TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Public Hearing #1579
November 9, 2010
*******Draft Document – Subject to Commission Approval*******
The Meeting was called to order in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT. at 7:02 P. M. 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. Chairman 0ullette noted all Regular Members would sit in, and vote, on all Items of Business this evening.
Also present was Town Planner Whitten.
Guests: Art Enderle, Supervisor, East Windsor Water Pollution Control Authority; Ed Alibozek, Chief Operator, East Windsor Water Pollution Control Authority; Paul Anderson, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority Commission; Thomas Davis, Vice Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority Commission; Eric Moffett, Chairman, Economic Development Commission; Jim Richards, Member, Economic Development Commission; Kathy Pippin, Board of Finance.
ADDED AGENDA ITEMS: None.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES/October 26, 2010:
MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of Public Hearing #1578 dated October 26, 2010 as amended:
Page 11, NEW BUSINESS: Allied Community Services – Site Plan Approval for overflow parking at 6 Craftsman Road. [M-1 Zone; Map 15, Block 19, Lot 12D], Approval Motion, General Conditions: #7, “In Accordance with Section
13.5.4 900.3h of the Zoning Regulations,……………….”
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS:
Chairman Ouellette noted receipt of the following Application:
- Application of T-Mobile Northeast LLC for Site Plan Approval to install 6 panel antennas on existing water tank, along with associated ground equipment, at 41 Depot Street, owned by the Connecticut Water Company. [B-1 & R-2 Zones; Map 23, Block 44, Lot 35].
COMBINED WORKSHOP/Economic Development Commission – Visioning for Route 140:
Attending to participate in this workshop were Eric Moffett, Chairman, and Jim Richards, both of the Economic Development Commission.
Town Planner Whitten suggested the Town needs to continue with the collaborative process which has occurred to this point, and to work towards a positive goal for a vision for the development of the Route 140 corridor which was recently approved by the townspeople for expansion of the sewer line. She noted that the Economic Development Commission (EDC) would like to see this plan go forward, and have asked to appear before the Commission this evening to discuss ideas for potential development.
To assist with the discussion Mr. Moffett prepared a short document, entitled “A Plan for Community Development along Route 140”. The document will be used as a source for discussion this evening.
Town Planner Whitten noted various members of the Water Pollution Control Authority in the audience, who have come in support of the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) and the Economic Development Commission (EDC). She advised the Commission she would like to hire a facilitator to assist with future workshops to present the development plan to the community.
Lengthy discussion followed. Mr. Moffett began discussion by thanking the PZC for the opportunity to come tonight. Mr. Moffett noted it’s taken 25 years to get to the point of going forward with the sewer expansion; he indicated the EDC would like to work hand and hand with the PZC and continue the collaborative effort to plan appropriately for the development growth of the Route 140 corridor. Mr. Richards, speaking in his role as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, noted he is in touch with the people in the community who are looking forward to this development project which will expand the commercial base in East Windsor.
Mr. Moffett referenced his document as he spoke. He noted that the continued development of the Route 140 corridor must be in unison with and protect the existing surrounding area. Development of the Route 140 corridor will help everyone in town, the residents, the farmers, and existing businesses. Mr. Richard noted the EDC is looking for development which will generate revenue for the town. The EDC is excited to sell East Windsor as a viable and attractive place to grow businesses.
Mr. Moffett noted several of East Windsor’s natural geographic attributes: Easy access/proximity to Route 191 and Route 5, Bradley International Airport, and Skylark Airport; location mid-way between Hartford and Springfield, New York and Boston.
Mr. Moffett and Mr. Richards offered the following examples of potential commercial development for this area:
- Medical Center Campus, including stores and restaurants, and office space
- Mixed Use Development (i.e. Pasco’s Commons) – residential units above ground
floor business units.
It was noted Pasco’s Commons was developed on 7 acres of land, provides both business serves and residential housing and generates $198,000 in tax revenue annually. The Route 140 corridor has approximately 200 acres available for development.
- Retail Commercial – including outlet shopping
- Light Industrial/research and development – possible small distribution businesses and/or labs.
