Zoning Board of Appeals
October 16, 2018
Town Hall Hearing Room
Noel Cooke, Jenifer Wyss, Jill Cilo, Daniel Barrett and Scott Smith
Clifford Paige and Carol Paige
1. Call Meeting to Order
Mr. Cooke called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.
2. Approval of August 21, 2018 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes & Motions.
Mr. Barrett made a motion to approve the minutes and motions of the August 21, 2018 meeting. Ms. Cilo seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.
3. Application #18-10-01 – 4 Sport Hill Road (Map #33 & Lot #23) – Owner Clifford E. Paige
Request for a variance to reduce side yard setback from 40’ feet to 21’ feet for a generator. Section 4.6.5 of the Redding Zoning Regulations requires 40’ feet setback for sides. Variance requested is 19’ feet.
Mr. Paige explained that after 40 years of living in Redding, he decided to get a generator. He determined that the best place to put his generator was the left side of the house. However, the generator is now 21’ feet from the property line. He stated that his home existed before the road, Bridle Road, was constructed, and thus his home is an existing nonconforming property. The contractor proposing to install the generator stated that the spot chosen was the best location.
Mr. Cooke explained to Mr. Paige that a hardship must be demonstrated to allow the board to grant a variance. He stated that being inconvenienced by the location of a generator does not demonstrate a hardship, and that having other spots on the property that are feasible future locations makes it hard to grant a variance.
Ms. Cilo asked about removal of a bush near the cellar doors to place the generator. Mr. Paige responded by saying the area where the bush is was considered, but the proximity to windows and to the cellar doors made it unfeasible.
Mr. Smith asked Mr. Paige about the Town of Redding property that abuts his property.
Mr. Cooke stated that an existing nonconforming property cannot be made even more nonconforming.
Mr. Paige asked the board what exactly constitutes a variance. Mr. Cooke answered that a variance is a request for zoning regulations to not apply in a situation based on specific reasons. There are two conditions when someone can appeal for a variance. The first condition is when someone believes a zoning officer has ruled incorrectly. The second condition is when relief is requested due to a hardship.
Mr. Cooke explained that a hardship exists when the lack of a variance prevents a property owner from using their property or reduces the value of the property to a deleterious effect.
Mrs. Paige asked if access to electricity and the house infrastructure is considered a hardship. Mr. Cooke informed them that it is not.
Mr. Barrett asked where the propane tanks are going to be stored for the generator.
Mr. Paige answered that the tanks would be stored near the house.
Mrs. Paige asked the definition of a hardship. Mr. Cooke answered her question.
Mr. Cooke moved to have deliberative session. Mrs. Paige asked about recourse if the variance is not granted. Mr. Smith stated that there is an option to continue the meeting to November, thus allowing the Paiges to substantiate the hardship aspect of their application. The Paiges decided not to request a continuance of the hearing.
Mrs. Paige asked who she should talk to about moving the generator to a location that would be in compliance with the setback regulations.
Mr. Cooke moved the board to deliberative session at 8:01PM.
4. Possible Discussion/Administrative Matters
Mr. Barrett stated that he doesn’t see a justification for variance due to lack of demonstrated hardship.
Ms. Wyss said she is struggling to see a hardship.
Mr. Smith proposed speaking with the zoning committee about their generator policy and the frequency of requests for variance regarding generators. He discussed Section 3.9 of the zoning regulations that deal with paved terraces. The Town of Redding will allow for paved terraces to violate setbacks, but generators are not allowed to encroach into the setbacks. He stated that weather events that result in power outages could result in a hardship for Mr. and Mrs. Paige.
Ms. Cilo stated she was leaning towards approving the variance without Mr. Smith’s statements. The first support was that even though the generator is 21’ feet from the property, it is 40 feet from the road. The second support is the presence of the various pumps in the yard, making the soil wet and unstable to build on.
Mr. Cooke stated that the zoning regulations section 5.3.9c indicates that generators were contemplated in the zoning regulations and therefore need to comply with the setbacks. He also stated that weather pattern changes are general and not specific to the property, and variances must be property-specific. He said that there are other areas that are suitable for the generator. The lack of convenience or aesthetic value does not constitute a hardship. Additionally, the requested variance would increase existing nonconformity. He would not be in favor of granting a variance.
Mr. Cooke read a letter in support of Mr. Paige’s Variance. The text is below:
16 October 2018
Dear Chairman Williams,
In the matter of Application #18-10-01, 4 Sport Hill Road (Map #33 & Lot #23), we fully support Mr. Paige’s request for a variance. Thank you.
Doug Geyer, Ed. D
Joan T. Geyer
6 Bridle Road
Redding, CT 06896
Mr. Smith moved to deny application #18-10-01, Clifford Paige, for the reason that the variance violates section 5.3.9c of the zoning regulations, and if granted, would further increase existing nonconformity. Mr. Barrett seconds the motion. The vote is unanimous, and the motion passed.
Ms. Cilo motioned to end deliberative session. Ms. Wyss seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.
Mr. Smith moved to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Cilo seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.
The meeting ended at 8:16PM.
Submitted by Zachary Smith