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June 23, 2009 Minutes

TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

Public Hearing #1550
June 23, 2009


The Meeting was called to order at 7:04 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 four Regular Members (Devanney, Farmer, Ouellette, and Thurz), and two Alternate Members (Mulkern and O’Brien) were present.    Regular Member Gowdy and Alternate Member Matthews were absent.   Chairman Ouellette noted all Regular members would sit in on all Items of Business this evening; Alternate Member O’Brien would sit in on other Items of Business.

Also present was Town Planner Whitten.

Chairman Ouellette took a minute to welcome Commissioner Mulkern to the Board.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:  

Town Planner Whitten requested the addition of the following item:  PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE:  Kingshire 2, LLC - Dempsey Road and Napoleon Drive - Reduction of Performance Bond.

RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:        None

LEGAL NOTICE:   None

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE:  272 South Main Street - Request for Erosion and sedimentation Control Bond release:

Town Planner Whitten noted this Application was previously approved including the Applicant’s request to install a chain link fence along the entire frontage of the property.  The Applicant has returned to Staff for a modification to move the chain link fence further to the back of the property.  The Commission had requested the addition of plantings along the fence to prevent people from parking cars on the grass in front of the building along the State right-of-way.  Town Planner Whitten reported that Zoning Enforcement Officer Newton and Town Engineer Norton had visited the property.  The bushes that have been planted are only 1’ high; the Applicant is now requesting to replace those bushes with rhododendrons or other low bushes.  Town Planner Whitten reported she is looking for input from the Commission.  They have requested such screening in the past of other Applicants.  if the Commission is in agreement she would suggest releasing the bond, but retaining $2,000 to cover the cost of planting the 2’ to 3’ rhododendrons which have not yet been installed.    The Commission concurred with Town Planner Whitten’s recommendation.

MOTION to RELEASE $10,600 of the E&S Bond for the Application of Arvind Persaud and owners Irving and Penny Borookow requesting a site plan modification for a proposed truck sales and service to be located at 272 South Main Street.   [Assessors Map 38, Block 5, Lot 96, B-2 Zone].

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

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE:  Hemlock Court Subdivision - Request for Maintenance Bond release:

Town Planner Whitten reported Town Engineer Norton has inspected the property and has no problems with the project at this time.  Zoning Enforcement Officer Newton accompanied Town Engineer Norton on his inspection as well.  The amount of the bond being held is $24,000.

MOTION: To APPROVE the release of the Maintenance Bond for the Hemlock Court Subdivision, Phase II - Aspen Drive in the amount of $24,000.

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

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE: Kingshire 2, LLC - Dempsey Road and Napoleon Drive:

Town Planner Whitten noted Town Engineer Norton has reviewed the As-built drawings and is recommending the release of the Maintenance Bond based on four changes noted in his memo dated June 15, 2009.  Town Engineer Norton has recommended the Maintenance Bond be reduced to $300,000.

Chairman Ouellette questioned the current amount of the Maintenance Bond.  Town Planner Whitten requested this Item of Business be tabled until later in the Meeting to allow her time to review the Planning Office file.

MOTION: To TABLE this request until later in the Meeting.

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

Town Planner Whitten suggested taking Items 2 and 3 under the BUSINESS MEETING before Item 1 - Draft Farm Friendly Regulations as members of the public are in attendance to make presentations.

MOTION: To GO OUT OF ORDER and take the following items next:  BUSINESS MEETING/(3)  8-24 Referral for improvements to Scout Hall, and BUSINESS MEETING/(2)  Carl Crane - 100-102 Prospect Hill Road, possible zone change.

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

BUSINESS MEETING/(3)  8-24 Referral for improvements to Scout Hall:

Appearing to discuss this proposal was John Burnham, of 178 Scantic Road.  Mr. Burnham reported they are proposing two changes to the Scout Hall property:  1)  changing a window into a door to facilitate caterers to enter the kitchen; and 2) reconfigure the interior of an existing 16’ x 32’ tobacco shed into four cubicles to be used for storage.  Town Planner Whitten noted these internal modifications have come before the Commission because Scout Hall is a Town property, and therefore is subject to a 8-24 referral.  Any modifications made under Section 8-24 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that any capital improvements to a municipal building must be approved by the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Farmer cited concern that flammable materials might be stored in these cubicles.  Mr. Burnham indicated it is a requirement of Scout Hall that there should be no flammable materials stored in the facility but he couldn’t guarantee that would be the case.   He noted there is electricity and water service to the barn; these modifications must also be approved by the Building Official and the Fire Marshal, both of whom would address concerns regarding flammable materials.  Mr. Burnham reported that presently 16’ of the tobacco shed is a pavilion with an activity area, the next three bays are for Scout Hall equipment storage - which includes a Toro mower and a pick up truck - these bays are padlocked to prevent public access.  Town Planner Whitten concurred that this proposal is subject to review by the Building Official and the Fire Marshal.

