TOWN OF REDDING
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
JULY 18, 2017 – 7:30 P.M.
TOWN HALL HEARING ROOM
Present: Beth Williams, Chairman; Henry Polio, Secretary; Scott Smith; Jill Cilo, Alternate; and Daniel Barrett, Alternate
The meeting was called to order at 7:31 p.m.
APPROVAL OF ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES:
Upon the Motion of Mr. Smith and second of Ms. Cilo, the April 18, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes were approved (5-0) by the Board. Mr. Barrett noted a correction on page 2, first paragraph which should read as follows: “Ms. Pardee noted that proper permitting to convert the containers for a variety of uses had not yet been approved”.
Application #17-07-01 –221 Lonetown Road –Owner: Eric & Courtney Cowles (Map #7 & Lot #27) – Agent: Rob Sanders Architects, 436 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897 – Request for two (2) variances: reduce front yard setback from 50 feet to 10 feet for a free-standing Two Car Garage and reduce front yard setback from 50 feet to 28 feet for addition to Main House. Section 4.6.5 of the Redding Zoning Regulations requires 50 feet front yard setback. Variances requested are 40 feet for Garage and 22 feet for Main House.
Mr. Rob Sanders presented the application to the Board. Mr. Sanders explained that the existing 1840s house, which was originally a barn, is a pre-existing non-conforming structure situated close to the road. From additions that were previously done in the 1970s the house is already in the setback areas in the front and side yards. Ms. Williams inquired if variances were granted when the additions were done. Mr. Sanders was unsure but assumed so. Mr. Sanders noted that the existing one-car garage at approximately 15 feet, originally used to house an antique/compact vehicle, does not allow for housing an average sized car. The proposed addition to the house will increase the depth of the structure 8 feet from the front face of the house. The proposed addition will also add to the side of the dwelling which would provide a new covered entry and replacement code-compliant stairs to the existing non-conforming spiral staircase.
Mr. Sanders reviewed drawings and photographs with the Board members of the proposed locations for the addition to the house and the free-standing two-car garage. He indicated that the Cowles purchased the adjacent lot to their property two years ago with the mindset of creating a garage for housing vehicles and gaining additional storage as the house lacks storage space, attic or basement. Mr. Sanders noted the locations of the large wetland areas, septic systems and areas of steep grading.
Mr. and Mrs. Cowles explained their position in that the lack of a garage has been difficult at best. They have been unable to use the existing small garage for sheltering their vehicle since moving into the residence and the driveway access to the property is severely restrictive in that vehicles in the driveway must be moved and parked on Lonetown Road for access by servicing vehicles, such as a plow, which creates a potential hazard.
Mr. Sanders noted there was a letter received from an adjacent neighbor at 215 Lonetown Road in support of the Cowles’ proposed addition and garage. The letter was read into the record.
Ms. Cilo inquired as to how far the proposed garage was from the existing stone wall. Mr. Sanders indicated it was approximately 5 feet with the garage doors facing towards the residence. Mr. Polio asked about the grading of the property from the front towards the back and if there are any flat levels. Mr. Sanders noted that the topography slopes downward toward the back of the property to where there is a pool and a pool house along with septic in the rear. The well is located in the front yard. Ms. Williams inquired as to the size of the proposed garage. Mr. Sanders noted it was 26 feet by 32 feet.
Ms. Williams noted concern that while the structure is clearly non-conforming as is the current proposal is increasing the non-conformity and adding an additional structure that is non-conforming. Ms. Williams read Zoning Regulation 5.17.2 into the record: “A non-conforming building or structure shall not be enlarged or extended, except where the enlargement or extension is in full conformity with these Regulations.” It was noted that while the contours of the property is a challenging issue, the hardships given were really inconveniences that have been with the property since it was purchased. Mr. Sanders noted that the proposed garage location was chosen based on aesthetics and modern day use while maintaining some historical aspect to the property.
Henry Merritt on behalf of the Redding Land Trust was present for the application hearing. He indicated that the Redding Land Trust has an adjacent neighboring property and while the particulars of this application do not affect the Land Trust’s lot he voiced concern with ‘nibbling’ of the regulations over the years based on decisions made by various Boards. He noted the Land Trust believes the deed should stand for itself and is concerned about precedence factors going forward.
Mr. Sanders noted that moving the free-standing structure to a conforming area of the lot would create significant site disturbance in order to create a proper functional driveway. The garage structure as proposed would cause less environmental impact.
Upon motion of Mr. Smith and second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted to enter deliberative session at 8:08 p.m.
DELIBERATIVE SESSION #1:
The Board Members discussed the hardships presented along with the environmental impact. The plans were reviewed for locating the proposed garage structure where a minimal variance would be required, if any. Additional questions were posed for these possible locations and the Board decided to leave deliberative session for discussion with Mr. Sanders.
Upon motion of Mr. Polio and second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at 8:16 p.m.
Both Ms. Williams and Mr. Polio made the suggestion of pivoting the garage in the proposed location to minimize variances in the setback. Mr. Sanders noted difficulties faced with the suggestion as it relates to the stone wall and the contour of the property on the opposite side of the stone wall. Mr. Polio asked how much distance is required for the driveway and garage access. Mr. Sanders noted 30-35 feet is the minimum distance needed to back out of the garage. Ms. Williams suggested the applicant revisit the plan with a view to relocation of the proposed garage that would reduce the variance requested.
Upon motion of Mr. Smith and second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted to enter deliberative session at 8:22 p.m.
DELIBERATIVE SESSION #2:
Application #17-07-01 –221 Lonetown Road –Owner: Eric & Courtney Cowles – Upon motion of Mr. Polio and the second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted 5-0 to deny without prejudice the request for variances of 40 feet for two car garage and 22 feet for addition to the house.
Upon motion of Mr. Smith and second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at 8:26 p.m.
The Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:26 p.m.
These minutes have not been approved by the ZBA.
Submitted by klg 7/20/17