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Minutes of Planning Commission, 01/14/2020

AGENDA: Planning Commission

RECEIVED 01/16/2020 2:31pm
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Redding Planning Commission
MINUTES
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
7:30 p.m. – Old Town House

Present: Toby Welles; Chairman; Secretary Regina O’Brien; Commissioner Dan Barrett; Commissioner Anda Cumings; Alternate Jim Bacon; Alternate Chuck Cilo.

Also present:   Aimee Pardee, Land Use Director

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. seating Mr. Cilo for Commissioner Gagnon.

I.   APPROVAL OF MINUTES: meeting of December 10, 2019.

On the motion of Ms. Cumings and the second of Ms. O’Brien, the Commission voted by majority to approve the minutes of the December 10, 2019 meeting.  Mr. Barrett and Mr. Cilo abstained from the vote as they were not present at the December meeting.

II.        ADMINISTRATIVE

1.  Referral from Redding Zoning Commission: 115 Cross Highway – Jon & Jenn Kerr.  Request for a Special Use Permit for an accessory apartment.  Public Hearing scheduled for January 22, 2020.

Ms. Pardee explained that there is currently an application before the Zoning Commission for the owner of 115 Cross Highway to have an accessory apartment in an existing building that also partially used for as horse stables.  She stated that the current owners of the property had expanded existing guest quarters in the existing barn so that they could live in them while renovating the primary dwelling on the property.  They are now selling the property due to a job change and the new owners wish to have a legal accessory dwelling.  She further stated that the accessory dwelling has been found to meet all requirements of the Zoning Regulations, and has been approved by both the Health and Building Departments.

Ms. O’Brien asked if the apartment could be used as an Air bnb.  Ms. Pardee stated that there is currently no specific regulation in Redding preventing that use, but that the town is watching the results of two related lawsuits in other towns: one that challenges another town that defined a dwelling as having to be occupied for 30 days or more by the same individual (s), and another where a town is defining the use as an Air bnb as a prohibited commercial enterprise.

Mr. Welles added that it would be desirable to have the owner of the apartment commit to designating the apartment as affordable for the period of time mandated in the state affordable housing statutes.  The commission discussed the challenges that Redding faces meeting those requirements.  Mr. Cilo suggested that the town should be eligible for some relief from housing requirements given the State’s drinking water supply plan which relies on Redding and other watershed communities to provide safe water for communities to the south of Redding.  The commission discussed the state affordable housing mandates and the efforts made to revise the existing statutes.

The Commission returned to the referral after Mr. Barrett suggested that it would be helpful if all paperwork regarding items on the agenda be distributed to the Commission in advance.  Mr. Welles and Ms. Pardee reviewed the procedure for receiving subdivision applications and noted that received applications can be voluminous and that they go through multiple meetings and presentations where materials are presented, but there was agreement that it would be helpful for items subject to consideration in one meeting to be scanned and distributed in advance.  Mr. Welles suggested that he could consult with the Planning Office to determine items that would be best distributed ahead of meeting.  Ms. Cumings noted the need to comply with Freedom of Information requirements and not make comments or engage in discussion regarding applications outside of the public meeting format.

After discussion, the commission held a vote:  On the motion of Mr. Cilo, and the second of Mr. Barrett, the Commission voted unanimously to provide a positive referral to the Zoning Commission.

 

III.       FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

– Mr. Welles noted that the owner of 626 Redding Road will be seeking to divide the property into two parcels.  Ms. Pardee stated that some paperwork had been received, but that the application was incomplete.

– Mr. Welles spoke regarding the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.  He stated that John Hayes has not been able to complete mapping work with WestCog due to personal issues; Mr. Welles hopes to work with WestCog to complete the maps.  He also spoke regarding a number of people who attended the last Planning meeting who had questions regarding the implementation of the plan and who had expressed their willingness to work towards implementation of aspects of the plan.  Mr. Welles suggested that they could be utilized as an ad-hoc committee that could work towards addressing affordable housing concerns.  He also suggested that they could act as a legislative liaison who could work towards revising the current affordable housing statutes.  Mr. Welles stated that he would meet with the group to discuss options.

– Mr. Cilo left the meeting at 8:00 p.m.

 

IV.       CHAIRMAN’S REPORT/DISCUSSION

–  Mr. Welles spoke briefly regarding the former Gilbert and Bennett property.  He noted that the town had prevailed in their case for foreclosure against the property but that the case is being appealed to the State of Connecticut Supreme Court.  Arguments were completed in December; the town awaits a decision in the next six months.

-There was a brief discussion of the possible revival of The Redding Pilot.  Mr. Barrett noted that he had received an email regarding a group that hopes to revise the town newspaper.  He forwarded the email to Ms. Pardee and Mr. Welles for distribution.

-Ms. Pardee stated that she had received the revised Town Plan of Conservation and Development from Mr. Welles and that copes have been made.  Physical and digital copies are being distributed so, based upon the distribution date, she said she would like to set the date for the Planning Commission to hold their public hearing regarding the plan on March 24th, 2020, which would satisfy the statutory requirement that the Board of Selectmen have 65 days to consider the plan before the Planning Commission hearing.  After a discussion, the Commission unanimously agreed to the March 24th, 2020 date for the opening of the hearing.

On the motion of Mr. Barrett, the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:20 p.m.

Submitted by:
Aimee Pardee

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