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April 28, 2009 Minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

Public Hearing #1546
April 28, 2009


The Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT. by Chairman Ouellette

ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM:

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

Also present was Town Planner Whitten.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:

Town Planner Whitten requested the addition of discussion of a project for a North Road Sewer under BUSINESS MEETING.

RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:        None.

LEGAL NOTICE:   None.

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; EXTENSION; ROAD ACCEPTANCE:  Coleman Farms - Request from Leonard Jacobs for a 2-year extension of the Special Use Permit for Coleman Farms, Tromley Road.  (Previous extension expires on 5/9/09):

Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business.  Appearing to discuss this Application was Attorney Len Jacobs, representing the Applicant, Coleman Farms.

Attorney Jacobs advised the Commission that the developer met with the homeowners association on site.  Vacations are causing a delay to proceed with the agreement.  Everyone has agreed to request that the decision be extended, or the permit extended, until the Commission’s May 26th Meeting.  

Town Planner Whitten noted that she, and Wetlands Agent Newton, met with the developer and homeowners association as well.  There are valid points and concerns on
both sides.  She concurred that everyone was in agreement to let the developer work on
some of the issues and meet again.

The Commission discussed the extension options.   Town Planner Whitten suggested extending the Permit until May 27, 2009 - the day following the Commission’s scheduled Meeting.  

MOTION: To EXTEND the Permit of the Special Use Permit for Coleman Farms, Tromley Road to May 27, 2009.

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

CONTINUED HEARING:  Recycled Concrete Products of  CT - Special Use Permit to allow a Volume Reduction Facility at 33 Apothecaries Hall Road, owned by Herb Holden Trucking, Inc.   [M-1 Zone; Map 36, Block 48, Lot 38].  (Deadline to close hearing 5/19/09):

Chairman Ouellette read the Hearing description.  

Town Planner Whitten noted the Commission is operating under a bare majority this evening.   She has received a letter from the Applicant requesting a continuation of the Hearing until the Commission’s regularly scheduled Meeting to be held on May 12, 2009.  

Chairman Ouellette advised the audience that several Commission members are absent this evening.  The Applicant is seeking waivers - which require a majority vote - for his proposal.  The Applicant has decided not to present any discussion this evening.

MOTION: To POSTPONE the Application of  Recycled Concrete Products of  CT for a Special Use Permit to allow a Volume Reduction Facility at 33 Apothecaries Hall Road, owned by Herb Holden Trucking, Inc.   [M-1 Zone; Map 36, Block 48, Lot 38] until the Commission’s regularly scheduled Meeting to be held on May 12, 2009, in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

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

An unidentified member of the audience questioned the regulations regarding a Special Use Permit.  Chairman Ouellette advised the resident the regulations are available on-line, or in the Planning Office.  Town Planner Whitten suggested the resident come in to the office to review the Application, which would include any potential conditions of approval.   She advised the audience the Town of East Windsor is not able to advertise conditions of approval as the cost is prohibitive.

NEW BUSINESS:  USA Hauling & Recycling, Inc. - Site Plan Approval for drainage improvements to container storage area at 10 Shoham Road, owned by 10 Shoham Road, LLC.  [M-1 Zone; Map 3, Block 17, Lots 6A & J],  (Deadline for decision 6/18/09):                                                                                     

Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business.   Appearing to discuss this Application was Jay Ussery, of J. R. Russo and Associates, and George Roberts, representing the Applicant, USA Hauling and Recycling, Inc.

Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission this Applicant has an application pending before the Inland/Wetlands Commission, therefore, the PZC wouldn’t be able to act on this Application this evening.  As she will not be present at the next Commission Meeting she felt the Applicant could present information and hear dialogue from the Commission as to items to address in future presentations.

Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission the Planning Office has also received a letter of complaint from Attorney Charles Houlihan, Jr., representing Down Realty, LLC.

Town Planner Whitten suggested she was undecided as to scheduling the Application as a Public Hearing, or a regular Application.   From the perspective of the use of container storage the Application would not require a Public Hearing, however, there is an aggrieved party.  She felt the best approach was for the Commission to hear the presentation and make a determination as to the need for a Public Hearing.

