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March 10, 2009 Minutes

Public Hearing #1544
March 10, 2009

***** 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 7:00 P. M. by Chairman Ouellette.


A quorum was established as five Regular Members (Devanney, Farmer, Gowdy, Ouellette, and Thurz) and one Alternate Member (O’Brien) were present.  Alternate Member Matthews was absent.   The Commission currently carries one vacancy for an Alternate position.  Chairman 0uellette all Regular Members would sit in, and vote, on all Items of Business this evening.   Also present was Town Planner Whitten.


Town Planner Whitten indicated she would like to discuss with the Commission a plan previously approved for Arvind and Dayanand Persuad  at 272 South Main Street.   Item to be heard under BUSINESS MEETING/(5)  Staff Reports.



The following Legal Notice, which appeared in the Journal Inquirer on Thursday, February 26, 2009, and Thursday, March 5, 2009, was read by Chairman Ouellette:

1)      Application of Richard m. Harrison, Jr. for a 1-lot re-subdivision of property located at 87 East Road.  [R-1 Zone; Map 27, Block 77, Lot 21-1].

NEW HEARING:  Richard M. Harrison, Jr. – 1-lot re-subdivision of property located at 87 East Road.  [R-3 Zone; Map 27, Block 77, lot 21-1]   (Deadline to close hearing 4/14/09):

Chairman Ouellette read the New Hearing description.  Appearing to discuss this Application was Richard Harrison, Jr.   

(NOTE:  Town Planner Whitten’s memo to the Commission indicated this Application proposed to cut a parcel of less than an acre out of a larger parcel containing 13.37 acres.)  Mr. Harrison reported he is building a house on this property and will be putting a
mortgage on the home when he acquires a Certificate of Occupancy.  The Applicant indicated he doesn’t want to put a mortgage on the entire parcel; he wants to keep the remainder of the parcel as farmland and deed it to his children.  

It was noted the remainder of the parcel is not a building lot.   Town Planner Whitten clarified that the remainder of the parcel must remain that way; it is not shown as a building lot on the plans.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if someone could cut out another piece in the future?   Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively, noting they would have to prove that the piece was a lot able to support a septic system.   During additional discussion later in the Hearing Commissioner Gowdy suggested it would be difficult to build on the back lot; there is a steep grade going down the hill.   Town Planner Whitten added that there is considerable wetlands and flood zones on the remainder of the parcel; she concurred it would be difficult to build in that area.

Chairman Ouellette noted Town Engineer Norton is still looking for a memo from the North Central Health District (NCHD).   Town Planner Whitten indicated she has spoken with Mike Carrona of the NCHD.   The outstanding question was if the septic system was too close to the adjacent property line.   Town Planner Whitten reported Mr. Carrona had felt it was not too close.  Mr. Harrison reported he had also spoken to Mr. Carrona, who indicated he had no problem with the proposal.   The approval from the NCHD remains outstanding; Town Planner Whitten requested the Commission consider adding final approval of the NCDH be included as an approval condition.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned if the driveway had been placed in the best spot; he questioned if someone leaving the property could see someone coming around the corner?   Mr. Harrison felt the driveway location was appropriate.

Commissioner Farmer questioned Town Planner Whitten’s memo notation that two street trees are required for this Application.  Town Planner Whitten clarified the two street trees are a requirement within the Subdivision Regulations; however the Commission can waive the requirement.  Discussion followed; it was noted the lot is heavily wooded at present.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if a new owner could come in and cut down all trees?  Town Planner Whitten reported they could cut everything, except the two street trees.

Chairman Ouellette noted the Application is a Public Hearing, which calls for input from the public.   Chairman Ouellette called for public input; he noted no one was present in the audience to request permission to speak.  

MOTION: To CLOSE the Public Hearing on the Application of Richard M. Harrison, Jr. for a 1-lot re-subdivision of property located at 87 East Road.  [R-3 Zone; Map 27, Block 77, lot 21-1].

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

Chairman Ouellette queried the Commission as to how they would like to handle the issue of the street trees?  Town Planner Whitten noted that Staff wouldn’t give a Certificate of Occupancy without the requirement for  the street trees fulfilled.   She noted the Commission could allow Staff to identify 2 existing trees as the street trees.

