TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Public Hearing #1559
November 10, 2009
The Meeting was called to order at 7:05 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 five Regular Members (Devanney, Farmer, Gowdy, Ouellette, and Thurz), and two Alternate Members (Mulkern and O’Brien) were present. Alternate Member Matthews was absent. Chairman Ouellette noted all Regular members would sit in on all Items of Business this evening.
Also present was Town Planner Whitten.
Guests present in the audience were Selectmen Dick Pippin and Mark Simmons, Selectman-elect Burnham, and Kathy Pippin, Board of Finance Member, arrived later in the meeting.
FARM REGULATIONS WORKSHOP/Farm Regulations/Right to Farm Ordinance/Agriculture Buffers:
Town Planner Whitten opened discussion by explaining the Town of East Windsor has received an Agricultural Viability Grant for which part of the conditions of approval/receipt of the grant were to lay the groundwork for a farm preservation program, and to write farm-friendly regulations. The farm-friendly regulations, which are the subject of discussion this evening, were derived in part from recommendations made in the booklet entitled “Planning for Agriculture - A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities” prepared by the American Farmland Trust and Connecticut Conference for Municipalities. Town Planner Whitten also queried various Planning professionals under the Planners List Service for recommendations/suggestions regarding farm regulations written or proposed in other Connecticut towns. All that information was consolidated into the existing East Windsor Regulations and has become the draft before the audience and Commission this evening. Town Planner Whitten also noted that
during the previous workshop it had become abundantly clear that the previous draft needed to be reformatted to clarify regulations pertinent to limited/residential farms vs. large commercial farms. The Commission had additional discussions considering input received during the previous workshop, and input (written correspondence or e-mail) received from farmers. The result of that process is shown highlighted in yellow on the draft presented this evening. The Natural Resources Preservation Commission (NRPC) also provided comments, which are reflected in tonight’s draft as comments highlighted in green.
Town Planner Whitten noted two types of farms have been identified: 1) standard farms which occupy Zones A-1 and A-2 (which are reflected as the white areas on the Zoning Map) and must contain 3 acres. If a farm contains over 10 acres you still fall into the standard farm category. 2) limited/residential farms must contain 4 to 10 acres but are located in a non-agricultural/residential (i.e. not Zones A-1 or A-2); those areas are reflected as the yellow areas on the Zoning Map. Chairman Ouellette requested clarification that if he owned a 4 acre parcel in a residential zone he would be considered a limited residential farm because his land was located in a residential zone? Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively, noting such a farm located in a
residential zone would be located in a non-agricultural zone. Chairman Ouellette carried the clarification further, he questioned if he owned a parcel containing 12 acres located in a residential zone would he still be considered a farm? Town Planner Whitten clarified that he would be considered a farm if he owns over 10 acres; he can be a farm anywhere in town. The land must be contiguous and can be leased. An unidentified resident, speaking from the audience, questioned if wetlands is included in that acreage? Town Planner Whitten clarified that if you are a limited residential farm (which tend to be interspersed within residential areas) you must show that you have 1 useable acre; the useable acre can’t include steep slopes or septic areas. Town Planner Whitten READ FOR THE RECORD the definition of useable land, noting that animals must be kept away from steep slopes and wetlands to avoid erosion.
Residents were beginning to raise questions; Chairman Ouellette requested anyone wishing to speak please identify themselves and their address.
Rachel Thompson deRham: questioned the difference between Zones A-1 and A-2? Town Planner Whitten clarified that A-2 Zones contain steep slopes and often flood plain; a resident could not build a house in an A-2 Zone.
Heime _________: noted he owns a 1 acre lot next to Scantic Glen; he has been there since the 1960s; what is he considered? Chairman Ouellette suggested specifics of both types of farms will be discussed shortly. He indicated if a parcel is grandfathered now it will be grandfathered under the new regulations. Existing regulations are included in the discussion because the new regulations require that you would now need 4 acres to have a farm in a residential area, and 3 acres in an agricultural area.
Dick Pippin, 37 Woolam Road: half of the best land in town is zoned residential and it doesn’t grow houses; he has asked for 25 years to zone that land agricultural; make everything 3 acres; horses, chickens, all take the same acreage.
Town Planner Whitten suggested changing the requirement to 3 acres would cause problems with the co-existence of farms and houses.
Mr. Pippin suggested it’s criminal what you are doing now regarding the zoning. Town Planner Whitten suggested such a change would require a lot of study. Zoning regulations should be dynamic and constantly changing to better meet the needs of the community.
Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau, 775 Bloomfield Avenue, Windsor: questioned why 10 acres was used rather than 5 acres? Town Planner Whitten indicated the specification of 10 acres came from previous discussion (public input) with the farmers. Ms. Nichols suggested that under Public Act (PA) 490 there is no acreage requirement for a farm by State Statutes. Town Planner Whitten questioned if Ms. Nichols was recommending 3 acres rather than 10 for the farm definition? Ms. Nichols repeated she was questioning the requirement for 10 acres rather than 3 acres. Town Planner Whitten reiterated the 4 acre requirement is for a farm located in a non-agricultural zone; if you have 10 acres you are a full farm in any zone.
Commissioner Farmer felt the audience may be confusing that the Commission was saying they couldn’t grow anything or have animals; the regulations are trying to address the livestock issue.
Ruth Phillips Grant: questioned that the Commission was trying to hammer out how to handle farmland located in a residential zone? Commissioner Farmer suggested a review of the proposed regulations would indicate there are no restrictions on crops, but for anything under 4 acres the regulations do prohibit livestock. Ms. Phillips Grant questioned that the 4 acres is on the books now? Town Planner Whitten replied affirmatively, noting the regulations are trying to clarify the type of livestock.
Commissioner Gowdy clarified for Ms. Nichols of the Connecticut Farm Bureau that PA 490 has nothing to do with what the PZC is trying to do with the proposed regulations. Ms. Nichols felt she heard a reference to assessment during the discussion.
Town Planner Whitten noted that in the current regulations you are allowed to have “a small number of horses, etc.”; that language needs to be clarified as to what number constitutes a small number. Town Planner Whitten referenced Section 305.1, noting the proposal is for “2 horses”, “10” chickens has been changed to “30” chickens because she has been advised if you order chickens they come in quantities of 25. Town Planner Whitten noted those numbers are on the books now, and are relative to all farms. The proposed regulations are taking those restrictions away. Town Planner Whitten noted receipt of correspondence from Scott Thomas (a resident) which identifies animal units commonly used to define an allowable number of animals. She noted the
numbers specified by Mr. Thomas indicate the Commission is right on the money with regard to number of animals specified in the proposed regulations. Dick Pippin, offering input from the audience, informed the Commission there was a farmer in Somers that milked all their cows on 5 acres, and it was off-site. Commissioner Farmer suggested that wasn’t a valid argument if those cows were located in an agricultural zone; for the argument to be valid the zone being discussed must be residential. Mr. Pippin suggested he hated to see numbers. Town Planner Whitten suggested when a regulation is proposed it can’t include everything; there is a waiver provision at the end of the proposed regulation which would eliminate the need for people to go to the ZBA, it’s not requiring a Special Use Permit. She felt the proposed regulations were fair to everyone.
Don Tuller, Tuller Farm, West Simsbury (also President of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation): Mr. Tuller cited the following issues he opposed, or questioned: 1) a 3/4 vote, 4 out of 5, is required for a waiver. Town Planner Whitten clarified that the 4 out of 5 positive votes constitutes a vote of 3/4 of the members; Chairman Ouellette suggested it referred to a super majority. 2) with regard to manure storage guidelines, he suggested Simsbury didn’t have any agricultural zones, basically it says they allow farming in all zones; he felt manure storage 100’ from a residence was reasonable. 3) we are proposing a 3 acre minimum for livestock and they have animals units. 4) regarding properly composted manure, Mr. Tuller felt the
proposed regulations preclude a land application of manure. Town Planner Whitten suggested if a person is located in a 4 acre zone and doesn’t have the acreage to spread the manure then it needs to be composted. Mr. Tuller felt if the Commission was trying to adopt farm-friendly regulations the proposed regulations really aren’t doing that. He cited the State of Connecticut recognizes that agriculture is a positive thing in a community; we don’t know where our future food will come from; agriculture is compatible with residences. Town Planner Whitten reiterated the 4 acre specification is for a limited farm located in a residential zone. Mr. Tuller turned his discussion to control of flies and odor; Commissioner Farmer suggested that portion of the regulation would apply if the Planning Office received complaints from a neighbor. Mr. Tuller suggested under the right-to-farm laws they are allowed to have livestock; the
Commission isn’t going to be able to eliminate it. Town Planner Whitten reiterated the Commission is not asking to eliminate livestock. Commissioner Farmer clarified that if there are flies and the owner can’t control it; he indicated he understood the farming issues but the regulations speak about farms located in a residential zone. The town must have a way to deal with animals in a residential area. Town Planner Whitten reiterated the regulations are designed to protect the farmer but must protect the neighbors of farms located in a residential zone as well.
Ruth Phillips Grant: suggested she would like to see something in the regulations about seasonal fluctuations due to the number of animals increasing with Spring births. Town Planner Whitten suggested that issue is addressed in Section 305.1(2)(d).
Scott Thomas, Stiles Road: suggested the Town of Oxford says if the animals are causing a nuisance. Town Planner Whitten suggested Oxford is much larger and more spread out than East Windsor.
Ray Noble: cited there were a number of farms throughout Enfield and Southwood Acres came in and ran the farmers out; he doesn’t feel the ZBA will do anything; he felt you might as well shut down Ellington. Commissioner Gowdy, citing his farming history, noted that the same farmers Mr. Noble is referring to willingly sold their land to build those houses. He felt one of the problems facing this Commission is if you tell the farmer he can’t sell his land he’ll go berserk.
Amy Stegall, President, Connecticut Horse Council, Inc.: applauded the Commission for trying to be friendly to the residential farmer but she felt the Commission might not
realize that the Town could call the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Horse Council, or the animal control officers to address these complaints; the Commission has many tools at its disposal. Ms. Stegall felt the Commission was trying a one-size-fits-all approach to the regulations; what works for one animal might kill another. Ms. Stegall suggested there are 60,000 horses in Connecticut and the majority are kept on small farms, and many of the small farms are on the verge of collapse; all it will take is neighbors complaining. Ms. Stegall felt the Commission was setting itself up for putting too much pressure on the small farmer, they will have to sell, and it will all become houses.
Town Planner Whitten reported they have gone to the Health Department; it was the Health Department that recommended the wording added to this regulation regarding the manure. Town Planner Whitten questioned if the preference was to have no animal regulations; Ms. Stegall suggested there are towns that do that. Town Planner Whitten felt East Windsor must deal with the existing residents and the residential farms
Ms. Stegall reported she needed to complete reading the proposed regulations but she suggested someone can have a beautiful farm on 3 acres, and a less appealing farm on 20 acres. She suggested contacting the Department of Agriculture for recommendations or assistance. Town Planner Whitten indicated the Town can’t rely on the Department of Agriculture to do inspections; there is no one left in that Department in the State. They have asked for assistance and had to wait 3 months. Town Planner Whitten indicated she understood what Ms. Stegall was saying but the reality of it is it hasn’t worked.
Claude ____________: has been in town for 45 years, and farming most of it, what’s happened in town that he isn’t aware of in those 45 years that’s requiring all these regulations? Town Planner Whitten reiterated the regulations were written in response to the requirements of the Agricultural Viability Grant.
Sharon Muska: reported she has no animals. Mrs. Muska questioned who gave us this grant? Town Planner Whitten replied the Town applied for it. Mrs. Muska queried that one of the conditions was an assessment of the farms and these regulations? There are also sign regulations which will put them out of business; these regulations are ridiculous. (Signs at) 3’ high; Mrs. Muska suggested they won’t be seen. Town Planner Whitten reiterated that presently no one is allowed to have any signs; these regulations make the signs allowable. Town Planner Whitten suggested the Commission must also consider safety of drivers with regard to the placement and size of signs. Ms. Muska angrily suggested she didn’t care about safety. Town
Planner Whitten requested recommendations for the Commission to work with. Mrs. Muska referenced the regulations, citing “4 feet”; she chastised the Commission to “use its head.” Chairman Ouellette asked for comments; Mrs. Muska superciliously suggested “common sense”. Chairman Ouellette suggested the Commission was looking for input. Commissioner Gowdy noted the regulations are allowing one sign per farm on corners of intersections. Mrs. Muska noted that on Rye Street they currently have 2 signs; no one can find their house. Commissioner Gowdy noted that at an intersection there could be 10 signs for 10
farms. Ruth Phillips Grant suggested that in Glastonbury they allow a sign post which then lists all the farms nearby. Town Planner Whitten acknowledged that was a good suggestion.
Ray Hocutt, 199 Scantic Road: if the intent of these regulations is to preserve the agricultural character of town - which was the reason they moved here from East Granby - he is personally aware of 2 horse farms that will be going out of business because of what is happening on limited farms; he felt you can have a nice farm on 2 acres. Mr. Hocutt would propose lowering the 4 acre limit to 2 acres, which is what it was in Granby, and there didn’t seem to be a problem. He felt 2 acres was acceptable for an animal that size. Town Planner Whitten requested clarification that Mr. Hocutt was suggesting a reduction to 2 acres; Mr. Hocutt replied affirmatively. Town Planner Whitten suggested Granby didn’t allow the 2 acres at present. Granby is also more spread
out, and doesn’t have the high density as East Windsor.
Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau, 775 Bloomfield Avenue, Windsor: reported that she works a lot with the Department of Agriculture (DOA). Ms. Nichols didn’t personally think the proposed regulations are farm-friendly overall; she is concerned hearing that the DOA funded an Agricultural Viability Grant that supports these. Ms. Nichols would like the DOA to look at these regulations. She reported that during the last agricultural census 1300 out of 4700 farms contained 10 or less acres; almost 3,000 contained 49 acres. Ms. Nichols also noted that Connecticut has a right-to-farm law since 1981 which addresses the 5 nuisance issues. She suggested the DOA will come out to make an investigation, and Joe Weidimann of the Department of
Environmental Protection will look at manure management issues.