Mr. Ussery reported the Application is for Site Plan Approval for container storage at 10 Shoham Road.  The site is the location of Penske’s Truck, Parking & Storage, a tenant; USA Hauling utilizes the property to the rear of Penske’s.  The area to the rear has been filled to provide access to other properties of the same property owner.  To orientate the location Mr. Ussery noted the volume reduction facility is located at 9 - 13 Shoham Road, which is at the end of Shoham Road.

Mr. Ussery gave a description of the location of  various operations along Shoham Road.   He noted a Site Plan for the subject location was approved in approximately 1994.  The building occupied by Penske’s existed at that time, and was occupied by Country Club Cars - an operation that sold/repaired/distributed golf carts.  That plan included a detention basin in the back of the property.   A driveway was constructed to allow access from the building along North Road (formerly occupied by Tanner Ford Tractor Sales) to the property at the rear of Shoham Road (formerly occupied by Tri-State Diesel).  This access allowed the Applicant to go between sites with containers without adding large truck traffic on Shoham Road.  The drainage system as approved was modified; this Application would modify that system again to allow run-off and water to flow into the detention basin.  Mr. Ussery advised the Commission there is a Public Hearing pending before the Inland/Wetlands Commission; he concurred the PZC can not act on this Application without a decision from the Inland/Wetlands Commission.

Chairman Ouellette questioned why the Applicant was appearing before the Inland/Wetlands Commission?  Mr. Ussery reported the activities occurred within the

150’ area of wetlands concern.   No  Inland/Wetlands or Planning and Zoning Permits were taken out.  Chairman Ouellette requested that the Applicant is seeking to obtain the required permits?   Mr. Ussery replied affirmatively.

Chairman Ouellette queried that the proposal before the Commission is for site work?   Mr. Ussery reported much of the site work already exists.   This Application would provide changes within the drainage system, provide stabilization of slopes with vegetation, and pave the area of container storage to keep the run off cleaner.

Chairman Ouellette requested identification of the location of Down Realty?  Mr. Ussery reported the previous Tanner Ford Tractor Sales location is on the corner of Shoham and North Roads, the next property is Marsh Motorcycle; the third property on North Road would be the Down Realty property which contains two existing buildings.  

Referencing the Site Plan before the Commission Chairman Ouellette questioned what is shown within the grey area?   Mr. Ussery suggested that would be container storage.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if the previous Site Plan included container storage?   Mr. Ussery reported it did not; Mr. Roberts clarified that container storage has been occurring for four to five years.  Responding to Chairman Ouellette’s query regarding the demand for container storage Mr. Ussery noted USA Hauling has expanded their operation statewide and has grown considerably.  Mr. Roberts concurred that there have been a number of acquisitions.

Chairman Ouellette questioned if the containers are roll-off units?   Mr. Roberts replied affirmatively, noting the majority of the units are 18’ wide and 22’ long.  They are roll-off units, 90% of which are in need of repair.  If there is an excess of rental containers available some of those might be stored at this location temporarily.

Commissioner O’Brien questioned the elevation of the subject site in relation to Down Realty.  Mr. Ussery suggested the rear driveway of Down Realty is at elevation 118, while the corner of the subject site is at elevation 124.  Commissioner O’Brien questioned if the parameters of the driveway have approached the wetlands as the driveway has expanded?   Mr. Ussery didn’t feel the grades have changed that much; the original topography included a swale with a double set of catch basins that flowed towards the detention basin.  That area was modified when the fill was added.  Commissioner O’Brien questioned that the Applicant would now be adding catch basins and curbs?   Mr. Ussery confirmed the addition of catch basins but noted there would be no curbing as everything is pitched back onto the subject site.

Chairman Ouellette queried if the  permit addresses a maximum number of containers available for storage, or does it just refer to a storage area?   Mr. Ussery noted the containers are different sizes; if smaller units are stored on site there would be more than if the units were larger.  Chairman Ouellette questioned that the area shown in the grey shaded area on the Site Plan was an area for additional storage?   Mr. Ussery replied affirmatively.  Chairman Ouellette questioned what would occur if all necessary permits were granted and the Applicant still needed more storage area?   Mr. Ussery noted that discussion occurred with the Planning Staff.   They would not expand the storage area without getting additional Wetlands Permits.   They have jersey barriers to keep the fill area from spreading, and there are placards on the wetlands boundaries.   Mr. Ussery suggested there is really no room for expansion.  

Commissioner Farmer questioned if there was any other access for this location?   Mr. Ussery reported the dumpsters are brought onto the site, are worked on in the Tanner Ford building, and then go out to rental locations, or other USA Hauling locations on Shoham Road.  Commissioner Farmer questioned Mr. Roberts if there were any DEP Regulations regarding cleanliness to keep debris out of the dumpsters?  Mr. Roberts replied negatively.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if the dumpsters were not damaged would they be stored at this location?  Mr. Roberts suggested they do have a few extra undamaged containers stored at this site, but the majority are those in need of repair.   Commissioner O’Brien questioned if the containers are washed down?   Mr. Roberts replied affirmatively, but clarified they are washed at a location that has a water separator as part of the operation.  Commissioner O’Brien requested clarification that if the dumpsters go to this area they are clean and any run off from rain should be clean?   Mr. Roberts replied yes.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned the Applicant’s reaction to the complainant’s letter?   Mr. Ussery reported he had read it quickly.   He advised the Commission his office got involved because they have a history regarding applications in this area; their office is located on Shoham Road.   Mr. Ussery indicated they have done work for the Shoham’s (owner of Down Realty), and has seen flooding in their parking lot even before this work happened.  The work proposed for USA Hauling would take care of the flooding in the parking lot of Down Realty.  If the drainage system was restored to the original Penske Application there should be no flooding if the design was properly designed.

Chairman Ouellette questioned the access to the driveway on the property at the corner of North Road and Shoham Road.  Mr. Roberts reported it is bi-directional; trucks with containers could come out of that site although they use it very little except early in the mornings.  Trucks come into that yard more than they leave it.  They like, and prefer, using the intersection at Shoham and North Road.  

Chairman Ouellette queried Town Planner Whitten that from an administrative perspective the expansion of the storage area of containers alone would be a Site Plan modification, and not subject to a Public Hearing?   Town Planner Whitten replied that if the storage of containers were a stand-alone application there would be no question that a Public Hearing was not necessary.   Some of the activity is associated with the Volume Reduction Facility, but it’s a separate business.   Mr. Roberts clarified that the Volume Reduction Facility is allowed to have containers to store materials which they then take to market.  The containers being discussed now belong to USA Hauling, but are used by the Volume Reduction Facility.   Town Planner Whitten compared this Application to one submitted by the Mitchell operation, which is a container storage yard with gravel and other materials.   That application didn’t require a Special Use Permit.  Chairman Ouellette questioned that storage of containers is an as-of-right use in this zone?   Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively.  She felt the cross-over of containers is an accessory use; the welding of the containers occurs at 38 North Road LLC.   Mr. Ussery described several locations and the specific ownership of each located along Shoham Road.  Town Planner Whitten reiterated she didn’t feel this Application needs a Special Use Permit but the Commission has the ability to initiate that requirement.

Also present in the audience was Jonathan and Marcy Shoham, owners of Down Realty, and Attorney Charles Houlihan, representing the Shohams/Down Realty.   Chairman Ouellette asked Attorney Houlihan if he would like to present any information for the Commission?  Attorney Houlihan suggested that when the original Site Plan was approved it was recognized that the run-off would be exacerbated by the improvements.  They were required to install a plunge pool, which ended up on the Marsh property, and they added another riprap facility and swale.  He felt the original Site Plan contemplated that development and improvements would cause problems, and they tried to address them.  In 2005 they didn’t come to the Commission for a modification of the Site Plan; they went into the wetlands and filled the wetlands and added impervious surfaces which took out approximately 1+/- acres out of the site.  The Shohams have had many drainage problems over the last couple of years; pavement in the parking lot has been torn out.  Three businesses are located in the Shoham/Down Realty property.  Attorney Houlihan advised the Commission they have given a CD to the Planning office which shows the run off from “here”.   Last year the Planning Office came out to examine the drainage facilities and found they were filled in with sand, etc.; they had to dig down to find them.  Their drains are clogged; the pipe that crosses under the road doesn’t flow as it should.  Attorney Houlihan suggested they’ve (the Applicant) talked about the containers being clean; Jonathan Shoham will talk about the smell and the debris which falls onto his property.  By sidestepping the wetlands agency and filling in on their own property they have created these problems and now they want to retroactively seek approval; the Shohams object to that.

Mr. Shoham reported previous Wetlands Agent Bednaz visited their property last Summer.  The containers are not clean, and when it gets hot they smell.   They are moved every day, and when they’re moved debris falls from the containers.  They drop the containers, which causes vibration in his facility.  Town Planner Whitten reported she also visited the site; she saw a little bit of materials in the containers, and some had steel stored in them.   She didn’t recall previous Wetlands Agent Bednaz saying anything about the smell, although Town Planner Whitten suggested that didn’t mean she didn’t say it.  Mr. Shoham continued that the dumpsters aren’t clean; there are rats.  They have put a berm and materials to diffuse the water from coming onto his property.  Mr. Shoham felt that based on the set back regulations they are storing dumpsters too close to the property line.  When it rains they have a half inch of sediment in their parking lot.  

Chairman Ouellette summarized that Mr. Shoham’s complaints were as follows:  noise from the dumpsters being moved, blowing trash and debris, smell, the location of the containers, and drainage concerns.   Mr. Shoham reported that over the years the water has torn up his parking lot; he believed that if everything drained into the culvert crossing North Road it would be flooded.  It’s causing him thousands of dollars; the tenants are complaining; he patches the parking lot but it washes out again.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if the Applicant did initiate a plan that addressed the drainage concerns, and identified an area where the containers should be stored, and would be more careful placing the dumpsters - would that address Mr. Shoham’s concerns, or was he opposed to the expansion of the business?   Mr. Shoham indicated he was opposed to any expansion where it affects his business.   Attorney Houlihan suggested it takes two to create a dialogue; they have never been shown any plans, and the only thing you can say in that situation is “no”.  

Marcy Shoham, speaking from the audience, indicated they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on these problems, including increased insurance premiums due to tenants concerns regarding liability issues.  

Jonathan Shoham felt it was amazing that USA just filled in the wetlands.   He has contacted the EPA regarding the smell; the containers are not power washed.   Attorney Houlihan reported they have hired Ed Lally, a professional engineer, to determine what it would take to correct the problem.

Chairman Ouellette requested clarification that the Applicant has an application pending before the Inland/Wetlands Commission, and that application will be heard as a Public Hearing?  Town Planner Whitten concurred, noting the Wetlands Commission will address wetlands impacts, while the PZC has jurisdiction over the drainage issues.  Chairman Ouellette indicated he was struggling with the pros and cons of hearing this Application as an administrative review vs. a Public Hearing.  Commissioner Farmer felt the Applicant has modified the original Site Plan without input from the Town.   Chairman Ouellette noted if this was a different type of applicant in a different area of town this type of application wouldn’t necessitate a Public Hearing.   Commissioner Thurz felt if everyone can agree on the issues then the Application could be heard and acted on by the Commission as a regular Application.   Commissioner O’Brien questioned that the work might affect other parties.   Chairman Ouellette noted the Commission would have the same concerns regarding the impact on abutters no matter how the  the application was presented; under a regular application the abutters wouldn’t have a voice but the Commission, Town Staff, and design professionals are looking out for everyone’s best interest.  Chairman Ouellette noted the Shohams have the opportunity to make comments at the Wetlands Public Hearing; Town Planner Whitten concurred.  Chairman Ouellette noted drainage review is made by Town Engineer Norton; he requested clarification that the same comments regarding drainage design would be made to the Inland/Wetlands Agency and the PZC?   Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively.   Chairman Ouellette polled members regarding the need for a Public Hearing.   Commissioners Thurz, O’Brien, and Ouellette felt a Public Hearing at the PZC level was not necessary; Commissioner Farmer felt a Public Hearing should be held.   Chairman Ouellette noted that if the Inland/Wetlands issues are resolved there will be many conditions that are drainage related; those conditions will be adopted by the PZC.   The PZC will take into consideration the concerns of trash, smell, noise - typical concerns for any abutter.   Chairmen Ouellette questioned if the existing circulation is different from the original Site Plan?   Mr. Ussery felt it may have been modified slightly, but it does take traffic which previously traveled Shoham Road off the road.  Chairman Ouellette indicated he would like to see the Applicant consider making the driveway entrance discussed earlier an “entrance only” driveway.

Chairman Ouellette clarified that the following concerns must be addressed:  1)  location of containers related to the property line; 2)  odor; 3)  debris flying around; 4) concerns for dropping containers; and 5) noise.  Commissioners Farmer and O’Brien questioned if there are any environmental impacts?   Commissioner O’Brien questioned how long the dumpsters sit at the site?   Mr. Roberts indicated some dumpsters are rotated out quickly, while others may sit there for a few months.  Chairman Ouellette questioned if the Applicant would consider a good faith action effort  to address the damage to the abutters parking lot?   Mr. Ussery indicated he would discuss that with the Applicant.

MOTION: To CONTINUE the Application of USA Hauling & Recycling, Inc. for Site Plan Approval for drainage improvements to container storage area at 10 Shoham Road, owned by 10 Shoham Road, LLC.  [M-1 Zone; Map 3, Block 17, Lots 6A & J] to the Commission’s regularly scheduled Meeting to be held on May 26, 2009, in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

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

BUSINESS MEETING/(1)  CRCOG Regional Planning Commission:

Town Planner Whitten reported she is still looking for a volunteer to attend CRCOG Meetings.  Commissioner Thurz indicated he is unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict; Commissioner Devanney is not present this evening but has not yet reported if she is interested in the position.   Chairman Ouellette reiterated he would continue to serve as an Alternate Member but his attendance at the meetings would be limited.

BUSINESS MEETING/(2)  Fee Schedule:

The Commission continued to review the various fee revisions proposed by Town Planner Whitten.  It was noted that many of the permit fees have not been changed since 2004; some permit fees include a mandatory State fee which is passed on directly to the State.  Citing the difficult economic environment the Commission was reluctant to impose fee increases, but they also felt fee increases should be considered to cover the cost that the Town bears with regard to administrative costs, multiple inspection time per permit, and advertising costs.   Commissioner Thurz, citing his work in the construction industry, reported that East Windsor’s fees are currently much lower than other towns.  

MOTION: TO TAKE A TEN MINUTE BREAK.

Ouellette moved/O’Brien seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

The Commission RECESSED at 8:22 p.m. and RECONVENED at 8:32 p.m.

The Commission continued discussion on proposed fee revisions for commercial properties, special permits, bond releases, and letters of zoning compliance.   Town Planner Whitten will update the fee charges discussed this evening, then send the proposal on to the Board of Selectmen for review and eventual Town Meeting.

BUSINESS MEETING/(3)  Correspondence:   None.

BUSINESS MEETING/(4)  Staff Reports:    None.

BUSINESS MEETING/(5)  North Road Sewer:

Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission Kevin Leslie of the Water Pollution Control Authority is seeking money for sewer expansion on North Road as a shovel-ready project.   The proposal meets many of the goals of the Plan of Conservation and Development and the Economic Development Commission.  Mr. Leslie is seeking support from this Commission.

MOTION: The Planning and Zoning Commission hereby endorses the North Road Sewer Expansion project, as it adheres with the goals of the 2004 Plan of Conservation and Development.  The PZC also endorses seeking funding for such projects.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES/April 14, 2009:

Tabled due to absence of Commission members.

SIGNING OF MYLARS/PLANS, MOTIONS:

*       Harvestview

ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 9:12 p.m.

Farmer moved/O’Brien seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

Respectfully submitted,

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