MOTION TO APPROVE the application of owner Richard M. Harrison, Jr.,  for Proposed Re-Subdivision of 1 lot (2 lots total),  at 87 East Road . R-3 Zone [Map 27, Block 77, Lot 21-2]

This approval is granted subject to conformance with the referenced plans (as may be modified by the conditions) and the following conditions of approval:

Referenced Plans:

1/3:    “Subdivision Plan, prepared for Richard Harrison, Jr., 87 East Road, East Windsor Ct  prepared by Gary B. LeClair, LLC, 57 Acorn Dr., Windsor Locks, CT 06096 860/627-8200 scale 1” =60’, dated 12/22/08, with the following sheets:
        2/3:    Topographic Plan
        3/3:    Topographic Plan/Key Map

Conditions which must be met prior to signing of mylars:

1.      The applicant shall submit a paper copy of the final approved plans to the Town Planner for review and comment prior to the submission of the final mylars.

2.      All mylars submitted for signature shall require the seal and live signature of the appropriate professional(s) responsible for preparation of the plans.

3.      The conditions of this approval shall be binding upon the applicant, land owners, and their successors and assigns.  A copy of this motion shall be filed in the land records prior to the signing of the final mylars.

Conditions which must be met prior to the issuance of any permits:

4.      Two sets of final mylars, with any required revisions incorporated on the sheets shall be submitted for signature of the Commission.  One set of signed fixed line mylars, Sheet 1 of 1, shall be filed with the Town Clerk by the applicant no later than 90 days after the 15 day appeal period from date of  publication of decision has elapsed or this approval shall be considered null and void, unless an extension is granted by the Commission.  One full set of mylars, 1-3/3 shall be filed in the Planning and Zoning Department.

5.      Detailed sedimentation and erosion control plans shall be submitted with the site plan for each parcel at time of application for a zoning permit.

6.      The remaining lot shall be designated as a non-building lot.  This lot may not be developed without receiving a legal lot status by proceeding through the proper subdivision process.

7.      A cash (escrow) or passbook bond shall be submitted for erosion and sedimentation (E & S) control maintenance and site restoration during the construction phase of the project.  Any funds that may be withdrawn by the Town for such maintenance or restoration shall be replaced within 5 days or this permit shall be rendered null and void.  The applicant’s engineer shall prepare an estimated cost of the E & S controls for review by the Town Engineer.  The final amount of said bond shall be determined by the Town Engineer.

Conditions which must be met prior to certificates of compliance:

8.      Iron pins must be in place at all lot corners and angle points of all lots.

9.      Final Health District approval of the drinking water supply and septic system must be demonstrated.

10.     The driveway must have a 15’ paved apron or if weather does not permit, a bond for such submitted.

11.     Final grading and seeding shall be in place, or if weather does not permit, a bond for the unfinished work be submitted.

12.     All required landscaping (two street trees on new lot) shall be in place, or if weather does not permit, a bond for the required plantings shall be submitted.

13.     Final as-built survey showing all structures, pins, driveways, final floor elevations, and grading must be submitted.

14.     All public health and safety components of the project must be satisfactorily completed prior to occupancy.  In cases where all public health and safety components have been completed, the Zoning Officer may issue a Certificate of Zoning Compliance provided a suitable bond is retained for any remaining site work.

General Conditions:

15.     This re-subdivision approval shall expire (five years form the date of approval).  Failure to complete all required improvements within that time shall invalidate the subdivision.  The developer may request an extension of time to complete the subdivision improvements from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Such extension shall not exceed the time limits as provided for in the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 8-26 as may be amended from time to time.  The Commission shall require proper bonding be in place prior to approval of any such extension.

16.     A Zoning Permit shall be obtained prior to any the commencement of any site work.

17.     This project shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with the referenced plans.  Minor modifications to the approved plans which results in lesser impacts may be allowed subject to staff review and approval.

18.     Any modifications to the proposed drainage or grading of the subdivision is subject to the approval of the Town Engineer.

19.     Additional erosion control measures are to be installed as directed by Town Staff if field conditions necessitate.

20.     By acceptance of this approval and conditions, the applicant, owner and/or their successors and assigns acknowledge the right of Town staff to periodically enter upon the subject property for the purpose of determining compliance with the terms of this approval.

21.     Should the property transfer ownership before all work is completed, or before a certificate of completeness is issued, the new owner must place new bonds in their name, at which time the original bond may be released.

(Additional Conditions):

22.     Street trees may be substituted for existing trees with Staff approval.

23.Final approval from the North Central Health District is required.

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

BUSINESS MEETING/(1)  Fee Schedule:     Discussion postponed this evening.

