Redding Zoning Commission
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes
October 27, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Present: Matt Lecher, Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary; Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Alternate Diana Carlino-Coffey; Alternate Gary Miyashiro.
Also Present: Aimee Pardee, Zoning Officer; Applicants; Members of the Public.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., seating Ms. Carlino-Coffey for Bill Whitehead and seating Mr. Miyashiro for the open seat on the commission.
Public Hearing: Application #21-12Z – 130 Picketts Ridge Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot 11 – 3): Owner John Carlson. In accordance with Section 5.14.4 (c), request for a Special Use Permit for a shade/green house in excess of 2000 square feet of ground coverage. Received 9/8/21: Public Hearing 10/13/21, 10/27/21
The Chairman briefly introduced the application, noting that the Public Hearing was already open. He then turned the floor over to the applicant. Attorney Frank Scinto introduced himself, explaining that he is counsel for the Applicant. John Carlson, the Applicant, shared his screen, showing a new map with the dimensions of the proposed greenhouse revised, and with contour lines and a treed buffer next to the greenhouse.
Mr. Ogonek asked for clarification of the term “high tunnel”, which Mr. Carlson had used. Mr. Carlson explained that the structure is also known as a hoop house, which is distinct from a permanent greenhouse because it has no heat or mechanical ventilation. He said it is a frame covered with plastic that is about 14’ tall.
Attorney Neil Marcus, appearing for the neighbors Rodolpho and Sandra Comas, spoke. He questioned whether the map submitted conformed to the requirements of the regulations. He also asserted that there are multiple violations of the Zoning Regulations at 130 Picketts Ridge Road and that, therefore, no further approvals should be granted until the violations are resolved. He specifically raised the issue of fans in an existing greenhouse, and on-site parking. He stated that, should the commission approve the current application, his clients would appeal. He went on to state that, should the Zoning Officer not take action regarding fans in the existing greenhouse, he would also take legal action.
Attorney Scinto addressed the commission. He noted that no violation notices have been issued to the owner of 130 Picketts Ridge Road. He also said that he felt it is inappropriate for the commission to be considering anything besides the current application as enforcement actions are more appropriately addressed by the Zoning Officer.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey asked for clarification regarding the proposed greenhouse/ “high tunnel”. Mr. Carlson said that it would have no electricity so no mechanicals. He also clarified that there would be no hazardous materials stored in the structure.
Mr. Ogonek asked about the size of the fans in the existing greenhouse on the property. The abutting property owner was unsure but she stated that the fans are very noisy “like a jet engine”. Mr. Ogonek asked why there are no fans in the new greenhouse; Mr. Carlson said that the new structure is for a different purpose as it will be used to extend the growing season. Ms. Atamian asked if the plastic cover can come off completely; Mr. Carlson said it will be removed in winter leaving only the support hoops in place.
There were further comments from the two attorneys regarding possible violations of the Zoning Regulations on the property.
Hearing no further comments, Diana Carlino-Coffey moved that the hearing be closed. Ms. Atamian seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously, closing the hearing at 8:07 p.m.
1. Approval of Public Hearing & Regular Meeting Minutes of October 13, 2021.
On the motion of Mr. Ogonek and the second of Ms. Carlino-Coffey, the commission voted by majority to accept the minutes as written. Ms. Atamian abstained.
2. Application #21-12Z – 130 Picketts Ridge Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot 11 – 3): Owner John Carlson. In accordance with Redding Zoning Regulations Section 5.14.4 (c), request for a Special Use Permit for a shade/green house in excess of 2000 square feet of ground coverage. If Public Hearing is closed: discussion/action.
The commission discussed the application. They discussed under what section of the regulations the application was made and the distinction between a site plan for a non-residential use, and a “general site plan” referenced under Section 5.14. They also noted the reference to Section 5.1.3, at which point Mr. Ogonek stated that he did not think that the proposed structure would be in harmony with the surrounding uses. The remainder of the commission had a discussion of what constitutes “harmony”.
The commission then discussed screening at length, while reviewing several sections of the regulations for applicability. The discussion returned to the difference between a residential, farming, and commercial use several times with the conclusion that Town Counsel should be consulted to clarify State Statutes regarding farming.
The commission also briefly discussed parking on site and the previous approval for the existing greenhouse.
The commission decided to table further discussion until the next regularly scheduled meeting and to consult counsel regarding jurisdiction to request screening, the difference between a site plan and a “general site plan” as referenced in the regulations, where “farming” fits in terms of residential or commercial uses, and if the scope of the commission’s consideration can go beyond the current application. The Chairman also noted the need for the applicant to submit a list of property owners within 500’ of the property.
The commission also asked the Zoning Officer to inspect the property.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
4. Future Agenda Items: Application #21-16Z – 37 Lonetown Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot 21 – 42A) – Town of Redding, Owner : Rob Blick, Agent. In accordance with Redding Zoning Regulations Section 5.2, request for Site Plan Amendment for installation of pavilion at the Redding Community Center. Public Hearing November 11/10/21
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
On the motion of Mr. Ogonek and the second of Mr. Miyashiro, the commission voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 9:21 p.m.
Submitted by Aimee Pardee