Beth Williams, Chairman
Henry Polio, Secretary
Noel Cooke, Alternate
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.
APPROVAL OF ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES:
Upon the Motion of Mr. Polio and second of Mr. Given, the September 15, 2015 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes were approved (4-0) by the Board. Mr. Smith abstained.
Application 15-10-01 – 306 Umpawaug Road- Owner Fire Dist. #2: Applicant: West Redding Volunteer Fire Dept. –Requesting a variance from Section 3.12(a) (Height Exceptions) of the Redding Zoning Regulations for broadcast antennas a maximum height equal to setback distance of the highest point of the feature from side or rear lot lines, or 100 feet, whichever is least. Antenna Pole is 111’ in height. Variance requested is 22.1 feet from the side and rear setback.
Jack Foley, Commissioner for the West Redding Fire Department, presented the application to the Board. He indicated that the pole and antenna were relocated to maintain emergency communication to the community for Fire and EMS services. Fire Chief Glenn Johnson was also present and explained that due to structural deterioration of the original antenna mounted on the roof it had to be relocated. Mr. Polio inquired if the wood pole was new and Mr. Johnson replied that it was not new but donated from a local contractor.
Mr. Johnson stated the communications is for the main base radio system, identical to all the Redding fire departments, to transmit on the fire band. Mr. Polio inquired if there was the need for engineering support for the current height and if the height of 111 feet included the antenna in the overall measurement. Mr. Foley indicated that the 111 feet was the height of the pole excluding the antenna. The total height with antenna is 127 feet. Mr. Givens questioned whether the variance requested should be greater than noted in the application due to the additional height of the overall structure. Mr. Foley asked if a greater variance could be granted as such. Ms. Williams stated the Board may only review and deliberate on the application as originally stated and as publicized. The Board suggested the fire department re-apply using the correct height including the antenna along with a letter of support from the communication/utilities engineer regarding the need for the proposed height.
Mr. Robert Ponturo of Brick School Road, an adjacent neighbor, was present and not opposed to the current location of the pole and antenna as it cannot be seen from his property. His main concern was the possibility of the pole and antenna being moved to a different location within view of his property.
Application 15-10-02 – 8 Sunnyview Drive – Owner Janice Pomazi, 85 Sunset Hill Road (Map 9 # & Lot #43) – Requesting a variance for Driveway from Redding Zoning Regulations Section 3.8(a): setback from side property line 5.6.4: parking area setbacks.
Mrs. Janice Pomazi presented the application to the Board. She is seeking a variance to keep the existing driveway in its current location, which she claimed has remained the same since buying the property. It would be a hardship to move all utilities that are located under the drive and an apron has been installed. Ms. Williams showed an aerial view of the property from 2006 obtained from the Town’s Zoning records to Mrs. Pomazi that appears to show the driveway further from the property line than the current existing driveway. Mr. Steven Pomazi was also present and indicated he does not have a plan dated back indicating the driveway is where it is today. He stated that Mr. Forsell, a former owner and nursery business operator, located behind 8 Sunnyview Drive, used the driveway for access to the barn where it currently is located.
Mr. Pomazi stated that in previous litigation two Superior Court Judges, The Honorable J. Marano and The Honorable Sheila Ann Ozalis, noted the location of the driveway. Ms. Williams requested Mr. Pomazi read the documents as they pertain to the driveway into the record:
[State of Connecticut Superior Court Document dated April 23, 2014, by The Honorable J. Marano]: “Regarding the Motion for Articulation dated April 14, 2014, the Court articulates as follows: the location referred to in the Court’s Memorandum of Decision dated August 19, 2011 is the driveway next to the property line which divides the two properties.”
Ms. Williams said he articulated it was there, however that doesn’t mean that it falls into Zoning guidelines of 2014.
[State of Connecticut Superior Court Document dated May 27, 2014], by The Honorable Sheila Ann Ozalis: “Judge Marano articulated on April 23, 2014, that this location was the driveway next to the property line which divides the two properties.”
Mr. Smith asked if Mr. Pomazi contends that because of that language that the ZBA is bound by that language Mr. Pomazi said “No, I wasn’t saying that at all”.
Mr. Given expressed confusion about whether this was pre-existing for some years and the board is trying to find out how long it has been there. Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi both indicated that they have tried and could not find any other old records.
Michele Holmes of 81 Sunset Hill Rd, the neighbor adjacent to 8 Sunnyview Drive, commented in opposition of the variance request. Ms. Holmes indicated that she was currently involved in litigation with Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi regarding the location of the driveway. She presented court transcripts and photos to the Board, including aerial views dating back to 1997 and 2006. Ms. Holmes explained that she purchased the 1-acre lot from Pomazi and as noted in the photos submitted there was no driveway in the current location. Ms. Holmes reviewed the photos with the Board members that showed the driveway up to the stone wall encroaching on the property line. She presented and read from a court transcript from 2010 in which the Pomazi’s attorney stated on the record that it was a temporary driveway:
[Schedule B transcript of Superior Court dated August 23, 2010, p. 172], quoting Janice Pomazi’s attorney, Patrick Zailckas: “Her complaining that, hypothetically, at some point down the road my client’s going to construct a driveway because what’s there right now is not a driveway. There’s a temporary access coming in for construction purposes only. Mr. Pomazi is – has been applying for and receiving the necessary permits to do whatever he’s doing on his property”.
Ms. Holmes states she removed a wire fence and replaced it with the stockade fence on the property line that was indicated by the survey done under the order of the Redding Police Department. Ms. Williams received the photos and court documents into the record.
Ms. Williams asked Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi if they had color photos of the ones submitted with the original application. Mrs. Pomazi provided the color photos to the Board and Ms. Williams received them into the record. Mr. Pomazi indicated there has been ongoing litigation with Ms. Holmes and after the court ordered Ms. Holmes to remove the fence she installed a new fence; after which the Pomazis installed a stone wall along the drive which is in places 4-6 feet from the property line.
Mr. Brian Lambeck approached the Board requesting to see the court document submitted by Mrs. Holmes. He was given the document to review and found that he was not the attorney of record noted on the document, and therefore had no comment.
Ms. Lauri Pomazi of 8 Sunnyview Drive, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi, spoke in support of the application for variance. She indicated that as a child she played in Forsell’s lot testifying the driveway had been there for many years.
Mr. Steven Pomazi Jr. of 12 Sunnyview Drive, son of Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi, spoke in support of the application for variance. He indicated the septic servicing was located under the drive which required reinforcement to the driveway to accommodate heavy equipment.
Ms. Stephanie Wade, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Pomazi, spoke in support of the application for variance. She recalled going through the property back in the 1970s through the existing driveway.
Application 15-10-03 – 183 Old Redding Road – Owner Stephanie Gash (Map #20 Lot #2) – Requesting a variance to reduce side yard setback 20’ for a Garden Shed, Redding Zoning Regulation Section 4.6.5 requires 40’. Variance requested is 20’feet.
Mr. Smith recused himself from hearing and deliberating on this application. Ms. Williams appointed Alternate member Mr. Cooke to sit in.
Ms. Stephanie Gash presented the application to the Board. She is requesting a variance to build a new garden shed (10’ x 16’) to replace a pre-existing garden shed (8’ x 10’) damaged in 2011. The proposed location of the new shed is 20 feet from the East property line and will be screened from Old Redding Road by existing vegetation. The proposed shed will be set on blocks and gravel. Ms. Gash explained the property is a non-conforming lot of a half-acre in size and due to the size of the lot along with the location of the septic and the drainage system the locations for shed placement are limited. Ms. Williams asked if the shed had been removed. Ms. Gash indicated she did recently remove the shed but staked out the location, which Mr. Polio had seen. She indicated that the new garden shed was a typical 10’ x 16’ size with a ridge height of 11 feet that will give it an aesthetic appeal. Mr. Given and Mr. Polio pointed out various locations on the survey that would be within setback limits, including the opposite side yard.
Mr. Arthur Kennedy of 169 Umpawaug Road, an adjacent neighbor, spoke in opposition to the variance request. He noted that the old shed (10’ x 8’ x 6.5’) was not in compliance with Zoning Regulations for four years. Mr. Kennedy voiced concern regarding the size of the new proposed garden shed (16’ x 10’ x 12’) being 57.85% larger than the old shed as well as closer to his property line at a distance of 20 feet. He feels that the shed should be placed elsewhere on the lot that will not affect the property value or aesthetic appeal of his own property. Mr. Polio asked Mr. Kennedy to confirm the location of his house on the photos and Mr. Kennedy complied.
Application 15-08-04 – 38 Cross Highway – Owner William Palumbo & Sandi M. Rich (Map #22 & Lot #33) – Requesting a variance to reduce rear yard setback 25’ feet and side yard setback 25’feet for a 2 Hoop Barns. Redding Zoning Regulations Section 4.6 requires 50’ foot rear setback and 40’ feet side yard setback. Variance requested is 25’ feet rear yard setback and 15’ foot side yard setback.
Mr. William Palumbo presented the application to the Board. He indicated that the intended use for the hoop barns is to store a boat and tractor. The proposed location is a pad, a level gravel area, with a dedicated drive that previously had a barn. Mr. Palumbo indicated when he purchased the property there was no barn, only wood, and assumes it collapsed. Ms. Williams noted that a barn was listed on the assessment records of the property. Mr. Polio asked if the hoop barns were to be a temporary structure. Mr. Palumbo confirmed that they would be temporary and are 20’ x 40’ aluminum frames with tarps. Ms. Williams had previously done a site visit and discussed other locations for the hoop frames within setbacks. Mr. Palumbo noted that due to well and septic locations it would be tricky, and he may have to re-grade some of the property.
Upon motion of Mr. Given and second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted to enter deliberative session at 9:19 p.m.
Application 15-10-01 – 306 Umpawaug Road- Owner Fire Dist. #2: Applicant: West Redding Volunteer Fire Dept. –Upon motion of Mr. Given and the second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the request for variance without prejudice to allow the applicant to amend the variance requested based on the height of the pole and antenna combined.
Application 15-10-02 – 8 Sunnyview Drive – Owner Janice Pomazi, 85 Sunset Hill Road (Map 9 # & Lot #43) – After a brief discussion, during which the board referred to the topographical map from 2006 taken from town records showing a driveway from Sunnyview Drive running through the center of the property, not in the current location, upon motion of Ms. Litof and the second of Mr. Given, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the request for variance. There are no topographical hardships noted and the driveway originally located within setback limits can be restored as such.
Application 15-10-03 – 183 Old Redding Road – Owner Stephanie Gash (Map #20 Lot #2) – Mr. Smith recused himself from deliberation on this application. Upon motion of Ms. Litof and the second of Mr. Cooke, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the request for variance as there are other locations the shed can be placed within setback limits.
Application 15-08-04 – 38 Cross Highway – Owner William Palumbo & Sandi M. Rich (Map #22 & Lot #33) – Upon motion of Mr. Given and the second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted 5-0 to deny request for variance based upon lack of hardship.
Upon motion of Mr. Given and second of Mr. Smith, the Board voted to exit deliberative session at 9:38 p.m.
Mr. Smith suggested supplying additional information to applicants outlining hardship criteria when applying for variance. Ms. Williams stated that she is working on a draft to discuss at a later date. Mr. Polio noted that additional review of the applications is needed upon receipt.
The Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:38 p.m.
These minutes have not been approved by the ZBA.
Submitted by klg 10/22/15