BUSINESS MEETING/(2)  Sidewalks:

Chairman Ouellette opened discussion noting he likes sidewalks, but only in certain areas.   He noted the documents he submitted for the Commission’s review state many different views on the subject.  Town Planner Whitten felt sidewalks should provide connectivity between neighborhoods and on main roads, but felt they were not needed on cul-de-sacs.  She noted people don’t speed on cul-de-sacs,  which makes them a relatively safe place to walk.    Town Planner Whitten suggested the design of sidewalks is another issue.   Chairman Ouellette noted there are legal and maintenance issues associated with sidewalks.  He noted there are some sidewalks within the public right-of-way, and felt the Town should be responsible for repairing those sidewalks.  

Commissioner Farmer felt sidewalks should be necessary on main roads; he agreed they were not necessary on cul-de-sacs.  He felt there is a need to get people off the roads; he felt the Town could be liable if people get hit in the street.  Commissioner Farmer also questioned if money which goes into the Fee-In-Lieu-Of-Sidewalks Fund would go to the repair of sidewalks; he felt that if the money could be used for repair there would be no new sidewalks ever built under the current budget conditions.  Commissioner Farmer felt the Town should require installation of sidewalks during construction of a development, at the developer’s expense, rather than later at the expense of the Town.

Commissioner Thurz agreed the documents provided the Commission were confusing, as there were so many differing opinions.

Discussion turned to the recent Application for the subdivision along Middle and East Roads.  Several Commissioners felt that area would be developed in 10 years; separate subdivision/neighborhoods should be connected.

Town Planner Whitten submitted a map of a proposed Sidewalk Plan which was adopted after the last moratorium; this map was prepared in conjunction with the current Plan of Conservation and Development.  Essentially the map notes the existence of sidewalks in Broad Brook and Warehouse Point center and adjacent streets, and notes the proposal for additional sidewalks in Scantic and Windsorville center.   Nothing is proposed for the Melrose section.  

Chairman Ouellette referenced page 54 - Section 66 of the Zoning Regulations; he read same FOR THE RECORD, noting any lot containing new construction of a home in excess of 1,000 square feet of floor area shall make a provision for sidewalks and/or trails in places deemed proper by the Commission for the public necessity and safety.  He then questioned why the previous Applicant, Mr. Harrison, was not required to put in a sidewalk?   Commissioner O’Brien felt there could be an argument to connect to the subdivision to the north, but noted the land adjacent to the home is wooded.  Town Planner Whitten clarified that Mr. Harrison’s Application was really a lot split rather than a subdivision; he would therefore not be required to put in a sidewalk.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if sidewalks should be required on commercial properties, such as along Route 5 if new construction is in excess of 1,000 square feet?  He questioned if the person considering the forklift business, which would include a new building, should be required to install a sidewalk?  

Commissioner O’Brien questioned what would be the situation for an empty existing building lot between two existing subdivision?   Town Planner Whitten suggested if a lot is a legal lot of record then someone has the right to build on it; the Commission doesn’t have the right to require sidewalks except at the time the request for an approved building lot is made.  Commissioner O’Brien felt if the Commission was requiring a developer to put in sidewalks a homeowners building individually shouldn’t be exempt; the homeowners should be required to put in sidewalks for connectivity as well.  

Commissioner Gowdy felt sidewalks are a hassle; people don’t clear them and it then becomes an enforcement issue.  He felt that if the Middle/East Road area does have more development the sidewalks being put in will have to be repaired by the time the new development occurs.  Chairman Ouellette questioned under what conditions would Commissioner Gowdy support sidewalks?   Commissioner Gowdy felt he could support sidewalks in the center of town because that’s where people walk.  In response to previous statements made by Commissioners that sidewalks are necessary for students to walk to a bus stop, Commissioner Gowdy noted kids get picked up at their individual houses for the Elementary School and the Middle School (both located in Broad Brook), while the kids attending the High School are picked up at central locations.

Discussion returned to the existing regulations, and if current language allows the Commission to waive sidewalk requirements within subdivisions.  Chairman Ouellette polled members for their opinion on: 1) the wording of existing regulations, and 2) where sidewalks should be installed:

Commissioner Farmer felt the existing regulations are properly worded; he agreed with Town Planner Whitten.

Commissioner Gowdy indicated he was generally against sidewalks.

Chairman Ouellette agreed sidewalks were not necessary on cul-de-sacs.

