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Minutes of Zoning Board of Appeals, 02/19/2013

AGENDA: Zoning Board of Appeals

RECEIVED 02/21/2013 1:22pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Michael Thompson, Chairman
Robert Morton
Colleen Litof
Henry Polio
Trevor Furrer, Alternate

Absent: Beth Williams

The meeting was called to order at 7:33 p.m.~The Chair designated alternate member Trevor Furrer to act in the place of Ms. Williams.


Upon the Motion of Mr. Morton and second of Ms. Litof,  the September 18, 2012 Zoning Board of Appeals Motions and Meeting Minutes and the November 20, 2012 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes were approved unanimously (5-0) by the Board.


Application 01-15-01 – 100 Umpawaug Road – Map 36 & Lot 31 – Owners: Michael & Martha Black, 159 Sunset Hill Road- AGENT: Attorney Douglas Bayer, Bayer & Black PC, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT – Requesting two variances: 1) To allow for the construction of a driveway with sightlines of 130’ feet to the south; and 2) To allow for the construction of a driveway with a sightline of 180’ feet to the north. ~Section 3.8 (b) of the Zoning Regulations requires a minimum sight-line distance at 15’ feet back from travelway of frontage road: 250’ feet to approaching vehicles. ~The variances requested are 1) 120’feet to the south & 2) 70’ feet to the north.

Mr. Douglas Bayer, of Bayer & Black, P.C., agent and attorney for owners Michael & Martha Black presented the application to the Board.  Mr. Michael Black was present at the meeting. Mr. Bayer presented to the Board a letter authorizing him to represent the Blacks in the matter of this Application.  Mr. Thompson entered the letter into the record.

Mr. Thompson thanked the Black’s for their patience in previously agreeing to postpone the hearing on their application until February.  The Board’s January meeting was not held due to irreconcilable scheduling issues that prevented a quorum from being possible.

Mr. Bayer began his presentation indicating that the applicants first became aware of the sightline issue during the permitting process in front of the Conservation/Wetlands Commission this past Fall.

The shortage in the sightline is due primarily to the unique topography of Umpawaug Road.    Mr. Bayer indicated that there are no alternate sites on the property for the driveway to be placed to comply with Regulations.  In fact, for the sightlines to be made compliant with existing regulations, substantial re-grading within the Umpawaug Road right-of-way would be required.  The Blacks do not have a legal right to perform such work in the right-of-way area.  In addition, a scenic road change is usually discouraged and would require municipal approvals.  Moving the driveway to another location would result in either no change in the current sightline distances or would require re-grading and/or blasting, and would impact the adjoining property.

Next, Ms. Nancy Levesque, a licensed professional engineer with CCA Engineering made a presentation to the Board discussing the difficult topography of the property, which included a review of the site map in relation to Umpawaug Road.  She indicated that the proper sightline distance could be achieved to the north at 8 feet from the curb line with minor clearing.  While the Section 3.8 of the Regulations stipulates that the sightline distances should be from 15 feet, she noted that there are some state cases that allow a shorter distance of 8 to 10 feet from the curb line as acceptable.  Mr. Thompson asked what kind of clearing would be needed to achieve this sightline to the north and Ms. Levesque said that it would be no more than clearing brush and weeds in the overgrown area.  She indicated that the driveway could not be moved further north due to the current location of the septic system and wetlands.  If the driveway were to be shifted to the south, a knoll/ledge in Umpawaug Road would be impacted.  At the current proposed location of the driveway, a sightline distance to the south of approximately 165 feet is achievable from nearly 10 feet to the curb line.  Clearing would be required of brush without any blasting to clear for appropriate sightline distances both North and South.  Mr. Thompson inquired as to what the speed limit was for this part of Umpawaug Road and Ms. Levesque indicated it was 25 mph.

Mr. Bayer then indicated that the proposed driveway location was optimal due to the topographical features of the property and scenic nature of Umpawaug Road and that the proposed placement of the driveway provides the best way to achieve the greatest sightline distance with a minimal amount of disruption.  The sightlines achieved would be consistent with a good number of driveways not only on Umpawaug Road, but throughout Redding.  Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Bayer if there were any other wetlands or general issues with the placement of the driveway identified by the Conservation/Wetlands Commission.  Mr. Bayer indicated that he was not at the Conservation Commission meeting but his understanding from Mr. Flanagan, Zoning and Wetlands Enforcement Officer, was that the sightline issues were the only ones remaining.


Mr. Thompson welcomed Mr. Furrer’s son, Trevor, who was in attendance as part of his efforts to earn a citizenship badge for the Boy Scouts.

Application 02-19-02 – 1 John Applegate Road – Map 47 & Lot 63 – Owners: Daniel & Karen Johnson – Requesting a variance to reduce the rear yard setback to 25’ feet for a residential power generator. ~Section 4.6.5 of the Redding Zoning Regulations requires a 50’ rear yard setback in the R-2 Zone. ~The variance requested is 25’ feet.

Mr. Daniel Johnson, owner of 1 John Applegate Rd, presented the application to the Board.  Mr. Johnson indicated that, per New England Surveying, the proposed location for the new generator is due to topographical issues, as well to achieve visual screening from neighbors and from Farview Farm Road.  Mr. Johnson reviewed the map details with the Board members pointing out specific areas on the property: the residence, the proposed generator location, wooded areas, swimming pool area, septic locations, and adjacent neighbors.  At the proposed location, Mr. Johnson estimated that the generator would be approximately 75-100 feet from the residence and would be not be audible to any of the adjacent neighbors.  Mr. Polio inquired as to whether the generator could be moved within the setback limit closer to the residence.  Mr. Johnson indicated that the area between the house and generator is sloped and that he had been advised that the generator would need to be installed on a flat surface.  Mr. Polio suggested that perhaps the slope could be excavated to accommodate a flat pad.  Mr. Johnson also voiced concern about moving the generator closer to the residence as it could possibly be too close to the underground pool mechanics, specifically piping and related equipment.  The Board members suggested that further detailed information of the property would be helpful in order to render a decision.

Upon motion of Ms. Litof and second of Mr. Furrer, the Board entered Deliberative Session at 8:07 p.m.


Application 01-15-01 – 100 Umpawaug Road – Map 36 & Lot 31 – Owners: Michael & Martha Black, 159 Sunset Hill Road- AGENT: Attorney Douglas Bayer, Bayer & Black PC, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT – Upon motion of Mr. Morton and second of Mr. Polio, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the application for both variances based on a demonstrated topographical hardship.  The variance is granted on the basis that the proposed sightlines to the north and south be regularly cleared of any brush, shrubs or other visual impairments.

Application 02-19-02 – 1 John Applegate Road – Map 47 & Lot 63 Owners: Daniel & Karen Johnson – Upon motion of Ms. Litof and second of Mr. Furrer, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the application for a variance, without prejudice, so that the applicant can provide further detailed information regarding specific topographical and other relevant information regarding the property and placement of the proposed generator.  The applicants will not be required to pay an additional filing fee to re-file their application.

Upon motion of Ms. Litof and second of Mr. Furrer, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at 8:11 p.m.


The Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:12 p.m.

These minutes have not been approved by the ZBA.

Submitted by klg 2/21/2013