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Minutes of Zoning Board of Appeals, 11/21/2017

AGENDA: Zoning Board of Appeals

RECEIVED 11/27/2017 2:03pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

NOVEMBER 21, 2017 – 7:30 P.M.

Beth Williams, Chairman
Henry Polio, Secretary
Noel Cooke
Bruce Given
Scott Smith
Jill Cilo, Alternate
Daniel Barrett, Alternate

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.

Upon the Motion of Mr. Cooke and second of Mr. Barrett, the August 15, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes were approved (5-0) by the Board.

Application #17-11-01 – 98 Picketts Ridge Road (Map #11 & Lots # 12, 13, 17, 82, 83, 98) – Owner: Frederick V. Miller Sr. – Condominium Unit 5-B-5 (Map #11 & Lot 13) – Owner: Adam Lanehart. Appeal of decision by Zoning Enforcement Officer of October 5, 2017 denying permit for construction of a dwelling; request for resolution to allow construction of new dwelling.

Mr. Scott Smith recused himself from this application, and Ms. Williams appointed Daniel Barrett to hear the application.

Mr. Frederick Miller Sr., owner of the property at 98 Picketts Ridge Road, and representing Attorney Robert Fuller, presented the application to the Board. Mr. Miller explained that he was Adam Lanehart’s grandfather and that the Millers have lived and served in the Redding community for many years. Mr. Miller created a condominium property with designated lots given to his family. A fifth lot was created at Unit 5B with the intention of building a home on the lot.

Mr. Fuller gave a history of the property at Unit 5B as it relates to the development of the property over time. He noted that prior to Zoning Regulations of February 1986 which allowed for only one house on a 2-acre lot there were already two homes on the lot, creating a non-conformity. Ms. Williams inquired to the acreage of the parcel and Mr. Fuller confirmed it was a 16-acre lot.

Mr. Fuller reviewed maps with the Board in a timeline fashion:
Map #3025, filed in 1982, designating lots 5A and 5B with approval marking by the Planning Commission.
Map #3384, filed May 28, 1987, created 4 lots, 5B 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each of the four units are on 2 acres.
Map #3413, filed October 20, 1987, designating 4 lots, reducing the lot sizes for a common area. An amendment declaration was approved and signed by all of the unit owners.
A map reflecting modifications for a 5th lot, 5B-5 and reducing the open space common area to 4.47 acres was also provided. Mr. Polio asked if an amendment to the condo association had been recorded and Mr. Fuller indicated that an amendment declaration was made. Mr. Given asked if Board approval had been given and Mr. Fuller indicated no Board approval was given. Since February 1992 all of the units were intended for family members. Mr. Fuller noted that the condos had been in effect for 25 years and were never challenged. Copies of the maps were provided to the Board members and entered into the record.

Mr. Fuller noted that shortly after the amendment in February 1986 that allowed two houses on the property, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved two additional houses on the property, four in total. In 1987, Mr. Miller decided to change the property designation to a condo property, named Honey Ridge Condominiums.

Mr. Fuller contends that with the condo association is protected by State Statute 47-205 and Legislative validity acts which supersede Town regulations with regards to the addition and building on the fifth lot, as the lots created were not subdivided. Mr. Fuller read Connecticut General Statute 47-205 “Applicability of real property use laws to conversion of buildings to common interest ownership” of the Common Interest Ownership Act into the record: “No zoning, building code, subdivision or other real property use law, ordinance or regulation may prohibit the conversion of any building to the common interest ownership form of ownership”. He noted that a condominium established under the Act does not have to receive approval from the planning commission. Mr. Fuller also read Special Act 93-17, Sec. 6(b) into the record: “No use or occupancy of or the presence of any building or other structure erected on a lot or lots either shown on a filed or recorded map or plan of subdivision or located in a subdivision created by the physical division of land into three or more parcels shall be deemed illegal or invalid because the lot or lots on which any such building or other structure is located is not shown on an approved plan of subdivision or because the filed or recorded map or plan of subdivision fails in any manner to comply with any requirement or requirements of any general or special law, ordinance or regulation.” Copies of both the Statute and Act were given to the Board members.

Ms. Williams inquired if condo association documents are subordinate to town regulations and Mr. Fuller indicated that under the Statute it really is not. There is conformity with zoning regulations in that there are 2-acre lots with easements of access but under the Statute planning approval is not necessary for subdivision.

Mr. Cooke asked Mr. Fuller if he believed Statute 47-205 gives the right to construct and Mr. Fuller indicated that is correct and that Statute 47-205 puts condominiums in a different status than non-condominiums. Mr. Cooke disagreed and indicated that the Statute says no mobile zoning ordinance or regulation can convert any building and therefore clearly a different circumstance of what is being discussed for this application which is the construction of a new building and subject to the zoning laws.

Mr. Given asked if all of the lots are currently taxed separately. Mr. Fuller indicated that all are taxed as individual parcels and are recognized as such by the Assessor, including the fifth parcel.

Mr. Cooke inquired as to why the Honey Ridge Condo Association does not appear on the State registry of condo associations and noted there are annual filing requirements with the Secretary of State. Mr. Fuller was not aware of any such requirements. Mr. Miller stated that documents had been filed and fees were paid initially.

Mrs. Aimee Pardee, Zoning Enforcement Officer, provided a handout to the Board members documenting the chronology of the property. Ms. Pardee indicated that a lot is well-defined in the Zoning Regulations and that the lots at 5B are not actually lots but ownership interests. She noted that the Town still recognizes the lot as a 16-acre lot even though taxed separately. For example, the unit at 5B-5 is assessed at $26,000 which is clearly not assessed in the same manner as a regular 2-acre lot. Ms. Pardee indicated that after the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the four houses on 16 acres in 1986 the condominium declaration was created and areas were defined but none of the subsequent amendments were filed with the Town, they were all private property agreements between the owners and those with interest to the property.

Mr. Given asked, as an example, if the one lot was for sale and one wanted to buy not a condo but the lot and have separate ownership could they do so. Mick Lavelle, Town Attorney from Pullman & Comley PC, indicated that the lot could be bought but not built upon as per current Zoning Regulations and the buyer would only have an interest in a condo ownership. Ms. Pardee noted that for a separate lot to be sold it would need to go through the subdivision process. This property would not be able to subdivide because as in the definition of a lot as frontage is required. As a back lot property lot unit 5B would not qualify as there is no frontage and only one access point.

Mr. Lavelle indicated that one reason the Assessor taxes the individuals separately is because the Assessor was asked to do so. Mr. Lavelle noted that he did not agree with Mr. Fuller’s opinion of the validating acts. Mr. Lavelle noted that the validating acts were established for people to retain clear title, for example, in the instance of lack of proper stamping/approval of filed maps and surveys. In this particular circumstance of lot unit 5B-5, the maps that were amended and filed did not go through the Planning Commission approval process. Regardless of the condominium designation the Planning Commission would still have the final approval on any subdivision of property.

Application #17-11-02 – 221 Lonetown Road – Owner: Eric & Courtney Cowles (Map #7 & Lot #27) – Agent: Rob Sanders Architects, 436 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897 – Request for the following variance: Section 4.6.5 of the Redding Zoning Regulations requires 50’ front and rear and 40’ from the sides:
1. Permit for New 2 Car attached Garage 35’-0” from front property line in lieu of 50’ required.
2. Permit for addition of entry porch and reconstructed roofline at existing non-conforming entry 30’-0” from front property line at most outward point in lieu of 50’ requested.
3. Permit for enclosure of existing non-conforming Roof Overhang with a 35’-0” front setback and side yard setback of 30’-0” in lieu of 50/40’ required.

Mr. Rob Sanders presented the Application to the Board on behalf of Eric & Courtney Cowles. Mr. Sanders explained the hardships faced with the property and proposed garage, entry porch and roof overhang. He indicated that the existing house does not conform to current setbacks. The existing 15’ x 22’ garage is undersized and not adequate to fit cars which must be then parked in the driveway. The owners are faced with challenges and hazards during the winter season for snow plowing and must park in the road to clear the driveway. The proposed 24’ x 24’ garage, roof overhang and covered front porch will provide safer egress and ingress and direct covered access from the house to the car bay. Mr. Sanders reviewed photos of the property with the Board. The corner of the porch is approximately four feet longer than the current corner of the structure. The topography of the property poses issues with steep grading and extensive wetlands. Mr. Cooke asked if the proposal had been to Wetlands for approval and Mr. Sanders noted it had not.

Upon motion of Mr. Cooke and second of Mr. Barrett, the Board voted to enter deliberative session at 8:43 p.m.

Application #17-11-01 – 98 Picketts Ridge Road (Map #11 & Lots # 12, 13, 17, 82, 83, 98) – Owner: Frederick V. Miller Sr. – Condominium Unit 5-B-5 (Map #11 & Lot 13) – Owner: Adam Lanehart. – Upon motion of Mr. Polio and the second of Mr. Barrett, the Board voted 5-0 in support of the Zoning Enforcement Officer’s decision denying the permit for construction of a dwelling at Unit 5B-5 at 98 Picketts Ridge Road.

Application #17-11-02 – 221 Lonetown Road – Owner: Eric & Courtney Cowles (Map #7 & Lot #27) – Agent: Rob Sanders Architects, 436 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897 – Upon motion of Mr. Smith and the second of Mr. Cooke, the Board voted 5-0 to grant the requested variances for the hardships of egress and ingress safety, wetlands and topography:
1. Reduce front yard setback from 50’ to 30’ for additions (20’ variance), for addition of entry porch and reconstructed roofline at existing non-conforming entry.
2. Reduce side yard setback from 40’ to 30’ for enclosure of roof overhang (10’ variance).
3. Permit new 2-car attached garage 35’ from the front property line in lieu of 50’ requirement (15’ variance).
4. Permit enclosure of existing non-conforming roof overhang with a 35’ front setback and 30’ side yard setback in lieu of the 50’ and 40’ required respectively (15’ front yard and 10’ side yard variance).

Upon motion of Mr. Given and second of Ms. Cilo, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at
8:52 p.m.

The Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:52 p.m.

These minutes have not been approved by the ZBA.

Submitted by klg 11/27/17