TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR – ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 5, 2006
The East Windsor Zoning Board of Appeals held a Regular Meeting on Monday, June 5, 2006 at the East Windsor Town Hall, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, Connecticut. The following members were present: Regular Members Michael Ceppetelli, Mary Buckley, Cliff Nelson and Stan Paleski; and Alternate Member Dan Leone.
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairman Michael Ceppetelli. A quorum was established as four regular members and one alternate were present. Mr. Nelson read the Legal Notice as it appeared in publication.
ZBA #2006-07 Application of Herb Holden Trucking, Inc. for property located at 59 Broad Brook Road, for a variance of Section 2.2, Expansion of a Non-conforming Use, to allow the expansion of a business use within an A-1 zone (construction of a 55’ x 40’ addition to an existing garage), owned by Herbert W. and Kathleen A. Holden.
Joe Russo, of J. R. Russo & Associates came forward, along with the applicant Herb Holden. Mr. Russo referred to plans of the property and explained that they are requesting a variance to allow the expansion of the business in an A-1 zone. He said that the proposed addition will allow the storage of equipment in- side and will allow the work, that is presently being done outside, to be done inside. He felt that this would be more in keeping with the A-1 zone. Mr. Russo pointed out that there is an existing berm that goes across the front of the property. That will make it difficult for the public to see the addition. The use of the property dates back to 1950, which precedes zoning in East Windsor. Mr. Russo noted that in order to make it
more conforming they are doing lot line reconfigurations towards the rear of the building. They are moving the property line so that they have the proper rear line distance for the existing building and the addition. Mr. Russo referred to a rendering of the proposed addition as well as a floor plan of what it will look like.
Mr. Ceppetelli asked whether the abutting property owners had been notified. It was noted that a certificate of mailing was in the file as proof that the abutting property owners had been notified. Mr. Ceppetelli questioned whether they had discussed the possibility of a zone change with the Town Planner. Mr. Holden replied that they had discussed it with the Town Planner and her recommendation was to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Russo felt that it was because the operation has been there for a long time and that it would be spot zoning to change the zone. Mr. Paleski asked if the present welding operation was done outside. Mr. Holden responded that it was.
Mr. Ceppetelli opened up the hearing to the public.
Attorney Thomas Tyler, of 18 Bridge Lane, Enfield, stated that he was a joint owner of property across the street. He pointed out on the map the location of a 21-acre parcel of land that he purchased in 1975 with his father-in-law, for agricultural use. He said his father-in-law has fallen upon some difficult times and his wife is now conservator. He said as a fiduciary she has an obligation to make sure that his property doesn’t depreciate in value. Mr. Tyler said he had a problem with Mr. Holden expanding a preexisting nonconforming use. He felt that by putting a garage there, they could now do the activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He didn’t feel there was a hardship other than a self-created one. He felt that this would
be making Mr. Holden’s property more valuable but would devalue their property.
Mr. Tyler explained that he was also representing David Gardiner, of 71 Broad Brook Road. Mr. Gardiner came forward. Mr. Tyler noted that what he had already expressed in terms of property values would also apply to Mr. Gardiner. He said Mr. Gardiner had also expressed other concerns about the quality of his live that will be adversely affected by the expansion of the use. Mr. Gardiner added that it is already noisy there. He also noted that the light on the building shines in his window.
Mr. Ceppetelli asked Mr. Holden to further explain about the structure itself and why the structure might help to alleviate some of the noise. Mr. Holden explained that they are just trying to get the workers inside. They are not adding any employees and they are not adding any hours of operation. They are just trying to streamline what they are doing. He said they can now be under cover, particularly in the winter. The type of work would be welding, cutting, fabricating and those types of uses. He said they start work at 6:00 a.m. and are done between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Mr. Ceppetelli asked if it is safe to say that there will be less noise. Mr. Holden said there would be less noise because it would all be inside.
Mr. Russo pointed out that Mr. Holden has a more active farm than anyone around there. Mr. Holden said he has a home next door and he doesn’t feel it is degrading his property values. Mr. Ceppetelli asked about the light that shines on the neighbor’s property. Mr. Holden said he can either plant pine trees or take the light down. Mr. Leone suggested that the light be redirected.
Mr. Ceppetelli asked if anyone else in the audience wished to speak.
Mr. Tyler said he didn’t understand what the hardship was to justify an expansion. Mr. Ceppetelli said the whole operation predates zoning. Mr. Paleski asked about plantings to help with noise abatement. Mr. Holden said he could plant some pine trees along the berm. Mr. Gardiner said that would help. Mr. Tyler said there is still a concern about the devaluing of their property.
MOTION: To close the hearing on ZBA #2006-07.
Nelson / Paleski / Unanimous
Discussion and vote:
Mr. Nelson said if this was a few months ago he wouldn’t have a problem with it. He brought up the fact that they got sued for granting a variance for an expansion of a business and it was upheld in court recently. He said that didn’t prove a hardship, and the board’s decision was overruled. He said he agrees with Mr. Tyler that a hardship hasn’t been proven. It is an expansion. He said if they granted this, it would go with the land forever. Mr. Paleski said repairing equipment outside will generate noise and he felt that the building would abate some of the noise. He also felt that Mr. Nelson had a good point. Ms. Buckley said she could see both positions. He said if you put the workers in the building it
is a better environment. It will be less noisy and less obtrusive. They would be covering up an eyesore. Whether he has proven a hardship, she felt it was 50/50. Mr. Leone felt that the addition would be nothing more than an enclosure of what is already there. It would be an enclosure to keep them out of the weather. The work is already being done there. He felt that it would help with the noise abatement. He didn’t see it as an expansion of the business. He didn’t have a problem with it. Mr. Ceppetelli said that he is very sensitive to all abutting property owners, but he felt that this particular expansion would help. Unsightly machinery would be under cover. There will be less noise because the work will be done in an enclosed environment. He pointed out that once this is granted, any type of use can be done, possibly something that would be more detrimental to the neighbors. Mr.
Ceppetelli said he didn’t know if there was a significant hardship other than that it predates our zoning regulations. He said the work is going to get done any way. He said if this is granted he would recommend some conditions that would alleviate some of the existing problems, such as redirection of the spotlight and adding some plantings that would further eliminate the noise.
MOTION: To grant ZBA #2006-07 with the stipulations that the light that is directed at the neighbor now be redirected and that the direction of any future lights be taken into consideration. Also additional plantings be put on the berm or elsewhere to help alleviate the noise. Leone / Ceppetelli
In Favor: Leone / Buckley / Ceppetelli
Due to only 3 votes in favor, the motion did not carry.
Mr. Ceppetelli asked Mr. Nelson to give his reasons for denying this application. Mr. Nelson said that he didn’t feel that a hardship was proven. He said some good points were made about getting the men inside but a couple of months ago their decision was overturned in court. He said if the business grows, that is not a hardship. Mr. Ceppetelli said he would strongly recommend pursuing it with the Town Planner for a zone change. Mr. Russo asked why Mr. Paleski abstained. Mr. Paleski said that it is 50/50. It was pointed out that they had just been through a lawsuit for a business expansion. On the other side of it, they would be bringing the work inside which would alleviate the noise. He said he was right in the middle on
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
MOTION: To approve the minutes of May 1, 2006. Leone / Paleski
In Favor: Leone / Paleski / Buckley
Abstain: Nelson / Ceppetelli
MOTION: To adjourn. Nelson / Leone / Unanimous
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Marlene Bauer, Recording Secretary