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Minutes of Zoning Board of Appeals, 02/21/2017

AGENDA: Zoning Board of Appeals

RECEIVED 02/23/2017 11:35am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

FEBRUARY 21, 2017 – 7:30 P.M.

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

The meeting was called to order at 7:29 p.m.

Mr. Smith recused himself from hearing and deliberating on Application 17-02-01. Ms. Williams appointed Alternate member Ms. Cilo to sit in.

Upon the Motion of Mr. Cooke and second of Mr. Given, the January 17, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes were approved (5-0) by the Board.

Application #17-02-01 –7 Long Ridge Road –Owner Suzanne Fogle, Westbrook Property LLC (Map #12 & Lot #36) – Request for 7 variances of the Redding Zoning Regulations to expand an existing preschool as a stand-alone operation, not accessory to a single family residence. The following reductions are requested:

a) 5.6.4 Side and Rear lot lines from 100’ to 10’
b) 5.6.5a Design Standards – Parking access aisle from 24’ to 12’
c) 5.6.5b Traffic circulation –Two lanes 24’ to One lane 12’
d) 5.6.5d Surface treatment –Bit concrete to existing gravel
e) 5.6.5e Pavement markings to none over gravel
f) 5.1.4(a) Residential buffer to parking from 100’ to 10’
g) 5.7.2 Required landscaped buffer from 100’ to 10’

Mr. Michael Mazzucco, Professional Engineer, presented the Application to the Board on behalf of the owner, Suzanne Fogle. Mr. Mazzucco indicated that in 2010 an increase in student enrollment was made from 10 to 12 students. Due to continual requests for enrollment, Suzanne Fogle, would like to increase enrollment to 16 students which will also require an additional employee at the daycare. Mr. Mazzucco noted that previously Ms. Fogle used the dwelling for residential use but it is no longer currently used as residential and is entirely for the daycare use. As such, two parking spaces allocated for the residential use may be utilized for daycare students and employees, with an addition of two spaces per the zoning regulation to accommodate the proposed increase in staff and enrollment.
Mr. Mazzucco pointed out on the survey the proposed location of the additional spaces nearby the existing parking spaces in the area of the property adjacent to 11 Long Ridge Road. Mr. Mazzucco indicated that much of the property to the rear of the lot is wetlands and flood zone A.

Ms. Williams inquired as to what was applied for and approved in 2010 from Zoning. Mr. Mazzucco indicated it was to add the preschool for accessory use for 10 students (per State guidelines). Ms. Fogle indicated that she purchased the property in 2010. At that time, there was a gravel drive and the steep portion was paved with bit concrete. Mr. Mazzucco noted that the requested variance for reduction in the traffic circulation lanes to just one lane of 12 feet is due to the staggered nature of the drop off and pick up schedule. Ms. Fogle explained that the time span gives a wide range of times for both dropping off and picking up alleviates traffic issues so there are never more than 3 or 4 cars at any given time.

Ms. Williams asked Mr. Mazzucco what they considered the rear yard for setback purposes, as it didn’t seem they needed a rear yard setback at all. Mr. Givens agreed that the rear yard is determined by the front yard road frontage. Mr. Mazzuco pointed out the area affected by the reduced setbacks on the survey. Mr. Mazzucco reviewed the survey with the Board, as well as provided photographs of the property and the proposed areas for parking.

Mr. Given asked as to the reason the Zoning Enforcement Officer, Aimee Pardee, recommended an application be presented to the Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Mazzucco indicated that due to the increase in students and that the daycare was no longer an accessory to the residence a review of the zoning regulations for all concerns was advised as well as seeking compliance with Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Polio asked if the plan as laid out in the survey is proposed or existing. Mr. Mazzucco indicated that everything noted currently exists except for adding two parking spaces as well as some plantings and an extension to the existing fence. Ms. Williams noted that she visited the location and noted an area where there was a potential for alternative additional parking that was not included on the site plan closer to the property line adjacent to the State of Connecticut property of 3 Long Ridge Road instead of adjacent to a residential property.

Ms. Williams questioned if Zoning approved the special use permit for daycare of 10 students in 2010. Ms. Fogle confirmed approval for 12 students was made by Zoning not long after 2010. Mr. Mazzucco believed Robert Flanagan was the Zoning Enforcement Officer at the time. He also indicated that Ms. Fogle would need to return to the Zoning Commission to have the special use permit changed from an accessory to a single family residence to a stand alone operation if the Zoning Board of Appeals were to grant the variances.

Mr. Polio inquired about the proposed change from bit concrete to gravel. Mr. Mazzucco indicated it was to maintain little environmental impact. Ms. Williams inquired as to areas of the survey that are marked ‘ZBA approval only’. Mr. Mazzucco indicated that the remarks are just planning notations.

Ms. Williams questioned if the ‘lunch bunch’ added additional people to the premises. Ms. Fogle stated that it did not. Ms. Williams asked Ms. Fogle to confirm that there are no more than 12 students at any time on the premises. Ms. Fogle stated that was correct, no more than 12 daycare students. Ms. Fogle noted there was a parent/child class three times a week during a separate two hour window. Ms. Williams noted a concern of additional traffic at the premises.

Ms. Williams asked what the hours of operation were for the facility. Ms. Fogle indicated daily 8:30am to 12:15pm, with extended pick up to 12:30pm. The lunch bunch adds an additional hour to the schedule, to 1:30pm, and additional people. The Mommy & Me program runs from 9:00 to 11:00am, eight parents with children, typically 16 people in total in addition to the 12 daycare students.

Mr. Kevin Leigland of 9 Long Ridge Road, adjacent neighbor, voiced concern regarding the potential loss of magnolia trees which currently provides screening and privacy between his property and the daycare property. Mr. Mazzucco noted there was no plan to remove any of the tree screening. Also, Mr. Leigland indicated that the wells for both properties are near each other and if something is dumped in the daycare’s well it can be tasted in their well. He was concerned with additional usage to the well should the enrollment be increased at the daycare. Mr. Leighland also voiced concern regarding having increased commercial traffic adjacent to his property and how that may change the value of his property and affect future sales in the neighborhood.

Mrs. Joann Villamizar of 235 Simpaug Turnpike, adjacent neighbor, voiced concern opposing the variances as the daycare is very noisy and if enrollment is increased the noise level will also therefore increase. Also, she was concerned should the property be changed to commercial use with the expansion and how variance approvals would possibly be used by potential future business owners.

Ms. Danielle Caldwell, office manager at the Westbrook Nature School, gave praise to the school’s growth over time. She indicated that the school is a true gem to the Redding community and a unique opportunity for residents, which has been shown by the increased enrollment requests. Ms. Caldwell also noted that the Westbrook Nature School was recognized and requested to host the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools. She stated the daycare provides a community experience with family.

Mr. Mazzucco assured those concerned of change to a commercial use that such change would require proper approval from the Zoning Commission. Currently, the daycare is under a special use permit which is granted for special businesses such as schools and churches.

Ms. Fogle noted that she did not have any intention of selling the property but should she choose to do so she thought she would donate the property to a nature organization.

Upon motion of Mr. Given and second of Mr. Cooke, the Board voted to enter deliberative session at 8:17 p.m.

Application #17-02-01 –7 Long Ridge Road –Owner Suzanne Fogle, Westbrook Property LLC – Upon motion of Mr. Cooke and the second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the variance for expansion of pre-existing special use due to lack of demonstrated hardship.

Upon motion of Mr. Cooke and second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at
8:24 p.m.

The Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:24 p.m.

These minutes have not been approved by the ZBA.
Submitted by klg 2/23/17

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