Commissioner Gowdy questioned if some of the uses discussed might create the need for more apartments? Mr. Richards felt that East Windsor already had a lot of affordable housing, whether in existing apartment complexes or the single family home market; he felt everyone agreed generating business revenue in this area was the goal. Mr. Moffett noted the PZC has control of the type of development via the way it zones this area; the way the area is rezoned tells the EDC the type of businesses you want in the area, and tells the EDC what they need to sell East Windsor to the developers.
Mr. Moffett suggested he mentioned a semi-quasi-public agency in his document as a means to develop a group to assist with working with the developers to fast-track development of this corridor. Such an agency can encourage public funding as well as private funding and grants. Mr. Richards recalled the current industrial park was built by a group of private citizens who put their own money up front to create the park; when the park was completed the industrial park was then flipped over to the Town.
Mr. Richards and Mr. Moffett agreed they hope the development of the Route 140 corridor includes more landscaping strips, and possibly landscaping features such as the fountain at The Mansions. Other zoning features under discussion included the number of curb cuts, building set-backs with parking in the front, possible pre-approved building lots to fast-track project/construction completion, and signage.
Commissioner Thurz felt the PZC and the EDC were on the same page with regard to development of the Route 140 corridor. He cited various businesses he currently patronizes in Enfield, noting similar businesses would be good choices for development of this area.
Commissioner O’Brien liked the concept of the retail outlets. He felt the architectural style could be something like Evergreen Walk but with more reasonably priced businesses and restaurants. He cited current outlet facilities are located at the Connecticut shore, or Lee, MA. The outlet stores would be more of a budget store which would become a destination location. Mr. Moffett noted the close proximity of the Trolley Museum with its unique charm; he suggested the museum might be incorporated in the development as well.
Paul Anderson, Chairman of the Water Pollution Control Authority Commission, suggested everyone has an opportunity to take this area and treat it, and develop it, uniquely from a planning perspective. Chairman Ouellette noted the Town lacks an architectural review board; he questioned how that issue would be approached? Mr. Anderson suggested it might have to be done piecemeal at the beginning. He also suggested the sewer is only part of the picture; without expansion of water and gas in the area we are not “shovel-ready”. Mr. Anderson indicated he continues to work on the inclusion of gas and water; it would be best to install utilities when the road is already being dug up for installation of the sewer. Commissioner O’Brien noted inclusion of gas and water would help the
existing plaza owners as well.
Mr. Anderson also suggested if we just bring in people who work for the businesses but haven’t a place to live it doesn’t work well; perhaps we need a group to coordinate available living space in Riverview Apartments or Mill Pond instead of letting it build up to a demand situation. Such coordination will make it so easy to come here with their businesses because it will be so easy for people to live here.
Art Enderle, Supervisor of the Water Pollution Control Authority, spoke of his experience working in Canton prior to coming to East Windsor. He noted that they pulled everyone together for pre-development meetings. He gave as an example development of the Shops at Canton Village. Information regarding the sewer specifications was shared with the developer up front; everything came together so much quicker because the team was developer friendly. Town Planner Whitten concurred, noting the Shops at Canton Village is set up something like a small village center where people can walk from shop to shop. Mr. Enderle suggested that development was set up so that when one shop moved out the space could be reconfigured quickly to accommodate another tenant in a short time. Town Planner
Whitten noted the Planning Department already gathers the different parties together informally, often even before a developer hires an engineer, to discuss potential projects.
Chairman Ouellette suggested he is in general agreement with retail and mixed use but questioned if a better place for the light industrial/manufacturing might be the existing industrial park on Newberry Road. Chairman Ouellette felt the manufacturing or industrial would generate larger truck traffic. Mr. Richards questioned if Chairman Ouellette’s concern was traffic? Chairman Ouellette clarified his concern was the type of traffic, noting the current road infrastructure wouldn’t support more truck traffic. He cited the traffic problems generated by the development of the Buckland Mall, and the length of time it took for road revisions to occur. Town Planner Whitten suggested truck traffic already occurs on Route 140, as she noted W. B. Mason and USA Hauling are currently
operating in the area. Mr. Moffett suggested perhaps development could limit larger uses to the Shoham Road area which would have closer proximity to I-91 and Route 5. Mr. Richards suggested larger set backs and more landscaping features would promote development of more attractive buildings. Commissioner Gowdy cited concern for spot zoning, but felt with creative and careful zoning the area could be developed in a way to limit through truck traffic. Mr. Moffett agreed, noting the PZC would be the entity to define what constituted light manufacturing. Commissioner O’Brien felt it was realistic to believe that building or development area would shrink due to extensive wetlands in the area. Mr. Moffett felt the amount of wetlands would help in the creation of campus types of development which would include more incubator businesses. Commissioner Thurz noted he liked the idea of the medical campus concept.
Town Planner Whitten suggested she would like to hold workshops to bring in everyone; she would like to bring in a facilitator who would be a neutral party. She indicated we currently have Euclidian zoning; this area might be good for the overlay zones (HIFZ) which promoted the development of Wendy’s. Other considerations would be types of lighting, setbacks, buffers along the road with parking inside the developments. Town Planner Whitten suggested a facilitator would help guide the Commission’s decisions on the type of zoning the Commission wants. Mr. Moffett agreed, noting bringing in a neutral person makes the process easier. He felt the success of the sewer expansion was because it was a team effort and was non-political. The Commission was divided as to
their support for a facilitator at this point.
Mr. Moffett referenced his document as just a starting point for discussion; the process starts with the PZC.
Ed Aliobzek, chief operator for the Water Pollution Control Authority, reported that when their agency was trying to acquire funding for the sewer project they found that there was a lot of money available but they were up against a lot of professional people seeking the same money. To have someone with more experience early on in the process may be valuable.
Mr. Anderson, Chairman of the WPCA Commission, suggested maybe the area needs to be rezoned under a totally different zone, maybe a business development zone.
Mr. Moffett thanked the PZC for allowing them to come to this Meeting to discuss their thoughts and ideas. Mr. Moffett indicated he knows this process is not a single board effort; the Economic Development Commission is always available to assist. Once the PZC tells the EDC what they want with regard to development then the EDC can do its job.
MOTION: To TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
The Commission RECESSED at 8:35 p.m. and RECONVENED at 8:45 p.m.
BUSINESS MEETING/(1) Election of Officers:
MOTION: Nominated Joseph Ouellette to continue as Chairman, as he shows respect and fairness to all applicants, these are qualities one would hope to find in a chairman.
Devanney moved/Gowdy seconded
Hearing no other nominations Commissioner Devanney closed the nominations for Chairman
MOTION: Nominated Frank Gowdy as Vice Chairman.
Ouellette moved/Devanney seconded
Hearing no other nominations Commissioner Devanney closed the nominations for Vice Chairman
MOTION: Nominated Laurie Devanney as Secretary.
Gowdy moved/Ouellette seconded
Hearing no other nominations Chairman Ouellette closed the nominations for Secretary.
MOTION: To VOTE ON THE SLATE OF OFFICERS AS NOMINATED.
Farmer moved/Thurz seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
BUSINESS MEETING/(2) Vote on Extension of Temporary Business Sign Regulations; AND, (3) Update on the Status of Sign Violations:
Town Planner Whitten reported that Zoning Enforcement Officer Newton has been allowing Dunkin Donuts to have a “pole” sign rather than an A-frame sign. The size of the signs are about the same; the pole signs are a corporate, rather than site specific, decision. Town Planner Whitten suggested this deviation didn’t warrant a regulation change; the issue was addressed as an Administrative Decision based on text interpretation.
Commissioner Gowdy expressed his displeasure; he questioned the need for the change. Town Planner Whitten reported franchisees get their signs from the corporate office, which does not use A-frame signs. The signs are attached to a pole in the parking lot of the business. The intention of the regulation – which was thought by the Commission to be to catch drive-by traffic - was discussed. Town Planner Whitten felt the intention was to provide the ability for a business to use temporary signage. Discussion followed regarding the preferences of large national or worldwide corporations in relation to compliance with local regulations.
Commissioner Mulkern questioned why the Commission was considering continuing the regulation if no one was following them? Town Planner Whitten reported businesses are beginning to come in; she questioned if the Commission didn’t feel continuation was worthwhile for at least another year? Commissioner Devanney indicated she would like to continue the regulation for one more year to see if the citation process works. She indicated her decision for the following year would be based on the success of people coming in for permits. Commissioner Gowdy felt the issue of the pole sign has been handled; even though he doesn’t like the way the corporation handled compliance with local regulations he agreed to extend the current regulation for another year. He, too, cautioned if people don’t come in for permits he didn’t know how he would feel regarding an extension next year. Commissioner Farmer felt Dunkin Donuts generally complied; he felt if corporations had to do signs differently
for each municipality it wouldn’t work. Commissioner Gowdy disagreed; Commissioner Farmer felt he thought the Commission was trying to give the businesses a fighting chance.
Jim Richards, speaking from the audience, suggested there were some businesses that were cooperating. He cited Geisseler’s Supermarket was no longer putting up their “3 day sale” signs. He suggested there will always be violators, but violators were not the subject of this regulation. He questioned why the regulation should be sunset; continuation would not hurt anyone. Chairman Ouellette suggested no one has convinced him this regulation makes a difference, but he was willing to be business-friendly and continue the regulation another year. He cited the Planning Department’s lack of staff to handle the administrative tasks – review of sketch of sign proposal, site plan review, tracking the timeframe of sign usage, tracking of allocation of signage within
plazas, etc. Mr. Richards felt part of the reason people don’t come in for sign permits is that the Planning Department doesn’t have staff to handle the requests.
Chairman Ouellette also recalled the Commission’s concern for creating sign clutter.
MOTION: To APPROVE THE EXTENSION FOR THE TEMPORARY BUSINESS SIGN REGULATONS FOR ONE YEAR THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2011.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
BUSINESS MEETING/(4) Farm Regulations:
Town Planner Whitten reported she has recently met with Joan Nichols, of the Farm Bureau, and a number of farmers regarding the status of the latest revision of the proposed Farm Regulations. She has also received the following two pieces of correspondence:
- A letter from Mr. and Mrs. Thompson who would like the regulations to go back to essentially what they were as they have an existing problem in a residential zone.
- Another letter copy from Mr. and Mrs. Muska indicating their preference for signage befitting their current size and configuration.
The Commission considered various revisions:
Section 305.2 Keeping of Livestock/b. Non-Commercial Farms/4. “Roosters are not permitted on non-commercial farms”. The farmers want this subsection deleted. Commissioners varied in their preference. It was noted waiver provisions have been provided within the regulations; complaints regarding violators can be made to the Planning Office and referred to the CT. DEP. The Commission ultimately retained the current language.
Section 305.2 Keeping of Livestock/e. General Livestock Requirements/2. “Fur Farms are prohibited.” The farmers want the prohibition deleted and permission to be considered under a Special Use Permit. Commissioner Gowdy cited past problems in Enfield and Stafford regarding issues of smell and disease; he would agree to rabbits under a Special Use Permit. Chairman Ouellette questioned how the regulations would address the issue if they were silent? Town Planner Whitten suggested if an issue is silent then it’s permitted. She suggested fur farms would become commercial farms under a Special Use Permit; a Public Hearing would be held which would give the public input and the Commission discretion/control of the use. The Commission retained
Section 305.2 Keeping of Livestock/e. General Livestock Requirements. From a planning perspective this section of the regulations keeps farming out of small lots and zones. Chairman Ouellette noted East Windsor is a farm-friendly community but the Commission must also balance the rights of the residents. Commissioner O’Brien referenced the letter noted earlier from the Thompsons who are having a problem with a neighbor storing manure near the property line. Town Planner Whitten noted under the current situation there are no regulations to control such activities. Chairman Ouellette suggested the Thompsons could go to the Health Department as this could be a health issue. The Commission retained this subsection as written.
Section 305.3 Farm Stores/b. “At least 50% of gross sales shall be from agricultural goods produced on the owner’s farm, or processed products made from raw materials that were produced on the owner’s farm,
for at least three of the immediately preceding five years.” The Commission agreed to the deletion.
Section 305.4 Farm Stands/b. “At least 70% of gross sales shall be from agricultural goods produced on the owner’s farm, or processed products made from raw materials that were produced on the owner’s farm,
for at least three of the immediately preceding five years.” The Commission agreed to the deletion
Section 305.5 Signage/c. Off Site Directional Signage – Temporary:
may SHALL only be located at intersections, WITH INTERSECTIONS DEFINED AS WHERE TWO ROADS MEET.”
- “must be
professionally prepared LEGIBLE and of weather resistant material”
- “must not exceed
3 FOUR square feet in area, and shall not exceed 3.5 feet in height”
- “must not be EXTERNALLY OR INTERNALLY illuminated.”
- “only one sign per farm per
location INTERSECTION.” Discussion continued regarding 4-way intersections. The Commission determined it will be the responsibility of the farmer to choose where at the intersection they want to place their respective signs, but the language retained was “only one sign per farm per intersection.” Chairman Ouellette noted that in fairness to all he is NOT looking to create sign clutter.
“background may not be red or yellow.” No change.
“must be seasonal, and removed when product is no longer available.” No change.
signs may not cause unsafe driving conditions, nor block visibility. SIGNS SHALL NOT BLOCK VISIBILITY.”
- “Larger signs may be permitted with special permit and additional fee.” Mr. Richards, speaking from the audience, suggested he felt there were currently two sets of regulations; the farmers get to put up their signs without permits. The Commission agreed to delete Subsection 9.
Section 306.7 Legal Non-conformities.
- “Any existing non-conforming barn, originally constructed for livestock, may continue to be used for agricultural AND BOARDING purposes.” No change.
Section 305.8 Other considerations.
- “A waiver may be granted for any part of this Section 306 by a ¾ vote from the Commission, inclusive of minimum requirements for a Special Use Permit or Site Plan approval per Chapter IX. The need for a Site Plan or Special Use Permit may not be waived.” No change. Town Planner Whitten suggested non-commercial farmers need to provide some type of sketch in lieu of an A-2 Survey, as they need to show they are conforming.
BUSINESS MEETING/(8) Staff Reports:
- Town Planner Whitten questioned the Commission regarding their opinion on hiring a facilitator to conduct workshops on the development of the Route 140 Business Corridor. The consensus of the Commission agreed with Town Planner Whitten’s recommendation.
MOTION: To HIRE A FACILITATOR IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A VISIONING/BRAINSTORMING WORKSHOP FOR THE ULTIMATE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROUTE 140 BUSINESS CORRIDOR.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Town Planner Whitten noted she must now carry the Commission’s vote to the Board of Selectmen for their approval, and then the Board of Finance to transfer funds from other line items to cover the cost of the facilitator; then the recommendation returns to the PZC to consider candidates.
- Town Planner Whitten advised the Commission that it was recently brought to her attention by the First Selectmen that Section 3-2 (Elected Boards and Commissions) of the current charter requires that all Regular Meetings shall have a section for public participation. She advised the Commission that as a land use Board they must be concerned with ex parte comments, or comments made on items scheduled for public hearings which have not yet occurred. She offered the Commission comments from Town Planners in other towns regarding their use of public participation.
The Commission discussed options used by various towns. Further review of the excerpt of the charter regarding Section 3-2 found the section references elected Boards, while the PZC is an appointed Board. Town Planner Whitten will review this item with the First Selectman further.
- Review of Commission bylaws postponed.
- Chairman Ouellette suggested Mr. Moffett and Mr. Richards did a fabulous job of explaining the vision for the Route 140 Business Corridor. Chairman Ouellette offered the following additional comments for consideration:
- Possibility of spin-off businesses in East Windsor for movie facility approved for South Windsor.
- Prefers parking in back of development
- Prefers setbacks along the front of development
- Develop an architectural review board
- Need to consider roadway infrastructure, need to plan for widening of Route 140, acquisition of rights-of-way – where?
- Bringing business to town creates a huge cost of developing supporting infrastructure
BUSINESS MEETING/(5) Right to Farm Ordinance – tabled.
BUSINESS MEETING/(6) Farm Setbacks – tabled.
BUSINESS MEETING/(7) Correspondence: None.
MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 10:10 p.m.
Gowdy moved/Devanney seconded/VOTE: In Favor: Unanimous
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission