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Minutes of Planning Commission, 11/26/2019

AGENDA: Planning Commission

RECEIVED 12/02/2019 8:30am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Redding Planning Commission
MINUTES
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, November 26 2019
7:30 p.m. – Old Town House

Present: Toby Welles; Chairman; Commissioner Dan Barrett; Commissioner Anda Cumings; Commissioner Steve Gagnon; Alternate Chuck Cilo.
Absent:  Commissioner Regina O’Brien; Alternate James Bacon
Also present:   Aimee Pardee, Planning Director
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.

I.          APPROVAL OF MINUTES           -Meeting of 8/27/19

On the motion of Mr. Gagnon and the second of Ms. Cumings, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the 8/27/19 Meeting Minutes.

II.        ADMINISTRATIVE

1.      Request to change the name of the south end of Poverty Hollow Road; discussion.Mr. Welles explained that, when a portion of Poverty Hollow Road was discontinued, a single dwelling was left on the south end of the road that can be accessed only through Valley Road in Easton.  The owner of that property, Margo Gross, has requested that the Planning Commission recommend renaming the southern portion of the road to eliminate confusion with the remainder of Poverty Hollow Road.  Mr. Welles further stated that the Town Historian, Police, Highway Dept., and EMS have been asked if the renaming of the road would raise any concerns, and all had said that they did not see a problem with it.

Ms. Gross spoke to the Commission.  She stated that she felt that this is a safety issue as many people walk on the discontinued portion of Poverty Hollow but that cars frequently drive in the south end thinking it is a thru road, then they have to try to turn around and go out again.  She suggested that the southern portion of the road be renamed “Pleasant Valley Road”.

The Commission agreed that renaming the southern portion of the road could eliminate confusion.  Mr. Welles expressed concern that the use of Valley Road or Pleasant Valley Road might be problematic as there could be the same address in both Redding and Easton.  He suggested Poverty Hollow Extension or South.  Mr. Barrett felt that extension suggests connectivity; he supported the name of Poverty Hollow South.

Mr. Welles read comments from Town Historian Bruce Nelson into the record.  Mr. Welles also noted that the name change could create some confusion for a time as maps and GPS are revised, however he further noted that he had been successful in providing edits to Google Maps and TomTom.

Mr. Welles moved that it be recommended that the southern terminus of Poverty Hollow Road, up to the closed section, be renamed Poverty Hollow Road South.  Mr. Barrett seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.

2.      Discussion of results of the Town Plan of Conservation & Development Survey completed by Milone and MacBroom.

Mr. Welles stated that he had emailed the Commissioners the results of the Milone and MacBroom survey regarding the Town Plan.  He said that he found no surprises in the results, but suggested that the results be incorporated into the draft of the Town Plan as follows.

He stated that the survey results did not support the purchase of more open space however he noted that past studies found the purchase of open space could be an effective way to keep taxes down as the development of property for dwellings could increase tax burden through impact on the school system.  Since the decrease of taxes was also supported by the survey, he suggested adding language to clarify the relationship between open space acquisition and tax control.

Regarding swimming areas, playgrounds, and places to bike, the survey showed support for adding these amenities.  Mr. Welles suggested that recommendations be added to the plan that the possible location and use of such amenities be studied; he noted that the development of actual facilities would likely be completed by Park and Rec.

Mr. Welles stated that the survey strongly supported increased effort towards economic development, with a suggestion that the town could capitalize on its open space by promoting the parks and trail system and that this could be added into the Town Plan.  Also regarding economic development, Mr. Welles noted the number of people who responded to the survey who said that they work from home.  He said that there is support for home occupations through the Mark Twain Library but further suggested that the Town Plan could encourage enhanced internet availability through development of microcell and 5G technologies as a way to help grow home occupations.

John Hayes, Planning Consultant, noted that the Town Plan could support infrastructure additions such as adding a solar pv system at the town’s former landfill site.  He also suggested the addition of electric vehicle charging stations.

Mr. Welles continued to speak to the survey results; he noted that there had been support for access to the West Redding Train Station by either improving walkability or biking.  He said that Planning could support a trail to the Train Station through a parcel of land currently owned by Aquarion Water Company that fronts on Long Ridge Road but that Aquarion may require that the path be ADA compliant which would require engineering and construction which would be very expensive.  He went on to speak regarding West Redding in general.  He noted that the town has limited ability to influence West Redding property owners as the properties are privately owned and they are, in most cases, pre-existing.  He also noted the presence of wetlands in the area and Ms. Pardee also highlighted the presence of FEMA designated flood zone and flood way in the area.

Mr. Welles continued.  He said that his participation in one of the workshops that had been done in October had brought out two other things that he said he felt should be added to the Town Plan.  The first was the need to address the demise of The Redding Pilot and the need for some kind of local news outlet.  He also spoke about the number of people who wish to downsize and the possibility of revising the Zoning Regulations to add more housing options.

After receiving a general consensus that the edits to the Town Plan suggested by Mr. Welles were in keeping with the results of the survey, Mr. Welles stated he would revise the current draft plan and send it out to the Commission for discussion at the next meeting.  He stated that Mr. Hayes is still working on mapping with the goal that it will be done by the next meeting.

3.       Approval of the 2020 Planning Meeting Schedule.

The Commission reviewed the proposed meeting schedule for 2020.  On the motion of Mr. Welles and the second of Ms. Cumings, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the meeting schedule and submit it to the Town Clerk.

4.       Election of Officers.

Mr. Welles stated that he would like to continue as Chairman.  Mr. Gagnon nominated Mr. Welles for the position of Chairman and Ms. Cumings seconded.  Mr. Welles nominated Ms. O’Brien for the position of Secretary, with Mr. Gagnon seconding.  Hearing no other nominations, the Commission voted to have Mr. Welles continue as Chairman with Ms. O’Brien becoming Secretary.

III.       FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

The Town Plan will be discussed at the next meeting December 10, 2019.

IV.       CHAIRMAN’S REPORT/DISCUSSION

There were no items discussed under this agenda item.

On the motion of Mr. Gagnon, the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:40 p.m.

Submitted by:

Aimee Pardee

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