Commissioner Devanney referenced the regulations regarding requirements for sidewalks along multi-family developments.   She questioned if that included Active Adult Housing developments, noting she hasn’t seen sidewalks in those areas.    Chairman Ouellette felt they have been required but many have not been built yet.  Town Planner Whitten noted sidewalks have been required within Newberry Village but not along Newberry Road.  
Commissioner Thurz felt sidewalks were not necessary for cul-de-sacs if there isn’t a lot of traffic.

Town Planner Whitten reiterated the purpose of sidewalks is safety, and connectivity.   Chairman Ouellette noted the installation of sidewalks conflicts with the intent of maintaining the rural character of East Windsor.   Commissioner O’Brien felt things have changed in 30 years; there wasn’t as much development and people didn’t drive as fast.  

Noting that you would recognize that you would be giving up the rural character, Chairman Ouellette queried Commissioner Farmer that he would prefer sidewalks along main roads, but not cul-de-sacs?   Commissioner Farmer indicated he would like to preserve the rural character but he felt the Town is going to continue to populate.   Commissioner O’Brien didn’t feel that running sidewalks down a street kills the rural character; he felt it’s the character of the people that make the character of the town.   He cited the sidewalks in Enfield along Route 5.  
Chairman Ouellette cited Town Planner Whitten had put together a list of subdivisions approved for the past several years; perhaps 500 - 600 housing units within residential subdivisions were approved.  He noted he has been on the Commission for all the years referenced in her information; he recalled very few sidewalks were required of the developers.   He questioned where are all the people asking for sidewalks?  He cited the Perri Lane Subdivision, which has sidewalks on one side of the subdivision road which connects to Depot Street and Reservoir Avenue.  The sidewalk serves 35 - 40 houses; very few people use them.  It was a waste of money to install them; the sidewalks connect to nowhere.   If they had connected to sidewalks on Reservoir Avenue leading to the park they might have had some purpose, but they are sidewalks leading to nowhere.  

Town Planner Whitten suggested the Commission could begin working on language for regulations specific to sidewalks and trails.   Chairman Ouellette concurred, noting that was one of the reasons for initiating this discussion.  

Review of the discussion, and the reiteration of the various Commissioners opinions, found the subdivisions should be reviewed on a case by case basis regarding the need for sidewalks.   Chairman Ouellette noted that opinion reflects the language of the current regulations.

BUSINESS MEETING/(3)  Outdoor Wood-Burning Furnaces:

Town Planner Whitten noted the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces started with farmers who use them to heat greenhouses, etc.   The problem is that people will burn anything.  The requirements for using these furnaces are State mandated; the Town must meet the State’s requirements.  The Town isn’t responsible for enforcing the use of these furnaces; enforcement is the responsibility of the State - who currently has 2 people available for oversight.  When the Planning Department is contacted regarding these furnaces they refer people to compliance with the State regulations.   There are some towns that have banned them completely, but she felt there are too many farmers using them to consider that as the answer.   Perhaps use could be based on amount of acreage involved. Town Planner Whitten suggested she will work on a draft for the Commission to consider at a future meeting.

BUSINESS MEETING/(4)  Correspondence:   Nothing.

BUSINESS MEETING/(5)  Staff Comments:

Ø       Town Planner Whitten presented the Commission with a plan previously presented and approved which involves the property at 272 South Main Street; the property was previously the location of B & B Equipment.   Commissioner Thurz noted he would be abstaining from any decision on this discussion, as he is working on renovations for the new business.  Town Planner Whitten noted the Applicant had proposed fencing around the property for security reasons.   The Applicant no longer feels the fencing in the area in the front is necessary; they feel they can install locked gates and keep the vehicles in back.   The Commission had required the applicant to install landscaping in front of the fence along the front property line.

The Commission agreed the fencing along the front could be removed but the landscaping must be installed.

Ø       The Commission is reminded of the all day (Saturday) workshop being held the end of the month at Wesleyan.   Discussion followed regarding attendance.

Ø       The request for Commissioners to attend the conference at Aqua Turf has been made to the First Selectmen’s Office; no response has been received.   Town Planner Whitten will follow up on the status of the request.

Ø       Chairman Ouellette noted he sent photos of sidewalks in Manchester to Town Planner Whitten, and         requested she discuss them with the Town Planner  regarding regulation requirements.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES/February 24, 2009:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1543 dated February 24, 2009 as written.

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


*       Maps for lot split - Richard Harrison


MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 8:25 p.m.

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

Respectfully submitted,

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