Tom Muska: reported that for 18+/- years they have had signs out in East Windsor, they are professionally done and are attractive, he hasn’t heard that any of his signs block the view. Mr. Muska noted the sign on Old Ellington Road brings them a lot of business. The signs are not up all year. They also have the agricultural signs from the State (pathfinder signs). To have smaller, or no signs, would make his farm no longer viable. Town Planner Whitten questioned the size of his current signs; Mr. Muska guesstimated 1 1/2’ x ? - he wasn’t sure of the size. Town Planner Whitten suggested the proposed 3 square foot sign is the size of a stop sign, or larger. Mr. Muska felt the sign on Windsorville Road is larger but he
isn’t aware that it blocks anyone’s view; his other signs are smaller. Chairman Ouellette clarified that under the current regulations those signs are not allowed, but the Commission is hearing what you are saying.
Scott Thomas: questioned if a kid wants to join 4-H and have a bunny would that be allowed under these regulations? Town Planner Whitten replied not if they don’t have 4 acres.
Steve Dearborn, 144 East Road, 95 Rye Street, 68 Newberry Road: Mr. Dearborn’s comments were, as usual, strongly presented. He initially questioned why? He’s lived in town for 56 years and has farmed for about 2/3 of that time. Why do we need to go
through this now? Because nothing goes on in this 2 horse town. The Town won’t let anything come to town and fights with anything that comes to town. Everyone has been having a good time doing their farming and you’re talking about permitting the guys. You’re going to spend more time in that office. No one wants this grant; take that grant money from wherever you got it; we don’t want it. Hopefully, with the Republicans taking over they will change the town.
Regarding the Agricultural Viability Grant, Mr. Dearborn felt some of this might be self-inflicted. If the purpose of the grant is to develop farm-friendly regulations, Mr. Dearborn doesn’t’ feel that’s part of the grant. He felt the regulations are what you presented to get the grant money; they are not forcing it on us. Mr. Dearborn questioned how much was the value of the grant and what will it be used for? Town Planner Whitten indicated the money is about $34,800, and it will be used for staff to prepare the farm assessments; if there is money coming to the Town it will go in the General Fund. Mr. Dearborn suggested - “send it back”.
Commissioner Farmer asked to make a request to the audience. He suggested the audience participants keep their tone civil; he didn’t need to be assaulted. Commissioner Farmer found the public’s attitude to be offensive. Mr. Dearborn apologized for being offensive. Commissioner Gowdy indicated the Town Planner is trying to give you justification for developing the regulations, but it appears some of the audience doesn’t understand the intent of the regulations.
Jim Richards, 43 Rockville Road: suggested his concern is that the signs are illegal now, and the regulations will make them legal.
John deRham, Thompson Farm, Ellington and East Windsor: regarding assistance from the State, Mr. Durand reported he spent 6 months at the DEP because someone told them they were not a farm although they are the 19th oldest operating farm in Connecticut. Don’t go to the DEP if you file a Schedule F, they look at the fuel tax exemption. If you want to go for grants go to the USDA.
Mr. deRham suggested Ellington is going through the same issues, they are also going to 2 acres and it will cut the ability of the Cohens to sell their land. There are large landowners and small farms and if the large landowners become the Town’s open space there are only a few people who vote to control the land, and there are a lot of people in a subdivision who vote, so, when you look at the zoning regulations and how there were put in place the Town can change the zoning regulations without telling the people they affect. The fact that we are having this discussion is important. The Thompson Farm is a National Bicentennial Farm, what you should look at with some of these zoning codes in Ellington or East Windsor is that they were passed in the 50s or 60s. Mr. deRham questioned
if anyone knew that East Windsor was in the Wall Street Journal 6 years ago - East Windsor was the most desirable town to have a house built. The farmers in Ellington are being squeezed.
Mr. deRham felt the rules being talked about should be put on the table. You are a farm if you file Schedule F. Put the regulations to a referendum. Mr. Durand suggested people not get mad at Town Planner Whitten and the Board, she is trying to rewrite 50 years of stuff most people in this room didn’t know was in affect now. Mr. deRham cited Cal Myers is doing well developing his property and it’s beautiful land being cut up.
Ray Hocutt, 199 Scantic Road: suggested he didn’t feel it’s an issue of not understanding what you’re doing, he felt it’s a difference of interpretation. Town Planner Whitten questioned what the farmer was losing? Mr. Hocutt suggested there are a sizeable number of farms in the residential areas that will lose their character. Commissioner Gowdy noted existing farms would be grandfathered. Mr. Hocutt suggested grandfathering didn’t do anything for him; he felt it will have a reverse affect by what you are saying in the residential zone. Commissioner Farmer suggested adding language regarding grandfathering to the regulations; Mr. Hocutt suggested that’s only good until the property changes hands. Town Planner Whitten and
Commissioner Gowdy clarified that it’s the property that’s grandfathered. Mr. Hocutt questioned if that would be for perpetuity? Town Planner Whitten and Commissioner Gowdy concurred, noting it was supported by case law.
Don Noble, 180 Welles Road: suggested grandfathering sounds great but questioned what happens to someone down the street who wants to do 4-H, now they can’t. He suggested there was also a lot of land in Broad Brook which now would require a Special Use Permit if the acreage was under 4 acres. Mr. Noble felt the Commission should go through the whole zoning table.
Eileen Wagner, 227 Main Street: felt the most damaging thing is the young people becoming interested in farming, we want to set the stage to educate these kids to continue for generations. It isn’t just about the 4-H, it’s about our future. A child should be able to have chickens if they want to understand farming.
Don Tuller, Tuller Farm, West Simsbury (also President of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation): suggested he understands the Town has regulations on the books not being enforced, and the Commission is trying to be more farm-friendly - you referenced the Connecticut State DOA definition of farms, he questioned why not use it in the regulations? It’s the definition of agriculture in Connecticut, and if you incorporate it in the regulations on the books it might clarify things mentioned later. It may simplify things. Mr. Tuller commended the Commission’s previous workshop you care, “and democracy is painful”. He suggested the Commission is wordsmithing, and he’s hearing that tonight. He again suggested that if you start with
the State Statues it might clarify things, although it won’t address how you define your zones.
Steve Dearborn: suggested when Kingshire (subdivision) was built the Commission had
the guys put in the deeds that people would be aware of truck traffic, so when they bought their houses and lived there they would be aware of Herb’s trucks. He questioned why not put that in for the farms, that people that buy the houses next to these farms know they will be living next to a farm. Mr. Dearborn suggested he can smell Ellington on a good day, and he loves it - although his wife hates it - should he shut down Ellington because his wife hates it? Commissioner Gowdy advised Mr. Dearborn the Commission does that now (plan and deed notations regarding the proximity of farming operations) but sometimes it becomes a health issue.
Dick Pippin: referenced Section 3.05.1 (Limited/Residential Farms - Agricultural Restrictions), subsection 5 - Mr. Pippin felt it should say “a barn or similar appropriate shelter shall be provided for all livestock - ‘period’” - he questioned why it should reference a parcel containing 5 or less acres? Town Planner Whitten and Chairman Ouellette clarified that the reference to 5 acres has been “struckout” and highlighted in green in the draft revision presented to the audience tonight. Mr. Pippin then referenced the 2’ specification for a buffer for a paddock; Town Planner Whitten and Chairman Ouellette clarified that the 2’ specification has been changed to “5” and also highlighted in green under the
draft revision presented to the audience tonight. Mr. Pippin suggested the revisions need to be dated by the hour.
John Burnham, 178 Scantic Road: thought what was happening tonight was really terrific for the townspeople and the Zoning Board, even though it might sound confrontational we are making progress. The economy is causing fears and that’s what fueling the passion. He thanked Town Planner Whitten for sending the paperwork to his house.
Regarding the waiver, 4 out of 5 is tough, he would like to see 2 out of 5, it would be easier if someone needed to get 3 people. Commissioner Gowdy suggested the waiver is a special hardship, such as a unique site; you must convince people of your situation. Mr. Burnham suggested lowering the bar a little bit.
Regarding the sign issue, that’s a thorn is everyone’s side for a lot of reasons; it’s the economy again. Town Planner Whitten clarified, again, that now the current regulations don’t allow any permanent signs whatever; the proposed regulations are giving the people the ability to have signage that’s legal.
Al Grant, Melrose Road: felt the intent is to make the regulations farm-friendly and promote agriculture in East Windsor. Mr. Grant suggested making a recommendation regarding wording on the signage so the Town knows how to respond; if you have something specific they will know how to address it.
Don Tuller, Tuller Farm, West Simsbury (also President of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation): referenced Section 3.05.1 (Limited/Residential Farms - Agricultural Restrictions), subsection 4 - regarding the off set from the property line, if you have an off set you will have a little area which would be a maintenance
problem, and you would also be setting up a farmer to lose that land in adverse possession. Town Planner Whitten clarified, again, that this section references the limited farms located in a residential area, and the problem was if someone had prize roses the animal couldn’t get through the fence to munch on them. Mr. Tuller suggested the fence - which should be a proper boundary fence - should be put on the property line; the paddock would be inside the proper boundary fence.
Rachel Thompson deRham: reported she has been listening and trying to decide why people are coming to East Windsor to live. Is it because it’s a rural community and they like it, and if that’s the case they come on the terms that it’s not West or East Hartford, and it’s a rural community and you get the wonderful aroma of manure. Mrs. deRham felt the farm signs should be welcomed because it says we are still growing something here; her neighbor’s signs are handsome; why not encourage farm signs? She questioned if one sign would really help people? Town Planner Whitten reiterated the regulations are proposing signage now. Chairman Ouellette suggested he felt he was hearing people wanted more signage above and beyond the amount proposed. Mrs. deRham suggested Town Planner Whitten and Chairman Ouellette were discussion directional signage. Town Planner Whitten reiterated that as a Commission, and staff, they need to be concerned about the (sightline) view and traffic safety.
Mrs. Durand questioned if a sign was put on a barn was that considered a sign under the regulations? Town Planner Whitten concurred, that would be a sign, but currently nothing is allowed, the proposed regulations will allow 32 square feet. She reiterated that she used the recommendations from the farmland guide from the State (as referenced earlier - “Planning for Agriculture - A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities” prepared by the American Farmland Trust and Connecticut Conference for Municipalities) when drafting these regulations.
Don Grant, 114 Melrose Road: indicated he thought the issue of the fence was resolved at the last meeting. He suggested that if the fence is designed for the species it’s designed to hold that animal; the fence shouldn’t’ be the issue. Mr. Grant felt the fence needs to stay on the property line.
Regarding the signage, he recalled that his family had a farm stand doing business something like the Muskas, and they had signage that exceeded the Town’ limit and everyone looked the other way because people were supporting the farms. Now A-frame signs showed up on in Sophia’s Plaza, and the enforcement officer sent out letters to take down the temporary signs, including themselves. Mr. Grant indicated he understands the farmers are being divorced from the commercial properties, and when those people put up the A-frames it won’t hurt the farms.
John deRham: with regard to Melrose, East Windsor is comprised of 5 villages; he felt there should be a sign committee for agricultural signs. He cited Lyman Orchards, or farms in South Glastonbury, surrounding areas are all residential and those communities all have classy signs. He liked that there should be signs in special places in town for what the town produces; much of the land is cropland. Those signs bring people in, and we want them to stay here.
Regarding the fences they used to go to the middle of a stream but now he hears that streams move.
Chairman Ouellette suggested he is more confused than ever; personally he is no where near advancing this to the next level. He noted he was encouraged by the comments, but he felt the Commission has more work to do; another workshop needs to be held.
Commissioner Farmer advised Mr. Dearborn the language regarding buffers has been taken from Suffield regulations; he read an excerpt of the language proposed. Town Planner Whitten suggested she received a copy of regulations from the Town of Lebanon whose language she preferred. She noted the notation requirement needs to go in the Subdivision Regulations, which is a different discussion than is occurring tonight. Town Planner Whitten also noted the handout provided tonight noted “pigs” on the top also came from the Town of Lebanon.
Commissioner Farmer suggested the 4H issues are something the Commission hadn’t considered; he suggested people send Town Planner Whitten suggestions as to how to address that in a residential neighborhood.
Chairman Ouellette queried the Commission regarding sending the proposed regulations to another level. The consensus of the Commission was to digest the comments offered this evening and consider further revisions prior to holding another workshop. Commissioner Thurz noted it’s not the Commission’s intent to put anyone out of business. Commissioner Mulkern suggested it’s important to understand the Commission is trying to move forward and help people; it’s not adversarial although some people might feel it is.
Amy Stegall, President, Connecticut Horse Council, Inc.: referenced Section 3.05.1 (Limited/Residential Farms - Agricultural Restrictions), subsection 5 - she questioned if the whole section was struckout, or just the underlined material? Town Planner Whitten indicated the material to be removed from the proposed language is the struckout text. Ms. Stegall suggested perhaps the Commission was getting into too much animal husbandry rather than zoning; maybe that was more the purview of the farmer.
Regarding the steep slopes, she questioned if there was a problem? Town Planner Whitten suggested there are a lot of steep slopes, which are highly erodible, in East Windsor. Ms. Stegall suggested her property is hilly and she keeps her horses on those slopes, and they do quite well. Town Planner Whitten suggested the restriction is common in regulations from other towns.
Don Tuller, Tuller Farm, West Simsbury (also President of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation): Mr. Tuller suggested the right-to-farm ordinance talks about agriculture, not agriculture in a residential zone being treated differently. He suggested Suffield’s language is more useful to agriculture rather than Lebanon. Mr. Tuller suggested that would be one of the more farm-friendly things you could do.
Ron Hocutt, 199 Scantic Road: didn’t consider the Commission adversarial; he suggested he wouldn’t want to trade places with the Commission.
Sharon Muska: suggested the grant was being talked about like it been granted. Town Planner Whitten clarified they were given approval for the grant, so when we complete the requirements the Town will get the money. Town Planner Whitten suggested that regardless of the receipt of the grant, she felt the revision of the regulations needs to be done for the Town. Chairman Ouellette suggested whether it’s this language or something else, currently there is a deficiency regarding the signage. He questioned if anyone present didn’t want the sign regulations to go through? No one protested or spoke in opposition. Town Planner Whitten suggested that alone has accomplished something.
Steve Dearborn: suggested we are talking about a lot of things, a lot of things humans can’t control. What if you have 2 horses, and the next morning you have another little horse? Town Planner Whitten and Chairman Ouellette noted that has been addressed in the proposed regulations. Town Planner Whitten suggested the biggest issue is how to deal with the residential zones; the limited farms tend to be the biggest issue.
MOTION: To TAKE A TEN MINUTE BREAK.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
The Commission RECESSED at 8:50 p.m. and RECONVENED at 9:06 p.m.
LET THE RECORD SHOW Selectman Simmons and Selectman-elect Burnham left the Meeting during the recess.
RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:
Chairman Ouellette acknowledged receipt of the following Application:
* Herb Holden Trucking, Inc., - NORCAP - for Special Use Permit for earth products removal in 2 phases comprising 30.3+/- acres. Assessor’s Map #41, Block 49, Lot 17C. Zoning Districts M-1 and A-2.
PERFORMANCE BONDS - ACTIONS; EXTENSION; ROAD ACCEPTANCE: Metro North - Request from Mark W. Friend of Megson & Heagle (on behalf of White Diamond) for final release of the erosion control bond for the parking lot expansion at Metro North, One Corporate Road, Enfield (2.2 acres in East Windsor). (Tabled from previous meeting):
Town Planner Whitten reported the Applicant had been advised of the need to plant grass at this location; the Planning Department has not yet received any updated correspondence regarding this issue.
NEW BUSINESS: USA Hauling & Recycling, Inc. - Site Plan Approval for a Change of Use, expansion of gravel storage area and drainage improvements at 3 & 5 Shoham Road, owned by Laird Building, LLC. Proposed Use at 3 Shoham Road is the manufacture, maintenance and storage of empty containers. [M-1 Zone; Map 3, Block 17, Lot S3] (Deadline for decision 12/17/09) TEMPORARILY ON HOLD.
Town Planner Whitten reported this Item of Business remains on hold.
NEW BUSINESS: USA Hauling & Recycling, Inc. - Site Plan Approval for a Change of Use, expansion of gravel storage area and drainage improvements at 3 & 5 Shoham Road, owned by Laird Building, LLC. Proposed Use at 5 Shoham Road is a dispatch center, truck repair and parking and empty container storage. [M-1 Zone; Map 3, Block 17, Lot S4] (Deadline for decision 12/17/09) TEMPORARILY ON HOLD.
Town Planner Whitten reported this Item of Business remains on hold.
NEW BUSINESS: Rejean Realty, Inc. - Modification of a site lighting plan for the Norton Glen Condominiums,
North Norton Road & Reggie Way, owned by the Norton Glen Condo Assoc., Inc. [MFDD Zone; Map 30, Block 32, Lot 8B] (Deadline for decision 12/31/09):
Chairman Ouellette read the description of this Item of Business. Appearing to discuss this Application was Seth Jacoby, attorney for Rejean Jacques; Mr. Jacques was also present in the audience.
The Application is for a modification to a Site Plan approved by this Commission in 2002. During construction of the Norton Glen Condominiums by Mr. Jacques the approved lighting plan was changed by CL&P to provide better energy efficient lighting for the project. Attorney Jacoby has presented the Commission with one plan
modification (noted as being designed in 2004) which indicates the location of the revised lighting by “red dots” interspersed throughout the plan. Existing pole locations are reflected on the 2004 plan as “yellow dots”.
Commissioner Gowdy questioned if the pole height was higher than that approved under the 2002 plan? Mr. Jacques suggested they were higher.
Discussion followed regarding the plan approved vs. the plan modified by CL&P, the normal plan modification process - which is usually done prior to initiation of the change, and Mr. Jacques implementation of the CL&P plan prior to PZC approval. Town Planner Whitten noted that when Mr. Jacques applied for Building Permits he was advised of the normal plan process. Chairman Ouellette noted the Commission’s intent to treat every applicant consistently regarding the application process. Commissioner Gowdy concurred, noting the Commission’s requirements regarding height - 15’ - of light poles to prevent spillage of lighting to other property owners. Chairman Ouellette questioned if that height had been exceeded with this installation? Mr. Jacque felt the height of
poles was higher than 15’. Town Planner Whitten referenced Section 603.2(d) - Outdoor Illumination of the regulations, noting pole height must not exceed 20’ but the Commission encourages 12’ - 15’ in height. Discussion followed regarding the current regulation requirements vs. the CL&P standards, clarification from CL&P regarding current standards, and the possible need to update the regulations.
Town Planner Whitten noted the Norton Glen Homeowners Association has submitted a letter citing their support of the revised lighting. Attorney Jacoby noted he had personally spoken with Mr. Dawley (Craig Dawley, Association President) who co-signed this Application.
Town Planner Whitten advised Mr. Jacques and Attorney Jacoby of the need to file a mylar of the approved (2002) plan overlain with the CL&P modification (2004).
MOTION: To APPROVE the Site Plan Modification for the Application of Rejean Realty Inc., and owner Norton Glen Condo Assoc., Inc., c/o Craig Dawley for modification of a site lighting plan at Scantic Glen Phase VI, a/k/a Norton Glen Condos located on the west side of Norton Road, MFDD Zone, Map 30, Block 32, Lot 8B.
Northeast Utilities Ct. Light and Power Company, Direct Buried DB) Map Reggie Way, East Windsor, Norton Rd/Reggie Way, scale 1” = 40’, dated 1/27/04, last revised 4/15/05.
1) A New mylar shall be filed in Land Records and Planning Department.
Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
BUSINESS MEETING/(1) Review of Bylaws:
The Commission discussed the following items:
* Article II - Membership, Subsection 2.4 - Disqualification of Members vs. 2.6 - Attendance: lack of attendance over a lengthy period of time was noted; options for dealing with the lack of participation was discussed. It was felt the newly approved Charter gives the Board of Selectmen (BOS) the ability to act on such issues. Town Planner Whitten suggested the Commission advise the BOS of the situation. Selectman Pippin, speaking from the audience, suggested the Commission give the BOS the information and it will be dealt with.
* Article III - Officers of the Commission, Subsection 3.5 - Terms of Office, paragraph b: wording has been changed to conduct election of officers and review of bylaws at the second meeting in October, clarification that the voting members for
election must be regular members and must be present to agree to their nomination, deletion of the last sentence.
* Article IV - Meetings, Subsection 4.1 - Regular Meetings: deletion of adjournment of meetings at 10:30 p.m. unless waived by unanimous vote, removal of the majority vote to schedule applications for the second meeting/work session.
* Article IV - Meetings, Subsection 4.5 - Order of Business: moved “approval of minutes”/item (m) up in the agenda to be considered after item (d) Added Agenda Items.
* Article IV - Meetings, Subsection 4.7 - New Agenda Items: Town Planner Whitten to review and offer recommendations for subsequent revisions.
* Article IV - Meetings, Subsection 4.8 - Procedures for Conduct of Meeting: discussion of dealing with inappropriate conduct or unruly members of the public during an active meeting.
* Article VII Committees, Subsection 7.1 - Standing Committees: removal of last sentence.
MOTION: To EXTEND THIS MEETING UNTIL 11 O’CLOCK.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Chairman Ouellette requested a written draft of revisions proposed this evening for the Commission’s consideration for approval at the next meeting.
BUSINESS MEETING/(2) Correspondence:
Chairman Ouellette noted receipt of letter submitted by Tom Muska; Chairman Ouellette READ THE LETTER FOR THE RECORD. Chairman Ouellette noted Mr. Muska’s comments have been well documented.
BUSINESS MEETING/(3) Staff Reports:
* Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission she will not attend the next Commission meeting. Items available for discussion were considered. The Commission agreed to consider the initial presentation for the Application of Herb Holden Trucking, and the revised draft of the farm regulations.
* Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission that when installing the sound reduction barrier on the USA Hauling property containing the recycling facility they have found that the existing fence has been installed 10’ into the buffer. USA Hauling may need to take down a few trees to install the stanchions for the barrier. Commissioner Thurz noted he has walked that area of the property and found it to be a thick tree line. The
Commission agreed to allow Town Planner Whitten to handle the adjustment as a Staff decision.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES/October 27, 2009:
MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1558 Regular Meeting dated October 27, 2009 as amended: Page 1, ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM: Alternate Member O’Brien shown as present when he was absent; Page 9, BUSINESS MEETING/(1) Farm Regulations - Discussion/(a) Right to Farm ordinance/(b) Agriculture Buffers, Section 305.4 Farm Stores and Section 305.5 Farm Stands: “Town Planner Whitten noted that the proposed language allows Farm
Stores (a permanent structure) STANDS in a residential zone for properties containing between 4 and 10 acres under the Special Use Permit process. Farm Stands STORES would
not be permitted in a residential zone, but a limited/residential farmer could come in to apply for a farm stand STORE under the Special Use Permit process. No changes were proposed for either section.”
Farmer moved/Devanney seconded/
VOTE: In Favor: Devanney/Farmer/Ouellette/Thurz
Opposed: No one
SIGNING OF MYLARS/PLANS, MOTIONS:
* Herb Holding Trucking - Motion
* USA Hauling - Motion
* Heavy’s Auto - Motion
MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 11:00 p.m.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission