Redding Zoning Commission
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes
November 10, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Present: Matt Lecher, Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary; Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Alternate Gary Miyashiro.
Also Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectman; Aimee Pardee, Zoning Officer; Peter Olson, Esq., Commission Counsel; Applicants, Members of the Public.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m., seating Mr. Miyashiro for Commissioner Bill Whitehead.
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. Received October 13, 2021: Public Hearing November 11/10/21.
Ms. Pardee read the call for the hearing. On the motion of Ms. Atamian, and the second of Mr. Ogonek, the commission voted unanimously to accept the call as written.
The Chairman asked Rob Blick, Director of Park & Rec, to explain the application. Mr. Blick said that a pavilion is proposed to be installed north of the existing Community Center. He said that it will provide seating for families during sports events and when the skating rink is installed. He said that it will also be available for families to use for events such as birthday parties by reservation only.
Susan Monaghan, of 44 Great Oak Lane, asked about whether there would be amplified music and lighting. She also asked if there would be security to keep the pavilion from being used by teens at night. Mr. Blick said that he did not plan to have amplified music and that the electricity in the pavilion would not support large loudspeakers. He said that lighting was limited to three lights in the rafters of the building. He then noted that the police currently patrol the parking lot of the Community Center and that would continue. Ms. Monaghan asked if she would be able to see the structure from Great Oak Lane. Mr. Blick said that the pavilion will be next to the existing maintenance building on site so if Ms. Monaghan could not see that building, she would likely not be able to see the Pavilion. Kevin Monaghan again asked about lights and hours of lighting. Mr. Blick said that lights would not be on after 10:00. He noted that there are currently lights in the parking lot that are on timers and that the pavilion lights could be similarly controlled. Ms. Monaghan asked if she had the opportunity to vote on the project.
Morna Crites-Moore, of 149 Gallows Hill Road, asked about rules regarding the rental of the pavilion; Mr. Blick said that the Park & Rec Commission had not yet set them up. Ms. Crites-Moore asked if she could have a wine and cheese party with a string quartette: Mr. Blick said that they do not intend to allow alcohol but did not see an issue with non-amplified music. Ms. Crites-Moore asked about seating in the pavilion: Mr. Blick said that there will be six picnic tables. Ms. Crites-Moore stated that more thought should go in to how the structure is furnished.
Julia Pemberton, First Selectman, spoke to the commission. She noted that the construction of the pavilion had gone to town vote in the spring and is fully funded with grant money.
Ms. Pardee stated that the Planning Commission has voted to give a positive recommendation to the Zoning Commission and also that David Pattee, Chairman of the Conservation Commission, had inspected the site and found no regulated activities associated with the project.
Hearing no further comment, Mr. Miyashiro moved that the hearing be closed. Mr. Ogonek seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously, closing the hearing at 7:54 p.m.
1. Approval of Public Hearing & Regular Meeting Minutes of October 27, 2021.
Mr. Ogonek suggested the addition of the following wording: under the Public Hearing for 130 Picketts Ridge Road, it was noted that the commission requested that the Zoning Officer inspect the property. Mr. Ogonek suggested that the wording should be that the commission requested that the Zoning Officer inspect the property in order to identify any violations of the regulations.
Ms. Atamian moved that the minutes be approved with Mr. Ogonek’s amendment; Mr. Miyashiro seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously.
2. 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.
After a brief discussion, Mr. Miyashiro asked Mr. Blick if it would be possible to secure the lights and the electricity to times when the pavilion is legitimately in use. Mr. Blick said that would be possible. Mr. Ogonek moved that the application be approved with the condition that all lights and outlets in the pavilion be secure and able to be shut off when the pavilion is not being utilized for a permitted use. Mr. Miyashiro seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
3. 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.
The Chairman briefly introduced the discussion, noting that in a previous discussion, the commission had some questions about interpretation of the regulations, particularly those sections of the farming regulations in Section 5.14, and about possible conflicts with the Site Plan Approval regulations. Ms. Atamian at this point recused herself from the discussion as she had been unable to attend the first public hearing for this application and had also found, in attempting to review the tape of the meeting, that the tape was not complete.
The Chairman introduced Counsel Peter Olson Esq. Mr. Olson suggested to the commission that they could interpret the regulations two different ways: he noted that the farming regulations under 5.14 seems to allow an abridged Site Plan/Special Permit process but that this section of the regulations, in referring to Section 5.1.3 of the regulations, could also allow the commission to require the more comprehensive review associated with a full Site Plan review. Mr. Ogonek asked if there were particular “right to farm” laws that the commission should be aware of; Mr. Olson said these laws do exist but that the commission does have the authority to regulate farms.
Mr. Ogonek referred to Section 5.1.3 and noted that he did not feel that the proposed structure is in harmony with the surroundings. The Chairman questioned that interpretation noting that farming is an allowed use by right, and that a slightly smaller version of the same type of structure is also allowed by right. Mr. Miyashiro raised the possible screening of the structure with Mr. Ogonek suggested that the applicant return with a plan for screening. Mr. Olson said that new information cannot be introduced since the Public Hearing is closed. Mr. Ogonek suggested that they might approve the application with the condition that a screening plan be developed but Mr. Miyashiro felt it would be more appropriate to deny the application for a lack of information needed to reach a decision.
After further discussion, Mr. Miyashiro moved that the commission deny the application as incomplete and not in harmony with the surroundings per Section 5.1.3 (b). Mr. Ogonek seconded the motion. The motion passed by majority with the Chairman voting nay.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
5. Future Agenda Items
The Chairman suggested a thorough review of the farming regulations, with possible amendments, in order to prevent future interpretive conflicts as seem to have come up during the discussion of Application 21-12Z.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
Just prior to adjournment, the Chairman noted that this will be the final meeting or Mr. Ogonek as a commissioner. All members of the commission, and Ms. Pardee, thanked Mr. Ogonek for his many years of service. “We’ll miss you Ted; you always showed up and were a valued contributor, plus you could be counted on to spice things up a bit! Thanks!”
On the motion of Mr. Ogonek, and the second of Mr. Atamian, the commission voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:46 p.m.