MOTION:         To APPROVE the proposal as presented to perform improvements to Scout Hall and tobacco shed located on Abbe Road in accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes 8-24 referral to the Board of Selectmen with the condition that the Fire Marshal and the Building Official review for approval.

Devanney moved/Farmer Seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

BUSINESS MEETING/(2)  Carl Crane - 100-102 Prospect  Hill Road, possible zone change:

Mr. Crane advised the Commission he is the present owner of 100 - 102 Prospect Hill Road, which is the wooded property containing two existing homes located in front of the Connecticut Water Company water tower.  The size of the parcel is 2/3 of an acre.   Mr. Crane’s intent is to demolish the existing buildings/homes, and construct a new building.  The parcel contains a right-of-way that provides access to the water tower.  Mr. Crane would like to get away from that arrangement and has held discussions with the nursing home located on the adjacent property.   They have tentatively agreed that Mr. Crane could provide access to his property via utilization of the front parking row; Mr. Crane would then provide a road through the woods on his property.   The nursing home has requested the use be something that involves a medium amount of traffic - such as a medical facility like an adult daycare or wellness center or medical professional building; he would not propose anything like a McDonald’s.   Mr. Crane noted the parcel is presently zoned residential; the proposal for a professional building or adult day care would require a zone change to B-1.

Various options for access were discussed, including:  1) providing an additional access next to the driveway/right-of-way owned by the Connecticut Water Company - Mr. Crane suggested he would have to gain permission from the gas company.  It would also require the gas company to develop their property.   Mr. Crane suggested he has not spoken with the water company as access via that site would not be economically feasible.   2) continued discussion of access via the nursing home parking lot.  Commissioner Thurz cited concern for access via the nursing home property; he noted the parking lot for the nursing home is always full.  Commissioner O’Brien agreed, noting there would be a constant flow of traffic through the nursing home parking lot all day.   Mr. Crane reported he is trying to get the property ready to sell to a developer; he suggested he would put a deed restriction on the property including a requirement that the use be a professional building to reduce traffic.   Commissioner Mulkern suggested people might not know they needed to take an immediate left to access Mr. Crane’s property; Mr. Crane suggested he require that proper signage be installed.  Commissioner Mulkern questioned the ability to develop the parcel using the existing access to the water tower.  Mr. Crane suggested the current access is too narrow, and they wouldn’t allow that to happen because of the height of their water line.

Chairman Ouellette requested clarification of the present zone for 100 - 102 Prospect Hill Road?   Mr. Crane suggested one map indicates that on “this” map it’s shown as B-1, but Town Planner Whitten has advised him that historically his property, and that of the water company, has been residential.   Mr. Crane suggested that even without the driveway issues his proposal would still require a zone change.  Chairman Ouellette questioned what the zones were for other properties to the south on the east side of Route 5?   Mr. Crane suggested most are residential until you reach the Wood Group property.   Chairman Ouellette felt the issue of the zone really depends on the abutting property as well.  He questioned if the Commission allowed Mr. Crane’s property to be rezoned, and access was provided by the adjacent property owner, and if that property were then sold - how would that affect the traffic restriction?   Town Planner Whitten felt the new property owner would have to take the access issue into consideration.   Discussion followed of possible sale of Mr. Crane’s property to the nursing home, either for additional parking, or for a redesign/configuration of the nursing home as a campus situation.   Chairman Ouellette noted the nursing home parking lot is currently one way in/one way out access; he felt there was a sight line issue along Route 5 that required that design.  

Chairman Ouellette noted there is a communications tower next to the water tank as well; he questioned if there was a regulation citing a specific distance requirement - perhaps 200’ - between residential homes and communication towers?  He questioned if that distance would continue if the use changed to a professional building?   Town Planner Whitten noted location of towers fall within State jurisdiction of the Citing Council.   The communications tower is primarily for Town use, and is actually behind the water tank.  Mr. Crane suggested if there is a distance of 200’ then nothing could be built on this property as it’s only 2/3 of an acre.  Commissioner O’Brien questioned what size building Mr. Crane was proposing?   Mr. Crane suggested a 5,000 square foot building with 35+/- parking spaces.   Town Planner Whitten referenced Section 8.04.4a of the Zoning Regulations which requires a distance of 200’ from any residence, not any building; she thought they might have gotten a variance for the present tower.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned if the Commission approved the zone change would they be saying the property was developable with the existing access?   Town Planner Whitten suggested a developer would have to prove that; the Commission would only be approving a zone change.  She questioned the point in approving a zone change if there couldn’t be proper access to a parcel.   Chairman Ouellette noted there is no guarantee the Commission would approve a site plan; he questioned why should the Commission give an applicant false hope?   Commissioner Farmer suggested it would make the property more valuable to an abutting property owner.   Comissioner O’Brien felt leaving the parcel zoned residential wouldn’t benefit anyone going forward.   With the driveway situation no one would want to build a house up there, and they would be next to business properties on both sides.  Mr. Crane noted the property line is 35’ to 40’ from the water tower.   Commissioner O’Brien noted the water tower would remain an R-3 (residential) zone.  

Chairman Ouellette questioned when was the last time Town Planner Whitten could remember the Commission accepting a rezone for a B-2 without a Plan of Development; he noted it’s not required but it gives the Commission an understanding of what could go there.  Town Planner Whitten couldn’t recall such a situation in the 5 years she has been here.   She concurred there is no requirement for the submission of a Plan of Development but concurred that it does make the Commission’s job a lot easier as they can see if the rezone would fit the area.   Any use allowed in that zone can go in there if they can prove it fits.  She clarified that the Commission has no jurisdiction over the deed restriction; that would be between the property owners.  Chairman Ouellette suggested Mr. Crane consult with a land use attorney regarding the deed restriction.   He noted that even if the zone change is approved there is no guarantee Mr. Crane could build on the parcel without Site Plan approval.  Chairman Ouellette questioned Town Planner Whitten if the property remained residential and someone wanted to add an accessory apartment or construct an addition, would that be allowed?   Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively, noting it’s a legal non-conforming use which existed before the zone change.

Mr. Crane concluded his discussion; no action taken other than discussion.

MOTION: To TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.
Devanney moved/Farmer Seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

The Commission RECESSED at 8:18 p.m. and RECONVENED at 8:27 p.m.

BUSINESS MEETING/(1)  Draft Farm Friendly Regulations:

Town Planner Whitten noted she has been working with the Natural Resources Preservation Commission to develop farm-friendly regulations.   She has offered the Commission a preliminary draft for review.  The following items were discussed:

1)      Should the number of animals be regulated, what would that number be, and should the number be regulated only in residential (R-1, R-2, and R-3) zones?  Town Planner Whitten noted a parcel must contain 4 acres to be considered a farm; removal of manure is required.  Commissioner Devanney noted problems in the Margaret Drive area with pollution of wells due manure not being contained properly on nearby properties.   Discussion followed regarding useable land, such as reasonable dry upland area, vs. wetlands, steep slopes, etc.   No decision was made as to the acceptable number of animals; Town Planner Whitten to continue researching other agencies.         Regarding removal of manure from a residential zone, Town Planner noted the Health Department recommends removal while the Department of Agriculture recommends composting.   The consensus of the Commission favored removal.

2)      Section 305.4 Farm Stands:
*       Sub-paragraph #5 - Commissioner Devanney clarified that a Building Permit would be required (vs. may be required) .
*       Sub-paragraph #4 - ......... “proper” ingress and egress should be changed to “safe” ingress and egress.
*       Sub-paragraph #1 - “The temporary structures and sales area are compatible in size and scale with neighboring uses shall not exceed 300 square feet.
*       Discussion of set back requirements, which were noted to be 50’ back under Section 404.1(2).   Town Planner Whitten felt that requirement would be unreasonable for a farm stand as it couldn’t be seen.  See revisions in Sub-paragraph #1.
*       Sub-paragraph #2 - Chairman Ouellette questioned if the owners farm must be the same as the one the farm stand is located on?   Town Planner Whitten suggested it’s not unusual for a farmer to have numerous fields, with the stand located on one of the properties.   Part of that requirement is that the farmer should own the property on which the stand is located.

3)      Section 305.5 Other Related Uses:
*       Sub-paragraph #1 - Agriculturally Related Uses.  Various Commissioners cited concern for parking causing public hazards, including parking on narrow streets when no on-site parking was available.  The Commission requested adding “subject to on-site parking” to this section.

*       Sub-paragraph #2 - Non-Agriculturally Related Uses.  Chairman Ouellette suggested the concern would be a farmer - who might be surrounded by residential properties - renting out his property frequently.   Town Planner Whitten suggested the Commission could consider adding a Farm Related Special Use Permit Fee under the Fee Schedule being proposed later in the Meeting; the fee might be reduced from the regular Special Use Permit Fee.

4)      Section 305.6 Signage:  
*       Sub-paragraph #1 - Permanent Signs.  The Commission suggested “one permanent free standing or attached sign may be permitted “by right” for a farm or farm stand...........”
*       Sub-section 2 - Temporary/Seasonal Signs.  Discussion of additional signage based on linear feet of frontage, including along Route 5 which is actually a commercial zone.      The Commission revised bullet #2 as follows:  “Only one sign per farm, limited farm, farm store, seasonal farm stand and agriculturally related use is allowed.   One additional seasonal agricultural sign per every 300 linear feet of frontage on a public right of way on a farm or limited farm is permitted (max six)  .”
*       Sub-paragraph 3 - Directional Signs.  Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission a farmer, if he so chooses, can purchase a sign from the Department of Agriculture which would be located along a State road.   The purpose of the sign would be to direct people to a farm not located on a main road.  Town Planner Whitten noted there are approximately 250+/- farms in East Windsor.  The Commission questioned the Town’s ability to regulate signage along the State right-of-way?  Town Planner Whitten to acquire a copy of the Department of Agriculture’s regulations.

5)      Section 305.7 Other Considerations:
*       Retail sale of propane for personal use.  The Commission felt this use shouldn’t apply to the   “gentleman” farm, or those containing only 4 acres, or located within a residential zone.       Discussion considered movement of this regulation to another section, and perhaps be associated with a Special Use Permit with reduced fee.
        *       Farm Equipment Storage vs. junk.  Discussion/consideration continues.
        *       Field Workers and Housing.   Discussion/consideration continues.        
*       Keeping of bees.  Discussion of backyard hobbyist, imposing an acreage requirement, method of containment of bees, imposing permit requirements.

Town Planner Whitten noted the recent addition of Section 813.2 to the Special Use Regulations which addresses livestock in a residential zone.  Discussion considered continuing the regulation as written but reducing the permit fee because it’s a farm use.


BUSINESS MEETING/(4)  Fee Schedule - review after Board of Selectmen comments:

At the Board of Selectmen’s request the Commission considered the definition of “significant”.  The Commission suggested deleting the word “significant” and apply the fee to any modification.

The “livestock fee” was reduced to $125 as a Farm Special Use Permit Fee to be included under Section 305 of the Farm Regulations.

Town Planner Whitten noted all proposed fees include a mandatory $30 State Fee.  

Town Planner Whitten noted the Board of Selectmen questioned why an “After the Fact Fee” wasn’t being charged.  The Commission sited concern for the homeowner who is unaware of the regulation requirements vs. commercial applications which are supported by hired professionals.   The consensus of the Commission was to NOT charge an “After the Fact Fee”.  

BUSINESS MEETING/(5)  Correspondence:   None.

BUSINESS MEETING/(6)  Staff Reports:

Town Planner Whitten noted she will not be attending the next Commission meeting.   The continuation of the Coleman Farms Permit Extension is scheduled for that meeting.   Town Planner Whitten continues to work with Coleman Farms, and hopes to develop a schedule of events which everyone involved in the application can agree on.  

There will also be an application for a 1-lot resubdivision scheduled.

PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; PERMIT EXTENSIONS; ROAD ACCEPTANCE: Kingshire 2, LLC - Dempsey Road and Napoleon Drive:

Following review of the Planning Department file Town Planner Whitten reported that Dempsey Road would be included under Phase 2, which carries a Performance Bond of $167,000, while Phase 3 carries a Performance Bond of $416,000.   She noted Town Engineer Norton has recommended that the Performance Bond could be reduced to $300,000; her concern is that she’s not sure if Kingshire 2 and Phase 3 are the same.

The Commission decided to discuss this issue further at a future meeting in order to clarify the locations of the roads in relation to the phases.

MOTION: To TABLE A DECISION on the bond reduction on Kingshire 2, LLC - Dempsey Road and Napoleon Drive to the Commission’s next regularly scheduled Meeting on July 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES/June 11, 2009:  

It was noted page 7 was missing from the Commission’s review copy.

MOTION:  To TABLE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1549  dated June 11, 2009 to the Commission’s next regularly scheduled Meeting on July 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

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

SIGNING OF MYLARS/PLANS, MOTIONS:
*       Special Use Permit for Volume Reduction Facility for 33 Apothecaries Hall Road.
*       Saxon Lane, Rye Street Subdivision, As-Built Plan
*       Corrected Approval motion and conditions for Victory Outreach Ministries.

ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 10:12  p.m.

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



Respectfully submitted,
____________________________________________________________
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission