Board Members Present: Robert Hiscox, Gil Graveline, Alan Havican, Donald Pomeroy and Thomas Galvin
Alternates Present: None
Others Present: Bill Donovan, Land Use Inspector
Members Absent: Francis Carpentier (Alt.), Anthony Parrella (Alt.) and Alexander Delelle (Alt.)
Chairman Robert Hiscox called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The meeting was taped.
Approval of Minutes: Motion by A. Havican, seconded by G. Graveline to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2005 meeting as amended. Unanimous.
1. Letter dated January 20, 2005 from Carmody & Torrance Re: the Executed Road Bond for Tesco Rentals, LLC, Hank Berbarat, Jr.
2. Letter dated January 27, 2005 from Carmody & Torrance Re: the Executed Site Improvement Bond for Straitsville Reserve, C.A.D.S., LLC.
3. Memorandum dated January 31, 2005 from Oxford Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency Re: Seminar Workshop on Smart Sponge Technology from AbTech Industries.
4. Notice of Workshop from Southwest Conservation District – Develop Planning Strategies that Enhance Municipal Decision-making Process.
5. Recommended Bond Proposal for Southridge Estates Subdivision – Phase II from William Donovan, Land Use Inspector, and Eugene McCarthy, Asst. Director of Public Works.
Motion by T. Galvin, seconded by A. Havican to accept the correspondence. Unanimous. The Commissioners reviewed the recommended bond proposal for Southridge Estates Subdivision. Motion by A. Havican, seconded by G. Graveline to set the bond for Southridge Estates Subdivision, Phase II, in the amount of $165,000.00 as recommended by Gene McCarthy and Bill Donovan. Under discussion, G. Graveline asked if the payment for open space would be made in a lump sum or on a per lot basis. Robert Capanna, developer for the project, stated that payment would be made on a per lot basis. The vote on the motion was Unanimous.
Public Participation: Michael & Christine McAllen commented on the letter of complaint received at the last meeting regarding their property at 52 Sherwood Drive. Chairman Hiscox stated Bill Donovan would be reporting to the Commission regarding the status of the complaint later in the meeting. Joe Commendatore spoke on behalf of the Town Council regarding the Council’s consideration of a “blight” ordinance and asked if the Planning & Zoning Commission felt that this issue is covered under Zoning Regulations or if the Commissioners felt that an ordinance should be in place. The Commissioners were in favor of consideration of a blight ordinance and indicated they would be willing to work with the Council to put some language together. Discussion of the proposed ordinance will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. Sheila & David Duncan of Fifth Dimension Skate Shop stated they are considering a purchase of property located at 111 Waterbury Road for the purpose of moving their retail store to the existing garage on the property in addition to residing in the existing home located on the same site. The property is currently zoned industrial. The Duncans understood that they will have to come before the Commission with an application for a zone change to Business District, and asked the Commission’s opinion of being allowed to reside at the same location where the retail store would be located. Bill Donovan stated that the Regulations allow a business in a commercial zone and allow for a residence in a commercial zone but it is unclear if both uses were allowed on the same property. Mrs. Duncan stated that their proposal would be similar to that of J & R Auto Supply on Union City Road. G. Graveline stated that RPM Mower Repair on Waterbury Road operates a business and resides at the same location. Joe Commendatore noted another residence with a beauty salon on Waterbury Road. After discussion, the Commissioners agreed that if an application for a zone change to commercial was approved for that location, the Regulations would allow for consideration of an application for a residence and business use on the same property. The Duncans were informed that the Commission’s willingness to consider an application did not guarantee approval of either the zone change or use of the property.
a. Zoning Enforcement. See the Land Use Inspector’s Report on Page 4.
b. Amendment to Prospect Zoning Regulations – Storage Pods & Technical Changes. Discussion will be held at the February 16, 2005 meeting.
7:20 p.m. – Herwood & Cecilia Cochran, 14 Cook Road. Application for a 2-lot Re-subdivision. The public hearing was continued from December 15, 2004. Chairman Hiscox read a letter dated January 24, 2005 from Cecilia Cochran asking to extend the public hearing until March 16, 2005 to allow for a complete review of the application and plans by the Cochran’s attorney and also to enable the surveyor to be in attendance. The Cochran’s were not in attendance, however Bill Donovan stated that he advised the Cochrans to try to get back to the Commission prior to March 16th. The 100 day maximum time allowed for a public hearing to remain open would expire after March 16th. The Commissioners agreed to carry this application on each agenda up to the March 16th meeting under “Public Hearings” at 7:10 p.m. to allow the Cochrans the opportunity to present additional information. The hearing was opened to public comment. Carolyn Taylor, manager of Volmar’s Picnic Grove, 30 Cook Road, spoke on behalf of herself and her mother, Elizabeth Volmar, whose property abuts the southerly portion of 14 Cook Road. Mrs. Taylor read a letter stating their opposition to the proposed subdivision. Louis & Ann Stein, 22 Cook Road, discussed their disagreement with the interpretation of the variances granted to this property by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mrs. Stein also asked what would be done about the barn that was supposed to have been removed prior to the existing house being built. Chairman Hiscox stated that at the site walk, Mr. Cochran was asked if the existing barn was supposed to have been torn down and Mr. Cochran stated that a portion of the barn that was within the minimum setback distance to a property line had been removed. G. Graveline stated that there was some confusion with a barn/shed that existed when the property was originally split. Chairman Hiscox further stated that if it is determined that the existing barn on the property was supposed to have been removed, it would become an enforcement issue for Bill Donovan. Mr. Stein asked the Commissioners to deny this application due to the non-conformities. There were no further comments from the public. The hearing was continued to February 16, 2005 at 7:10 p.m.
7:45 p.m. – Prospect Estates, LLC, 66 Smoke Rise Circle. Application for a 7-Lot Subdivision – Prospect Estates (Phase I), 193 & 193R Cook Road. The public hearing was continued from January 19, 2005. Chairman Hiscox commented that the Regulations discourage the addition of rear lots in the Town of Prospect, noting that consideration of proposed rear lots would be based on the entire project, Phase I & Phase II, as a whole. The applicant is proposing one rear lot in Phase I. Configuration of Phase II has not been determined. Chairman Hiscox questioned the applicants regarding Inland Wetlands approval. Annette Turnquist, the applicant’s engineer, stated that all comments from Land Tech, reviewing engineer for the Inland Wetlands Commission, have been addressed. The only outstanding comment is the amount of wetlands disturbance. There is a discrepancy of where to measure up to. Land Tech was measuring up to the silt fencing. Ms. Turnquist is measuring to the edge of grading. The plans have been revised and the amount of disturbance is less than 5,000 square feet. Ms. Turnquist has sent a memo to Land Tech advising them of the revision but has not heard back from them as of yet. Bill Donovan stated that Inland Wetlands has closed the public hearing for this application and will likely make a decision at their February 14, 2005 meeting. Bill indicated that he does not anticipate any significant modifications to the plan, however, he asked if the applicant might consider a more defined channel of the watercourse along the boundary of Lot 7 to minimize the possibility of property owners unknowingly filling in their front yards if they don’t realize that this is wetlands. Larry Beausoleil, of Prospect Estates, stated that this idea has been discussed with public works and a note will be made on the plan that, before development starts on the two lots in that area, discussion would be held with Town Staff to determine the best way to define that watercourse. The hearing was opened to public comment. Ann Stein, 22 Cook Road, asked for clarification of delineation of Phase I & Phase II, location of the detention pond and access to Phase II. Bill Donovan stated that a final report from Chesprocott Health District has not been received. Ms. Lindquist stated that she would provide that report to the Commission. Chairman Hiscox noted for the record that the applicant’s engineer has provided a letter responding to the Town Engineer’s review of the proposed subdivision. There were no further comments from the public. The public hearing was continued to February 16, 2005 at 7:15 p.m.
8:03 p.m. – CJN Realty, LLC, 115 Waterbury Road. Site Plan Application for a Proposed Commercial Building. Chairman Hiscox read the Notice of Public Hearing as it appeared in the Republican American on January 21st and January 28th and a letter dated January 28, 2005 from Land-Tech Consultants, the Town’s reviewing engineer. The applicant was represented by Attorney Edward Fitzpatrick, who stated that there was a miscommunication regarding the required notice to abutting property owners and asked that the hearing be continued to February 16th. Chairman Hiscox reminded the applicant to provide a list of the items that would be stored in the lower level of the proposed building. There were no comments from the public. The hearing was continued to February 16, 2005 at 7:30 p.m.
Motion by G. Graveline, seconded by T. Galvin to add to the agenda under “New Business” Francis & Patricia Conway, 49 Plank Road, for an application for a special permit for a home occupation. Unanimous.
a. Francis & Patricia Conway, 49 Plank Road. Application for a Special Permit for a Home Occupation – Truck Dispatch Office. Patricia Conway stated that she and her husband are requesting permission to operate a truck dispatch office from their home. Trucks would not be located at this location. Mr. Conway would be employed full time in the operations and Mrs. Conway would be employed part-time. One room would be utilized in the home for this business and the proposed hours of operation would be 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Conways have one black van with no lettering that would be parked in a carport on the property. Customers would not be coming to the house for any reason. Other employees would come to the residence to pick up their paychecks only. Trucks are parked at a gated location in Waterbury. There would be no trucks parked at the premises. Advised the applicants to talk with Bill Donovan regarding notification of abutting owners. Discussion was held on fees for this application and the Commissioners agreed to set the fees at $125.00 and $30.00. Motion by A. Havican, seconded by G. Graveline to accept the application for a special permit for a home occupation for a truck dispatch office at 49 Plank Road and set a public hearing for February 16, 2005 at 7:45 p.m. Unanimous.
b. Edward Schweizer, 830 Westside Road, Cheshire, CT. Pre-application Review for a Proposed 4-Lot Subdivision – 53 Roaring Brook Road. Steve Trinkas, engineer for the project, represented the applicant and presented the application for a 4-lot subdivision on a 15-acre site on the easterly side of Roaring Brook Road. One rear lot is being proposed. Mr. Trinkas reviewed the wetland areas on the site and described alternative methods for addressing stormwater runoff. Proposing a road width for the new road of 18 feet wide would reduce the impervious area on the site and benefit the environment by reducing the amounts of pollutants that come off of the road. The Commissioners commented that public works and the town’s reviewing engineer would need to review the proposed road width to comment on whether the plan would meet Town road standards. Mr. Trinkas described a project completed where the gravel base was carried out three feet beyond the edge of pavement and then covered with topsoil to provide a structural base for safety concerns. The goal of the alternative methods addressing stormwater runoff is to reduce the impervious area and mimic the natural drainage patterns that occur. A grass swale would require less maintenance than catch basins. Proposed open space would provide a passive open meadow area and an active open space area that would be owned by the homeowners’ association to include a pond with possible walking trails for the public use. The pond would provide an area suitable to accommodate various species of wildlife as well as provide water for fire protection. G. Graveline questioned Mr. Trinkas on the common drive shown for Lots 3 & 4. Mr. Trinkas stated that he is proposing the common driveway within the accessway to Lot 4 with an easement in favor of Lot 3 to use the common driveway. The applicant is planning to present a formal application within the next few months. The applicant was instructed to review the proposed roadway plan with public works and the fire department for comments and/or approval prior to a formal application to Planning & Zoning. Mr. Trinkas stated that the applicant is not opposed to having the new road being a private road if necessary.
c. Toll Brothers, Inc., Scott Road. Pre-application Review for a Proposed Elderly Housing Development. Initial plans for this proposed development were discussed at the last meeting. Attorney Edward Fitzpatrick is the applicant’s representative. The applicants are asking consideration in the requirement that 30% of a proposed elderly development be designated as “affordable housing”. Attorney Fitzpatrick reviewed requirements of surrounding towns noting that they are substantially less than the 30% required in Prospect’s Regulations and stated that if consideration was given to reducing the 30% to 15%, it would eliminate having to ask for significant changes to the Regulations to make the project work. Two-story units would be proposed for affordable housing units while maintaining a large percentage of open space. Discussion was held on the reasoning behind the 30% requirement. The Commissioners agreed that the Planners should be contacted for an opinion on this issue. Chairman Hiscox suggested that Attorney Fitzpatrick prepare a recommendation to be included with a packet of changes the Commission will be discussing at the next meeting and possibly scheduling a public hearing in March.
d. Rita Ann Stawarz, Diane Randolph & Lori Ann Soden, 99 Union City Road. Application for a Proposed Zone Change to Residential. There was no one in attendance to present this application.
Land Use Inspector’s Report: Bill Donovan reviewed an updated Zoning Violations Log stating that two additional cease and desist orders have been issued as well as two municipal citations. Bill indicated that a letter was sent to Michael & Christine McAllen listing alleged zoning violations as stated in a letter received at the last meeting asking for a response within 10 days of January 31, 2005. When the weather permits, Bill will schedule a site walk and review the alleged violations with the McAllens. If there are violations, Bill will work with the McAllens to have them corrected. Chairman Hiscox asked that Bill send a letter to the complainant advising of the outcome of the investigation. In Bill’s opinion the McAllens have brought in a significant amount of fill, however it’s difficult for Bill to determine where the Prospect boundary ends and the Waterbury boundary begins. Chairman Hiscox asked whether commercial vehicles were an issue. Bill paraphrased the complainant’s letter stating that a permit was issued to the McAllens for an addition that has resulted in a three-year construction project including landscaping, filling, bringing in materials and dumping and grading to the point that there seems to be no end in sight. Chairman Hiscox stated for the record that the McAllens should finish whatever grading needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible under Bill’s direction, citing a similar situation on Cornwall Avenue. G. Graveline asked if there was some way to mark the Prospect/Waterbury line. Mr. McAllen indicated that he would work with Bill Donovan to identify where the boundary line is. The Commissioners discussed recent enforcement actions with Bill. Bill stated that he submitted a copy of this most recent log to the Town Council. Chairman Hiscox asked that the canvas hut at 8 Spring Road and another at 16 Summit Road be added to the log. Bill was also directed to issue a Cease and Desist order to the owner of 88 Matthew Street for storage of a commercial vehicle. Discussion was held on the trucks parking at St. Anthony’s parking lot and the large commercial trucks being stored on the lot at the corner of Murphy Road and Route 69. Bill reported that the Zoning Board of Appeals currently has an application before them for two variances to be able to put a house on a lot that has a significant amount of wetlands. One variance is for a driveway length greater than 500 linear feet and the second is to allow the house to be placed in a minimum buildable area with wetlands. Bill stated that if the variances are granted the property owner will be applying for a proposed subdivision of the property. Bill stated that if the Planning & Zoning Commission wished to convey their feelings regarding this application to the Zoning Board of Appeals, they could ask Bill to speak on behalf of the Commission. The Commissioners discussed the application with Bill and asked him to convey to the Zoning Board of Appeals that the Commission is concerned that the Zoning Board of Appeals is trying to re-write the zoning regulations and ask the Board “What is the hardship?” Economic gain is not a hardship. Motion by T. Galvin, seconded by D. Pomeroy to accept the Land Use Inspector’s Report. Unanimous.
Public Participation: Diane Lauber, 9 Pond View Drive, stated concerns with the Commissions’ suggestion that a proposed amendment to the Regulations discussed with Attorney Fitzpatrick earlier in the evening be included with the packet of proposed technical changes from the Commission. Mrs. Lauber also stated that the Commissioners spent numerous hours working with professional planners and listening to public input before adopting the Town’s Comprehensive Plan of Development and asked the Commissioners to give careful consideration to any proposed changes. There were no further comments from the public.
The Commissioners discussed Mrs. Lauber’s concerns and agreed that Toll Brothers, Inc., (Attorney Fitzpatrick) should submit a separate application for their proposed amendments to the Regulations. It was also restated that the Planners should be contacted for an opinion on elderly housing requirements.
Motion by A. Havican, seconded by D. Pomeroy to adjourn the meeting at 9:50 p.m. Unanimous.
Robert Hiscox, Chairman