 100’ frontage on a State highway; that takes out the east side of town. Mr. Poland indicated he is the consultant on this proposal but as a planner he wouldn’t feel it was an appropriate proposal on that side of town.
Chairman Ouellette opened discussion to the audience:
Sonia Morell, 93 Phelps Road: referenced the parcel on Phelps Road now owned by SAS, she reported the original owners sold it to George Cully, and was told it would be housing for the elderly. The day George Cully purchased the property for $315,000 (+/-) Phelps Road Properties bought that property for $495,000 (+/-), so George Cully made $180,000 (+/-) for one day. Phelps Road Properties then quit claimed the property to SAS. Mrs. Morell felt the elderly ladies were taken advantage of. The text amendment being for the benefit of the town is hogwash; they targeted that property from the get-go.
Attorney Barbieri suggested the purchase was a self-defense move on the part of SAS. Housing on SAS’s borders isn’t beneficial to them or the others. The purchase of the Cully parcel was a self-defense move on the part of SAS; it wasn’t a set up, and isn’t a part of this hearing.
Robert Williams, 86 Phelps Road: felt that the text amendment and converting that land would set a precedent for industrial land on Phelps Road; the 4100’ mentioned tonight is almost a mile. Approving this tonight would encourage future requests for contiguous expansion. Phelps Road is a nice country road now, and that wouldn’t be the case if this happened. It would interfere with the
rural character of East Windsor, and reduces the property values because of the car alarms, and the barbed wire fences. It would result in 33 acres of paved parking lots which would hold many cars.
Mr. Poland noted that the SAS parcel at 161 South Main Street extends back 4100’ so it would be extending the current use of that parcel.
Mr. Williams suggested Phelps Road is only 1 1/2 miles long, so this would go back more than half of the road. Mr. Poland cited the existing SAS use is in this area and they have a test track which extends back into this area, and that is approximately the same depth as the 4100’ line they chose to stop on Phelps Road. This in conformance with the existing use and there is no desire to go beyond that.
Commissioner Tyler suggested it would be easy for the people on Phelps Road to control SAS’s use if they don’t sell the property. When the property comes up for sale it’s the right of the property owner to sell, and make a profit. If the property comes up for sale buy it. He can’t fault SAS for buying it and developing it as every other property owner has the right. If the people don’t want it developed by SAS, or anyone else, then don’t sell it, and if you want it to remain agriculture you need to find someone to farm it, because without the farmer there is no farm.
Chairman Ouellette questioned the rationale for denying the zone change application (proposed by SAS) on Phelps Road previously? Commissioner Gowdy seemed to recall that Winn filed an Intervener status. Attorney Barbieri didn’t recall the specifics, but felt the intent was to stay off Phelps Road. Mr. Ussery felt there was a concern regarding exiting and entering on Phelps Road, and the concern for more B-2 land, and what happens if SAS isn’t there any longer, and what would it become? Mr. Ussery suggested that has always been the concern with all the zone changes SAS has come before the Commission with, and is the reason for them drafting this text amendment as proposed.
Robert Williams, 86 Phelps Road: felt that with the zoning rules someone can play around with a few words and can get what they want. Chairman Ouellette clarified that the potential is there for an applicant to come before the Commission and make a proposal, and it’s up to the Commission to make an informed decision.
Commissioner Thurz questioned how the old mushroom factory fit in with this proposal? Town Planner Whitten suggested the owner of the mushroom factory came in for a subdivision application, which was approved. She noted someone would have to come before the Commission for Site Plan approval, or a Special Use Permit under an A-1 or TZ5 Zone.
MOTION: To CLOSE the Public Hearing on the Application of Southern Auto Sales, Inc. – Text Amendments – to allow Inventory Storage Areas in B-2, M-1, TZ5 & A-1 zoning districts. Amend: Sec. 203, Sec. 402 and Sec. 502; and new Sec. 815.
Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Chairman Ouellette queried the Commission on their preference for acting on this proposal this evening or putting action on a future agenda?
Commissioner Farmer felt comfortable acting tonight; the proposal makes sense. They haven’t done anything on Phelps Road, and the Commission isn’t giving them the ok to put a parking area on Phelps Road. It does open up properties on Route 5. Chairman Ouellette liked Commissioner Devanney’s suggestion to limit the area with potential for development. Commissioner Devanney felt the proposal should benefit as many people as possible. Commissioner Tyler felt the worse thing that would happen with the limitation is properties stay agriculture but it allows Inventory Holding Areas. If you include the 4100’ restriction any property beyond that an owner can come in for a zone change to B-2, if you don’t include the 4100’ it stays agricultural until it comes
in for an Inventory Holding Area, and if that doesn’t work it stays agriculture. Commissioner Tyler felt if the restriction wasn’t included then there could be someone that wants to go beyond that 4100’. Chairman Ouellette indicated he was not in favor of anything on Route 140; he isn’t comfortable with anything on Phelps Road, especially after hearing from the public. He would rather delete Phelps Road completely, but felt anything along Route 5 and the other areas is a good idea.
Town Planner Whitten suggested that would close off the potential for development on Phelps Road, but not if they have access on Route 5. Chairman Ouellette suggested they could come in for a zone change. Commissioner Gowdy cited the Commission’s concern for more B-2 zoned land. Commissioner Devanney felt if the proposal was limited to Route 5 and they have access to Route 5 then the “restriction” language regarding Phelps Road wouldn’t be needed. Town Planner Whitten suggested it would further limit it to property along Route 5, but it wouldn’t eliminate the applicant’s desires completely because it connects to the property on Route 5. If you deleted Phelps Road completely it eliminates the potential for that development. It would not
eliminate the possibility of the applicant coming back because they own other land along Route 5 which abuts the Phelps Road parcel. Commissioner Tyler questioned if the Commission would then be saying the only development allowable on Phelps Road is residential? Town Planner Whitten indicated that unless they meet the other criteria nothing would be developed along Phelps Road; it’s current zoning is reflective of residential and agricultural, but someone could change the zone in the future. Chairman Ouellette questioned that if the text amendment were approved and the person who wants the Inventory Holding Area isn’t SAS, yet they want an Inventory Holding Area, they are not eligible? Town Planner Whitten replied that if another applicant doesn’t have land on Phelps Road already they couldn’t do that. She noted someone could come in for a zone change, and someone could come if another text amendment.
Commissioner Gowdy suggested he could go along with a limitation on Phelps Road; Commissioner Devanney concurred, noting SAS still has an opportunity via Route 5. Chairman Ouellette felt that didn’t eliminate the potential for an Inventory Holding Area adjacent to Phelps Road. Town Planner Whitten suggested that would be an expansion of what’s there now. Chairman Ouellette indicated that was what he wasn’t comfortable with; he isn’t in favor of this text amendment as it relates to Phelps Road but is in favor of it as it relates to Route 5. Town Planner Whitten suggested some of the properties of concern on Phelps Road have significant wetlands; development couldn’t go back very far with a zone change or a text amendment. Commissioner Gowdy noted he
originally thought this proposal was spot zoning for SAS but they are opening it up for other properties, and the text amendment helps the town. He felt it was a win/win situation. Commissioner Gowdy suggested if eliminating Phelps Road makes people feel better about the proposal it doesn’t stop them from coming back. He felt the Commission must weigh the proposal for the bigger good of the community. He noted as Commissioner Tyler said the people who owned that property should have kept it agriculture, and people should have the ability to sell their property if they want to.
Chairman Ouellette queried Commissioner Devanney if any of the proposal was acceptable to her? Commissioner Devanney suggested she felt better knowing the text amendment would help other property owners, although she had nothing against SAS. Commissioner Devanney indicated she isn’t concerned with limiting Phelps Road; SAS still has access on Route 5. Commissioner Farmer indicated he was one of the people telling SAS they were gobbling up land but if you look at the property affected you wouldn’t have properties going to B-2 now. He is now concerned with gobbling up other properties on Phelps Road; this text amendment is ok in theory. Commissioner Gowdy noted the properties reflected on the map are the only properties affected because of the criteria; they
couldn’t come in with a proposal for Broad Brook. Commissioner Tyler indicated he didn’t see Phelps Road as being threatened; there are huge pieces of Phelps Road that are agriculture. He noted he has always been an advocate of allowing people to do what they want with their property, and if Mrs. Morell doesn’t want to plant flowers and Mr. Dingus doesn’t want to raise cows SAS is an option and housing is another. Commissioner Tyler suggested he isn’t opposed to closing it off at Phelps Road but he felt that might cause more problems in the future than the Commission realizes; he would prefer to let the landowners decide what to do with their property. He felt the text amendment is fine; he likes opening up areas of town to other landowners. Commissioner Tyler felt the bigger SAS gets it attracts more auto uses, which probably isn’t a bad idea. Commissioner Thurz liked the idea of not changing
property to B Zones; he liked limiting development on Phelps Road.
Chairman Ouellette felt that even if the Commission tinkered with the language there is still the potential for Inventory Holding Areas. Discussion followed on various language options.
MOTION: To TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
The Commission RECESSED at 8:22 P.M. and RECONVENED at 8:32 P. M.
Discussion continued again regarding language options. Chairman Ouellette clarified that although Phelps Road looks like a scenic road it is a State highway designed to handle traffic. Discussion continued further.
MOTION TO APPROVE the application of Southern Auto Sales, Inc. requesting a text amendment for the inclusion of “inventory holding areas” in a new Section 815 and associated modifications to sections 203 and 402. Text amendment would allow Inventory Storage Areas in B-2, M-1, TZ5 & A-1 zoning districts, and located on a state designated highway with over 100 feet of lot frontage but excluding Phelps Road.
Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/
VOTE: In Favor: Devanney/Gowdy
Abstained: No one
REASONS FOR DECISION: Chairman Ouellette indicated he was not in favor of the proposal for Inventory Holding Areas in areas adjacent to Phelps Road at this time. Commissioner Gowdy indicated he was in favor of the proposal because it opens up opportunities for other landowners for using their properties; he didn’t see the proposal as being detrimental to Phelps Road. Commissioner Devanney felt the proposal was an opportunity for use of properties near the highways and by eliminating Phelps Road it eliminates many of the public’s concerns. Commissioner Farmer suggested when the properties where depicted on the map and the properties being considered can be seen then if an applicant wants to do that they should be coming before the Commission for a B zone.
Commissioner Thurz felt the zone change was more appropriate.
OLD BUSINESS: Southern Auto Sales, Inc. – Modification of Approved Site Plan to allow construction of a 792+/- square foot addition at 187 South Main Street, owned by LCC Partnership. [B-2 & A-1 Zones; Map 34, Block 22, Lots 4, 52 & 53]. (Deadline for decision 5/29/08):
Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business. Town Planner Whitten noted the Applicant is still working on this proposal; they have the ability to request an extension.
MOTION: To grant the 30 day extension to 7/24/2008 for the Application of Southern Auto Sales, Inc. – Modification of Approved Site Plan to allow construction of a 792+/- square foot addition at 187 South Main Street, owned by LCC Partnership. [B-2 & A-1 Zones; Map 34, Block 22, Lots 4, 52 & 53].
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
BUSINESS MEETING/(1) Discussion – Sewer Service Area:
Town Planner Whitten noted she met with the WPCA to discuss the map Commissioner Farmer presented with highlighted parcels. Town Planner Whitten reviewed each parcel with the Commission, noting they are comprised of either 1) open space parcels (perhaps subject to transfer of development rights), 2) parcels - including Town owned parcels - already on or adjacent to sewer lines for which sewer assessment fees have already been paid (even though the parcels may be located within an A-2 [flood] zone and/or contain steep slopes), 3) State open space (Flaherty Field Trials), 4) private conservation easements or man-made wetlands provided by SAS, 5) land subject to the sewer line provided by The Mansions. Town Planner Whitten noted the existence of wetlands has not
excluded some parcels from inclusion in the Sewer Service Area.
Town Planner Whitten noted there are perhaps three parcels the WPCA is willing to review regarding re-inclusion into the Sewer Service Area. Commissioner Tyler felt land from The Mansions to the pump station installed by that developer should be added back into the Sewer Service Area; Town Planner Whitten noted that has been done, with the exception of A-2 zoned land. Commissioner Tyler also felt parcels on Harrington Road, Bridle Path Lane, and Rice Road should be included because they could tie into The Mansions pump station if necessary. Town Planner Whitten noted there will be more changes when the WPCA goes to Public Hearing.
Chairman Ouellette noted the WPCA is looking for a general consensus that they are going in the right direction, at least for now. He referenced the draft memo prepared by Town Planner Whitten. Town Planner Whitten noted that generally this is in keeping with the maps on file, however, she plans on readdressing the OPM Map in 2009, at which time this Commission will probably return to the WPCA for adjustments.
Commissioner Tyler suggested the WPCA has been advised there should be a question on the ballot if people want their property included in the Sewer Service Area or not. Town Planner Whitten noted people have an opportunity to speak at the WPCA Public Hearing. Commissioner Tyler cited earlier comments that people spoke 20 years ago as to what they wanted to be the Sewer Service Area; he felt the town has changed in that time and people are more informed. They should have the opportunity to comment again. Commissioner Thurz felt if people are aware of the connection fee they won’t want to pay that; they want the sewer free. Commissioner Tyler noted it will cost people significantly more than the connection fee if their septic system fails. Commissioner Farmer requested
that more wetlands be included in the Sewer Avoidance Area, and any properties currently in the Sewer Service Area should remain in that category. Town Planner Whitten revised her draft memo to include the following sentence: “It is the consensus of the PZC that all wetlands and watercourses should be excluded/removed from the Sewer Service Area and any property currently delineated within the Sewer Service Area should remain in the Sewer Service Area.”
MOTION: To APPROVE the draft memo to Kevin Leslie of the WPCA from Laurie Whitten, Town Planner as written – with revisions made at this meeting.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
BUSINESS MEETING/(2) Fee Schedule - Tabled.
BUSINESS MEETING/(3) Correspondence:
1) Town Planner Whitten noted the East Windsor Economic Development Commission has scheduled a workshop meeting on Thursday, June 5th at 6:00 p.m. at Scout Hall to discuss community development.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES/May 13, 2008:
MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1528 dated May 13, 2008 as written.
Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
SIGNING OF MYLARS/PLANS, MOTIONS:
1. Emil Demikat - Rockville Road.
MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 9:21 P. M.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission