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September 9, 2008 Minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION


Public Hearing #1535
September 9, 2008


***** Draft Document - Subject to Commission Review *****



The Meeting was called to order by Chairman Ouellette at 7:05 P. M. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

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 currently carries one vacancy for a Regular Member.  Chairman Ouellette noted Alternate Commissioner Thurz would sit in on decisions/votes this evening.  Also present was Town Planner Whitten.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:             None.

RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:

Chairman Ouellette acknowledged receipt of the following applications:

1.      Application of Daniel M. Bell for a 1-lot subdivision and Special Use Permit/Rear Lot at 228 Scantic Road, owned by Eileen Bell.  [A-1 zone;  Map 34, Block 22, Lot 27]

2.      Application of Leslie J. Hickey for a Temporary Liquor Permit for one-day wine tasting event to be held on October 11, 2008 from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. at 149 North Road, owned by Patrick Soucy. [B-2 zone;  Map 8, Block 16, Lot 27]

3.      Application of Southern Auto Sales, Inc. for Modification of Approved Site Plan to allow construction of a 2,304 sq. ft. building addition at 205 South Main Street, owned by LCC Partnership.  [B-2 & A-1 zones;  Map 34, Block 22, Lot 4]

LEGAL NOTICE:

The following Legal Notice, which appeared in the Journal Inquirer on Thursday, August 28, 2008 and Thursday, September 4, 2008, was read by Chairman Ouellette:

    1.  Proposed Text Amendment to Section 810 Flood Hazard Regulations.

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE:   The Bank of Western Massachusetts - Request from J. R. Russo & Associates for one-year extension of the Site Plan Approval for 49 Prospect Hill Road (previous extension expires on 10/10/08):

Chairman Ouellette read the description of the Item of Business.  He noted the current extension expires on October 10, 2008.

Town Planner Whitten reported the bank may be going through mergers; she’s not sure this branch will be built but the Applicant would like to retain the opportunity to build.

MOTION: To APPROVE THE 30 DAY EXTENSION FOR A ONE YEAR EXTENSION THROUGH OCTOBER 10, 2009 for The Bank of Western Massachusetts - Request from J. R. Russo & Associates for one-year extension of the Site Plan Approval for 49 Prospect Hill Road .

Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

PRESENTATION:  HomeConnecticut Presentation By David Finke:  The HOME Connecticut Statute Public Act 07-4, Sec. 33, 38-49:

Mr. Finke addressed the Commission to describe the HOME Connecticut Statute which helps towns that want to create more housing options for public servants, such as fire and police personnel, teachers, or the elderly, etc., and to get State help to create that housing via the issuance of grants to perform marketing studies.  Rather than being reactive to a developer’s proposal Mr. Finke suggested under the HOME Connecticut Statute the town is the one to decide if they need such housing, to determine the location for the project, and the amount and type of housing to be built.  The town creates an over-lay zone, which allows higher density for this type of project than would normally be allowed; the project guarantees 1 out of 5 units are available for people making 80% of the area (East Windsor’s) median income - 4 of the 5 units are sold at the market rate, while the 5th is an affordable unit. These are not units for unskilled, uneducated individuals. Under the incentive program the town receives $2,000/single family unit, and $5,000/multi-family unit at the time the building permit is issued.  In response to Commissioner Farmer’s question as to what the towns are doing with that money Mr. Finke reported that in many cases the town is making infrastructure improvements; in one case the town purchased a new fire truck.  

Mr. Finke reported $50,000 in grant money is available to perform a market study to determine the feasibility of creating the affordable housing.   There are no strings attached to the grants; if the town doesn’t proceed with the project the town doesn’t have to return the grant money.  To date 13 town have applied for the grants; 8 have been approved, including Darien, Simsbury, New Britain, Ledyard, Old Saybrook, and Oxford.  

Grant applications have been approved within 4 weeks of submission.  To apply for a grant a town needs approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the legislative body of the town; OPM comes out to review the site; no grants have been denied to date.  One town built 300 units, which translates to $1.2 million to the town in incentive money.  

Many towns are doing in-fill units, which are typically built within the town center which benefits the merchants as well as the residents.  Mr. Finke suggested the State of Connecticut wants towns to create housing.  Connecticut has lost many people to other states; this is a loss of the labor pool and the eventual loss of jobs.  

Town Planner Whitten questioned the process for applying for the grant?   Mr. Finke directed her to the OPM website.  He suggested there is really no risk to the town, you get the money to do the study, and then you choose to go ahead with a project, or not.  The Statute allows mixed use housing; if East Windsor doesn’t allow that this program would allow the mixed use in the over-lay zone.  Town Planner Whitten questioned if the money could go to a consultant?   Mr. Finke reported many towns are doing marketing studies.  

Commissioner Thurz questioned what towns surrounding East Windsor are applying?   Mr. Finke reported Tolland, Coventry, Colchester, Enfield, Windsor Locks, Bloomfield - all are interested; Stonington is considering this tonight.  Many towns are applying that are situated around the rail line.  Commissioner Farmer suggested many developers don’t want to build affordable housing; how does the town get the developer to buy into this program?  Mr. Finke reported the State included the builders in the steering committee when they created this Statute.   The thought was that if 4 out of 5 of the units are available at the market rate then they should be able to offer the 5th unit at the lower affordable rate.   Mr. Finke reiterated that the Commission must decide if there are places in town where these units can be built, locations where the soils can handle the density, but the town gets to make those decisions.

NEW HEARING: Proposed Text Amendment to Section 810 Flood Hazard Regulations:

Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business.   Joining the Commission this evening were Karen Michaels and Art Christens, of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Town Planner Whitten introduced Ms. Michaels and Mr. Christens, noting they have agreed to come before the Commission to answer questions and present information regarding the flood regulations based on FEMA requirements.  They have assisted the Commission with wording to make the Town’s regulations comply with the national regulations; Town Planner Whitten noted we are presenting the information tonight for the purposes of adoption of the revised regulations.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned that if someone went to the other 168 communities in Connecticut the language for East Windsor is the same as for the other towns?   Ms. Michaels reported that would be true for the most part.  They looked at the town’s ordinances or regulations; they are looking to assure that whatever is in place conforms to

the minimum standards.  If something needs to be revised they advise the town and offer suggestions on standard language.    Mr. Christens suggested they offer suggestions but the way the towns handle the regulations is up to them; Ms. Michael noted the spirit of the regulations must remain the same.

Ms. Michaels and Mr. Christens noted that the flood regulations haven’t changed, but new maps acquired through better technology and mapping methods have been created.  Chairman Ouellette questioned what would happen if there was a big problem with a town not adopting the revised regulations?   Ms. Michaels indicated if the town doesn’t choose to adopt the FEMA standards then FEMA wouldn’t approve, the flood insurance policy owners wouldn’t be able to renew their flood policies and if someone sold their structures a new buyer coming in with a mortgage on the property wouldn’t be able to go through the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase insurance - they would have to go through a private agency. It would be questionable as to how FEMA would respond in an emergency, and failure to adopt these regulations would affect future grant money for a community.  

Commissioner Farmer raised the question of grandfathering existing properties; he felt the regulations should relate to new construction.  Commissioner Tyler felt grandfathering should be an option as well.  Discussion continued for some time regarding the following issues:

o       defining various definitions
o       reconstruction of a loss must be up to current building codes rather than the codes in effect at original construction
o       consideration of the definition of substantial improvements
o       a structure is considered to be within a flood zone if any portion of the structure is within the defined zone
o       new maps better define the location of the 100 year flood plain due to better topographic mapping methods
o       insurers advisement to customers in flood zones with offer of “preferred risk rates”
o       appeal process for dispute over assignment of location to a flood zone is made through FEMA who would generate a “determination letter”.

Chairman Ouellette questioned if Ms. Michaels and Mr. Christensen felt the proposed language was appropriate?   Ms. Michaels and Mr. Christensen concurred, but offered the following language revisions (deletions appear as struckout text):

Ø       Section 810.9 PROVISIONS FOR FLOOD HAZARD REDUCTION, subsection b - Specific Standards, item 7.  Portion of Structure in Flood Zone:  If any portion of a structure lies within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), the entire structure is considered to be in the SFHA.  The entire structure must meet the construction requirements of the flood zone.  The structure includes any attached additions, garages, decks, sunrooms, or any other structure attached  

to the main structure.  Decks or porches  that extend into a more restrictive flood             zone will require the entire structure to meet the standards of the more restrictive            zone.

Ø       Section 810.9 PROVISIONS FOR FLOOD HAZARD REDUCTION, subsection b - Specific Standards, item 8.  Structures in Two Flood Zones:  Ms. Michaels and Mr. Christens felt the modifications made to item 7 allow the deletion of the complete item 8.

Ø       Section 810.9 PROVISIONS FOR FLOOD HAZARD REDUCTION, subsection a - General Standards, item 10:  The Commission considered this section referenced new construction.

Chairman Ouellette queried the audience for comments; no one requested to speak.

MOTION: To CLOSE THE PUBLIC HEARING on the Application for Proposed Text Amendment to Section 810 Flood Hazard Regulations.

Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

MOTION: To APPROVE the amendments to Chapter 810, the Flood Hazard Regulations as written and modified to:

Effective Date:

The proposed change shall become effective once filed on the Land Records.

Conditions:

1.  A copy of the final motion and text amendment shall be filed in the Office of the Town Clerk on the effective date by the applicant.  Said amendment shall bear the signatures of the Chairman and Secretary of the Commission, and the approval and effective date of the amendment.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

MOTION: TO TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

The Commission RECESSED at 8:29 p.m. and RECONVENED at 8:35 p.m.

Chairman Ouellette noted the Public Hearing on NRT Realty was expected to be rather lengthy; he suggested the Commission consider going out of the Agenda order and take the item under OTHER BUSINESS first.

MOTION: TO GO OUT OF ORDER to take OTHER BUSINESS:  Leslie J. Hickey- Temporary Liquor Permit for one-day wine tasting event to be held on October 11, 2008 from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. at 149 North Road, owned by Patrick Soucy.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

OTHER BUSINESS:  Leslie J. Hickey - Temporary Liquor Permit for one-day wine tasting event to be held on October 11, 2008 from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. at 149 North Road, owned by Patrick Soucy.

Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business.   Appearing to discuss the Application was Leslie J. Hickey.  

Mr. Hickey reported the proposal is for a charity event for the Hal Kreske Foundation in East Windsor, which was later described as a continuation of the charity work of the late Hal Kreske (a/k/a Santa Claus) who donated toys and other goods to needy families in East Windsor at Christmas.  Mr. Leslie reported they will take over the liquor store from 3 to 10 for the wine tasting, the age limit for serving the wine is 21, there will be one entrance, and people must stay inside the store for the tasting, tasting will end at 9.   Live entertainment - a two piece band  - will perform outside in the parking lot.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned if there were any residences nearby that might be disturbed by the entertainment?  It was felt the nearest residence was 800 yards up Mullen Road, and other residences are across the street near Bassdale Plaza.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned if the Fire Marshal, the Building Inspector, and the Police have approved this event?  Mr. Hickey indicated they will hire an off-duty police officer for the event.

Town Planner Whitten reported the only reason Mr. Hickey is appearing before the Commission is because he needs a Temporary Liquor Permit.

MOTION: To APPROVE the Application of  Leslie J. Hickey for a Temporary Liquor Permit for one-day wine tasting event to be held on October 11, 2008 from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. at 149 North Road, owned by Patrick Soucy.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

NEW HEARING:  NRT Realty, LLC - Site Plan Approval and Special Use Permit for 140,000 sq. ft. retail facility with 33,000 sq. ft. outdoor garden center and associated parking located on the south side of Bridge Street, owned by Joseph N. Lata, Jr., Debra A. Morel and Anthony & Dorothy M. Dimastrantonio.  [B-2 Zone; Map 1, Block 12, Lots 4, 8. 9, 10 & 11].  (Deadline to close hearing 9/16/08):


Chairman Ouellette read the Hearing description.  Appearing to discuss this Application was Attorney T. Mark Barbieri, representing the Applicant, NRT Realty, LLC.; Robert Trigg, owner of NRT Realty, LLC.; Joseph Lata and his wife, owners of the primary parcels, and their attorney, Paul Smith; Tony Dimastrantonio, owner of a second parcel, and his attorney, Louis Flynn; Jay Ussery and Dana Steel, of J. R. Russo & Associates, professional engineers; Donald Poland, planning consultant; and Scott Hesketh, traffic engineer.  Not present was the owner of the third parcel, Debra A. Morel.  

Mr. Steel opened discussion by reviewing items noted for further research/presentation from the last meeting, which include:  1)  lighting and shielding of lighting; 2)  landscaping and screening of  retaining wall; 3)  change of grade of retaining wall; and 4)  parking analysis relative to other towns in which Home Depot or Lowes stores are operating.

With regard to the parking analysis Mr. Steel noted the information was incomplete at the previous meeting.  The regulations for East Windsor require 5 parking spaces/1,000 square foot of building area; the regulations also allow the Commission the discretion to decide on a case by case basis for the proposed use if a lower ratio would be appropriate.  The question raised was if the square footage for the garden center was included in the parking analysis.  For that reason they have looked at the criteria the other towns used to get a barometer of the ratio.  Referring to the Parking Analysis Data submitted by Mr. Steel this evening it was noted that the Bridge Street location, at a ratio of 4.5 parking spaces/1,000 square foot of building and a 3.7 ratio (including the garden center) fits right in the middle of other home improvements uses - a ratio which seems to be working in surrounding towns.  

Chairman Ouellette noted that 865 parking spaces are required if the plan follows the regulations as written, but if the 634 parking spaces proposed are subtracted out then there could be a savings of 230+/- spaces.  He has heard it presented that the benefits of not providing those spaces are less impervious surface which reduces run off, which is a opinion he shares.  Mr. Steel concurred, noting it doesn’t make sense to build more spaces than are needed for the reasons Chairman Ouellette noted.   Mr. Steel noted they have shown they can provide a reserve area of 88 parking spaces in the rear, which is not an ideal location due to the distance to the entrance which is on the front of the building.   They have already added parking spaces in the front near the garden center and the main building; the reserved parking area was shown on the plan to prove that the full parking requirement could be met.    Mr. Steel noted that with the exception of the Home Depot on Granby Street in Bloomfield all other stores have a ratio less than 5 parking spaces/1,000 square feet of building space.  The 634 parking spaces proposed for this location seems to be appropriate.  Polling the Commission members Chairman Ouellette determined the Commission had no major concerns regarding parking at this time.  

Regarding the lighting plan, Mr. Steel noted the plan sheets include a photo-metric plan which includes candle readings for the fixtures proposed.   The plans have not been revised since the last submission; they are limiting the pole height to 15’ to meet local

regulations, although many of these uses like to see pole heights of 20’.   The 15 height includes a 12’ pole on a 3’ concrete base; some poles are located within the parking lot within islands.  Mr. Steel noted that previous discussion involved the request for additional shields to reduce light glare to residents to the north and south.  He has submitted a cross section sketch of a standard shield available through a manufacture; otherwise they would have to fabricate something unique for this location.  Mr. Steel noted that one of the benefits of this site is that the lighting is separated from the property lines by at least 100’, and on one side, by 150’ of buffer.  

Mr. Steel also noted the Commission had questioned the structural integrity of a proposed timber guardrail.  He indicated they went with the timber product for aesthetics, but agree the metal option would probably provide better protection.   Although the area probably won’t be getting a lot of parking except during peak hours, they have revised the plans to reflect the metal guardrail, as they feel it’s best to go with the best option to stop vehicles.  

Mr. Ussery addressed the Commission with regard to the retaining wall.  He noted there had been some discussion about creating a tiered or terraced retaining wall with plantings.  They looked at that option and found it would take up more space.  Mr. Ussery suggested that personally he didn’t feel the terraced wall was necessary.  He felt that it’s difficult to visualize the retaining wall as proposed.  He suggested there is a substantial distance (220’) from the back of the property and the retaining wall to the residences.  Mr. Ussery suggested it would be like looking across the street (from the meeting room to the school).  The wall will be 15’ high; Mr. Ussery didn’t feel the visual of the wall would be intrusive but they have added another row of evergreen at a planting height of 5’ to 6’ at the base of the wall.  At the 4 or 5 year growth of the trees the evergreens will be shielding the wall.  Mr. Ussery noted another concern he had for construction of the terraced wall is that a geo-textile material is placed between the sections of the wall.  If they planted trees or shrubs within those spaces they would have to dig through the material which is there to keep the wall from collapsing.  They could create a 15 - 18’ wider wall, but by adding another row of trees at the base of the wall that should shield the wall as well.  They are also adding another row of white pines near the wetlands.   Mr. Ussery noted a concern was raised as to how well the white pines would do in the wetlands, but white pines are found about 30% of the time in its natural state in wetlands; he felt they should do well, but they are also adding a row of balsam pines as well as the white pines.  After some growth the wall won’t be visible at all; at the initial planting the building isn’t visible from Scott Avenue because the wall protects the view.  

With regard to the visibility of the site from Spring Street there is a house at a distance of about 440’.  That same distance would be similar to the distance from the front door of Town Hall to the intersection in front of St. Catherine Church.  At the initial planting of 5’ to 6’ trees and at a 6’ eye height looking over the top of the trees the line of sight just clips the top of the building; at 5 years of growth the trees will screen the back of the building.   Mr. Ussery indicated he is comfortable with the screening provided for the retaining wall and the site looking back towards Spring Street.  

Mr. Ussery reported he took photos from Spring Street at about the location of the proposed emergency driveway.   Looking to the north there is much deciduous vegetation during the Summer, which will shield the site; because the existing vegetation is deciduous the site will be visible in Winter.  Mr. Ussery indicated he also took photos looking from the site towards Spring Street; again, there is much deciduous vegetation.  He also took photos looking from Scott Avenue into the site, and then back towards Scott Avenue from the site.  That area also has significant deciduous vegetation; the site will be visible during the Winter which is the reason for the planting of the evergreens.   Mr. Steel also noted that the larger trees are red and silver maples and cottonwood and are at the property line; those trees will remain on the site.  Commissioner Tyler questioned the possibility of planting higher evergreen, 7’ to 8’, to get quick screening.   Mr. Ussery suggested that sometimes when you go with a larger tree they are more easily stressed and are more difficult to keep going.  He noted that white pines will grow 1 1/2’/year after the first year, but the decision is the Commission’s.  Town Planner Whitten suggested planting the larger trees at the base of the wall; Chairman Ouellette suggested a compromise of 6’ - 7’ white pines in front of the wall.  (The photos were submitted for the record).

Mr. Hesketh then addressed the traffic analysis.  Mr. Hesketh submitted a revised capacity analysis, which is based on comments made by the Commission during the previous Public Hearing and a number of comments made by Chairman Ouellette, (and submitted in written form).  

Mr. Hesketh noted that the trip generation information for his report was based on information provided by ConnDOT for home improvement stores.  Chairman Ouellette had questioned how the rates used compared to rates for a Home Depot store (rather than a Lowes), and questioned if the tenant changed was the traffic information underestimated?  Mr. Hesketh suggested not much was known about traffic generation when the home improvement stores moved into this area, so trip generation information was based on 110,000 to 130,000 square foot of floor area for Home Depot and 160,000 to 185,000 square foot of floor area for Lowes.  The square footage of the stores has now been increased to 120,000 to 130,000 for Home Depot, and remains the same for Lowes; the information has been approved by ConnDOT for these similar uses. If Lowes moves in they will be providing similar business and would be higher than this report; Mr. Hesketh felt the traffic volumes will be sufficient also to handle Lowes.

Chairman Ouellette had also suggested that the distribution of traffic from the west via Bridge Street/Route 140 appeared to be low.  He noted comparable distances via Route 5 to Route 140 and South Main Street to Route 140, number of traffic signals to be encountered, and daily comparable traffic volumes on both routes.  To address those concerns Mr. Hesketh indicated he has increased the amount of traffic from South Main Street 10% and has increased the trip generation volumes 10% on South Main Street and 5% along Route 5.  Mr. Hesketh reported they feel they have sufficient levels of service at the intersections and the lanes have sufficient capacity to handle the increased traffic.  The site driveway with a single lane approach shows the entrance at the front of the site, were the eastbound lanes to be signalized the queues would back up to Gardner Street.  Mr. Hesketh noted Chairman Ouellette had suggested a right-turn lane into the site; Mr. Hesketh felt that lane would be limited to 25’ to 50’ which is not a lot of room to provide the turn space and he didn’t feel it’s necessary.  They are working with the owner of the property across the street to provide the left-turn lane into the site, which is the reason for the site driveway location as well as the ability to provide a better site distance, but it precludes them from providing a right-turn lane.  

Chairman Ouellette had also noted that the analysis shows long queues (827’ to 926’) on the eastbound approach which extend almost back to the light at the site drive.  Chairman Ouellette felt private and commercial driveways will be blocked; he suggested an additional eastbound through lane should be considered.  Mr. Hesketh reported he said that during peak hours stacking of queues at that light would be 95%, or 330’ to 340’; there would never be more than 10 cars sitting in that que.  During his hours of study (peak hours of 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.) Mr. Hesketh reported there were only two occasions of blocked driveways to the Clarion Inn, the other businesses could be accessed without blocking.  Commissioner Tyler questioned what was the anticipated amount of new traffic that would be going to the site - because the site is now there?  Mr. Hesketh reported that during the p.m. hours there would be 300 entering and 330 exiting the site driveway.  ConnDOT only allows them to use 20% as a pass-by credit for people stopping there on their way home because the traffic will be there anyway.  Mr. Hesketh reported that ConnDOT limits them to 20% because the concern is what if all the traffic is new?  If the site works at 20% then the analysis is good.  Mr. Hesketh reported he felt the pass-by traffic is much more than what they are limited to.  

At the previous meeting Town Planner Whitten had questioned if the consideration of tractor trailer trucks had been included in the queuing information?  Mr. Hesketh reported he noted 1.2% to 2% of the tractor trailers and 4% to 5% of box trucks passing through; he felt the issue was if the queuing analysis was correct?  Mr. Hesketh suggested the queues for the tractor trailers may be long but he didn’t feel it would be 2%; the box trucks are 30’ in length; Mr. Hesketh felt the queuing analysis wouldn’t be that much different.  Mr. Hesketh reported he only saw 1 tractor trailer truck during his observation; he saw less than 10 tractor trailer trucks pass through the intersection of the southbound ramp and Bridge Street and 12 box trucks during his 1 1/2 hour observation.  Attorney Barbieri suggested this is East Windsor’s regional center; they will be bringing traffic but traffic is also there now.  He agreed the Board wants to know this (project) will work reasonably well.  Commissioners Farmer, Thurz, and Tyler also agreed they would feel more comfortable if there were a right hand turn lane, even if it’s a short one.  Mr. Hesketh suggested the light creates a queue of traffic and also creates a gap which allows people in the driveways to get through.  Commissioner Tyler questioned if the traffic can get through without the right-turn lane?   Mr. Hesketh noted they are widening the road to provide the left-turn lane, and that allows the westbound traffic to get through.   The timing of the signals will allow the left-turn to advance; the right-turn (vehicles) should be able to move with the flow of traffic.  

Commissioner Farmer indicated he didn’t see any sidewalks proposed.   Chairman Ouellette noted there needs to be a sidewalk provision, either a fee-in-lieu-of sidewalks or whatever, but that’s presently been omitted from the Application.   The Commission has yet to hear of that issue.

Mr. Ussery suggested the analogy for the issue of traffic for this proposal is the traffic at Shoham Road.  That area carries a lot of traffic, much of it through traffic; that area never had a traffic light and it was very difficult and dangerous to get out of Shoham Road.  A traffic light has now been installed, and recently they added drainage improvements to the area.  That area has neither a left-turn lane or a right-turn lane; there is no difficulty with trucks turning into or out of Shoham Road and with cars getting out.  The traffic does back up occasionally, but it’s usually because of an accident.   It does work with the traffic light.  There is enough room for people to get by the cars turning in.  It would be the same kind of situation here.  Attorney Barbieri noted they are making many more improvements to this location than to that site.  ???????? Chairman Ouellette indicated that a right-turn lane is based on radius; in his view it’s ok.  

Chairman Ouellette referenced Table 6, questioning that the distance from the southbound ramp to the site is what?   Mr. Hesketh replied 950(+/-)’.  Chairman Ouellette suggested Mr. Hesketh should input the field data and prove to him that it will work.  He noted there is a large amount of traffic coming to and from I-91, and if it stacks up to this site it would create gridlock in the area.  Mr. Hesketh suggested he can fine tune the analysis but the 95% queue is a safety factor in there.   The queues were at most 250’ during his observation, which leads him to believe there is adequate stacking area on
Bridge Street to handle the site traffic. He indicated if Chairman Ouellette requests a calibrated model he will provide same.   Chairman Ouellette indicated that in his opinion this issue is the fatal flaw with the Application.  He read an excerpt from the Special Use
Permit requirements noting “that streets providing access to the proposed use are adequate in width, grade, alignment, and visibility, and have adequate capacity for the additional traffic generated by the proposed use.   Chairman Ouellette noted that the the only street providing access is Bridge Street.  Chairman Ouellette indicated he didn’t feel he was
being unrealistic in his opinion.

As there was significantly more data to be presented the Commission decided to pause for a recess.

MOTION: TO TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

The Commission RECESSED at 9:57 p.m. and RECONVENED at 9:59 p.m.

Chairman Ouellette had questioned a reference on the Site Plan which indicated an easement to REESG properties, Attorney Barbieri referred to a document which was prepared by the Title Insurance Company on 8/25/2008 and references a right-of-way

which was granted to the Hartford Catholic Diocese.  Attorney Barbieri suggested the Title Insurance Company considered the easement abandoned because it has never been used.   There is a question if they could use it because it’s mostly wetlands.   Attorney

Barbieri noted this documentation will be submitted for the record next time.

Chairman Ouellette had suggested the Applicant should explain the circulation of delivery trucks at the site, how many deliveries and at what time would the deliveries be made, and would the deliveries be audible to the neighbors.  Mr. Poland indicated they estimate 2 to 3 tractor trailer trucks/day accessing the site and box deliveries, such as Fed Ex, UPS, etc. during business hours.  The Applicant is proposing two conditions of approval with regard to deliveries:  1)  restrict delivery by tractor trailer trucks to store hours when the facility is open to the general public; and 2)  restrict refuse pick up from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Commissioner Farmer questioned what would be the hours of normal operation?   Mr. Poland noted specifics are difficult to propose without knowing who the specific tenant will be but in general home improvement stores are open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; those would be reasonable hours for deliveries.  Mr. Poland reiterated that refuse pick up would be restricted from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Chairman Ouellette indicated the genesis of the comments was the impact on the abutters.  Mr. Poland noted the loading docks are a significant distance from Spring Street and Scott Avenue; he didn’t anticipate massive problems but noted the conditions would keep deliveries from being made at 2:00 a.m.  Commissioner Thurz questioned that grocery store deliveries were until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.?  Mr. Poland clarified that many grocery stores are open 24 hours.  Commissioner Devanney questioned if the deliveries could be restricted to 10:00 p.m.?   Mr. Poland indicated such a store will have normal hours of operation; to have deliveries while it’s open is reasonable.   They have agreed to restrict refuse from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and deliveries to normal operating hours.  Commissioners Thurz and Gowdy and Chairman Ouellette felt deliveries during normal delivery hours isn’t a problem.

~Mr. Poland referred to the criteria requirements under the Special Use Permit, noting he felt they have addressed those issues.   They have dealt with the Zone Change and found the use to be in harmony with the area; the traffic issues are being dealt with.  They still don’t have an actual tenant so they are showing a basic design for a big box business, which isn’t that far from what’s in the area.  Mr. Poland noted they did overlook the issue of sidewalks during the design process but will address them for the next meeting.

Chairman Ouellette suggested he would like to keep the Public Hearing open, which would require that he request an extension from the Applicant.  

Chairman Ouellette opened discussion to the audience:

Louis Flynn, 17 Spring Street:  noted he lives near the area, he suggested that with regard to the noise there aren’t that many houses around the proposed building, just the roar of traffic from I-91 obviates the concern for the noise of the delivery trucks.  Any noise from the store would be minimal to that generated by the highway; they would not be adding anything deleterious.  Attorney Flynn felt the noise pollution generated from this facility would be minimal.  With his window open in his home a half mile away from the highway the noise is loud, there is much traffic, and much of the traffic is big trucks.  He would urge the Commission to think that the noise from the deliveries is minimal based on what exists.  

Commissioner Gowdy suggested he has the same concern regarding traffic from I-91 southbound.  His own experience regarding traffic between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. is that it’s really tough.  He indicated he didn’t question the integrity of the traffic analysis but he would like to see the additional figures.  Commissioner Devanney suggested her biggest concern is traffic from exits 44 and 45 of I-91 backed up to this driveway.   She, also, would like to see the figures Mr. Hesketh will bring in.  This area is backed up now, and that’s without a big box development.  

Commissioner Farmer questioned how the Applicant would deal with trash retention on the property; (he’s referring to) those plastic bags when people discard them.  The Commission felt that would be the responsibility of the tenant.   Mr. Poland reiterated that Mr. Trigg had expressed his concerns regarding the site; he wants to be a conscientious owner but they don’t know who will occupy the property.  If Commissioner Farmer wants to add a condition they are open to suggestions, but Mr. Poland felt the significant landscape buffer hopefully would catch much of the debris.   As a planner he is hesitant to recommend the addition of fencing around the property as fencing sends a negative message.  Commissioner Farmer cited his concern for the plastic bags blowing into the watercourse flowing below the site, and then entering the Connecticut River.  Attorney Barbieri suggested the Commission should visit the site and look from the same perspective as the photos.

Commissioner Thurz indicated his biggest concern was the traffic.   He would hate to approve an application and have a bottleneck on both ends.

Chairman Ouellette noted the Planning Office has received a long typed letter from the Rothwells, who have an issue with a half pipe liner; it concerns him that most of the disagreement with Town Engineer Norton is in regard to the half pipe liner.

Noting the time had reached 10:30 p.m. (the time of cessation of Commission meetings as defined in Commission bylaws) .the Commission paused to consider adjourning or extending the meeting.

MOTION: To EXTEND THE MEETING UNTIL 10:45 p.m.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

Mr. Steel reported that the Public Works Department is proposing to make improvements to the ditch running through various properties below the subject site.  Mr. Rothwell suggested cutting a pipe in half and placing same in the channel to have a smooth channel.   Mr. Steel reported he spoke with Mr. Rothwell at length, noting the proposal was a Town project and the decision was the Town’s.  Mr. Steel also spoke with Town Engineer Norton, who was adamant about not having the half pipe as he felt he wouldn’t be able to maintain it, or the slope, properly as there is no structural integrity to the proposal.  Mr. Steel indicated he agreed with Town Engineer Norton.  Mr. Steel felt Mr. Rothwell understood the discussion but still felt his opinion is the correct one.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if Town Engineer Norton had signed off on the calculations for this project?   Town Planner Whitten noted this drainage proposal is only an Inland/Wetlands project.   Chairman Ouellette questioned if the half pipe is related to this project?  Mr. Steel reported Town Engineer Norton reviewed the drainage calculations for the Inland/Wetlands application; he agreed the calculations were acceptable.  Chairman Ouellette indicated if Mr. Steel is comfortable with the project then the Commission is ok.  Attorney Barbieri reported the Town has several drainage issues to deal with; they probably wouldn’t have addressed this one at this time, but at the time of the Zone Change proposal people were concerned with the ditch and when Town Engineer Norton heard the concerns he reacted.  This Applicant is offering money to fund this drainage repair, but the Applicant can do what they want to do without addressing the ditch issue because they are not increasing the flow off the subject property.  The Applicant offered the money in response to everyone’s concerns.  

Town Planner Whitten noted she spoke with the Warehouse Point Fire Marshal who has no problems with the proposed fire access location as long as they can demonstrate that it can handle the emergency vehicles.   Mr. Steel reported the plans includes construction details.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned Mr. Hesketh that during his presentation he addressed a stone wall; he questioned where that wall was?   Mr. Hesketh reported it’s on Bridge Street west of Gardner Street; there is a concrete curb on both sides of the road 2’ to 2 1/2’ which acts as a curb.  To be able to obtain the sight distance they will remove the wall and regrade; it will be a curb/retaining wall. Chairman Ouellette questioned what it would look like from that resident’s front yard?  Mr. Hesketh felt they can do it.  

Chairman Ouellette noted there is a scheduling problem extending the Application to the next meeting, as there won’t be any administrative staff available to assist the Commission.  The Applicant agreed to offer an extension to October 14th.

MOTION: To CONTINUE THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE APPLICATION OF NRT Realty, LLC for Site Plan Approval and Special Use Permit for 140,000 sq. ft. retail facility with 33,000 sq. ft. outdoor garden center and associated parking located on the south side of Bridge Street, owned by Joseph N. Lata, Jr., Debra A. Morel and Anthony & Dorothy M. Dimastrantonio.  The Application is continued to the Commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting on October 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.  


Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

BUSINESS MEETING/(1)  Discussion - Child day care centers in M-1 Zone:

Town Planner Whitten indicated that before the Commission adopted the regulations they approved a text amendment to allow child care facilities in an M-1 Zone, however, it was omitted from the new regulations.   She would like to schedule a Public Hearing for October.  The Commission concurred.

BUSINESS MEETING/(2)  Fee Schedule (tabled):

BUSINESS MEETING/(3)  Correspondence:

Town Planner Whitten reminded the Commission of the EDC Meeting scheduled for Monday, September 15th at Scout Hall.

BUSINESS MEETING/(4)  Staff Reports:

The Commission canceled the Meeting scheduled for September 23rd.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES/August 12, 2008:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1534 dated August 12, 2008 as written.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/

VOTE:   In Favor:       Devanney/Farmer/Ouellette/Thurz
                Opposed:        No one
                Abstained:      Gowdy

ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 10:43 p.m.

Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous


Respectfully submitted,

_______________________________________________________________
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission