Redding Zoning Commission
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes
April 13, 2022 – 7:30 p.m.
Present: Matt Lecher, Chairman; 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 7:36 p.m., seating Ms. Carlino-Coffey for Commissioner Amy Atamian and Mr. Miyashiro for Commissioner William Miller.
Application #22-07Z – 106 Peaceable Street (Assessor’s Map and Lot #42-166) – Owner: Jonathan & Jennifer Cutler –In accordance with Section 5.12 request for a Special Use Permit for an accessory apartment with garage. Received March 9, 2022.
Ms. Pardee read the call for the hearing. On the motion of Ms. Carlino-Coffey and the second of Mr. Miyashiro, the Commission voted to accept the call and open the hearing.
The applicant (and property owner), Mr. Jon Cutler, explained the application to the commission as plans to build an 800 sq. ft. cottage on the side of his property with a garage to house his mother-in-law. Mr. Cutler elaborated that his mother-in-law recently retired and will be moving in with Mr. Cutler and his wife in Redding. Mr. Cutler also explained their plans to install a new septic system; applicants have already worked through the process of doing so with Doug Hartline of Health; to applicants’ knowledge everything associated with the state of CT has checked out and gone through regarding the septic installation. Mr. Cutler reconfirmed that this is an additional aspect of the project. Mr. Lecher inquired if Mr. Cutler had a letter and state letter stating the above approval. Mr. Cutler confirmed yes.
Mr. Lecher asked for questions from public and/or commissioners. Mr. Miyashiro asked if the septic installation would serve both the existing house and the new property; to which the applicant confirmed yes. Mr. Lecher asked if there was a waterline running from the main house. Mr. Cutler confirmed and added that applicants are updating their well system to handle both the main house and the cottage.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey noted that there was one neighbor comment submitted. Ms. Pardee read the letter into the record, which requested that Mr. Cutler install evergreen screening to the northeast of the new building. Mr. Lecher asked Mr. Cutler if he agreed to the above request outside of this meeting. Mr. Cutler stated that the request is no problem and that it was already in his scope of work; Mr. Cutler therefore confirmed his obligation to the request.
Mr. Lecher asked how far the Johnson driveway was from the property line, which Mr. Cutler explained came quite close to property line; Mr. Cutler maintained however that all setbacks were in place and that he will do what he can (according to the request) to make it more private for both properties. Mr. Lecher and Mr. Miyashiro, upon studying the map, asked Mr. Cutler to describe the perimeter in detail, namely the relationship between the east side and south side of the property and the Johnson driveway, which Mr. Cutler did to the Commission’s satisfaction.
Mr. Lecher asked commissioners for further questions; no further questions.
One attendee from the public, Ms. Jane Auerbach, commented that she approved of the project.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey moved to close the public hearing and Mr. Miyashiro seconded the motion. It was carried unanimously.
1. Approval of Public Hearing and Regular Hearing Meeting Minutes of March 9, 2022: Mr. Miyashiro was not present for the meeting, so the commission decided to table the vote.
2. Application #22-07Z – 106 Peaceable Street (Assessor’s Map and Lot #42-166) – Owner: Jonathan & Jennifer Cutler –In accordance with Section 5.12 request for a Special Use Permit for an accessory apartment with garage.
The commission reviewed the application with respect to the requirements (property screen) for an accessory apartment with a garage and corresponding septic installation.
Mr. Miyashiro moved to approve application #22-07Z. Ms. Carlino-Coffey seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
3. Application #22-04Z – 296 Ethan Allen Highway (Assessor’s Map and Lot #35-92): Ridgefield Motor Inn. Alex Patel (Owner): Request for Site Plan Approval to demolish existing structures and redevelop property with new “Home2 Suites by Hilton”.
Mr. Lecher suggested that discussion of Application #22-04Z be postponed until next meeting when there would be correspondence from the Town Engineer.
4. Application #22-08Z – 12 Marchant Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot #19-78), Owner: 12 Marchant Farm, LLC – Agent: Paul Szymanski, P.E. Request for approval of Land Management Plan to keep horses in excess of those allowed by Section 5.14.2 (b) of the Redding Zoning Regulations.
Mr. Lecher introduced the applicant’s representative, Mr. Szymanski, a Professional Engineer who has been contracted to develop/expand on the property. Mr. Szymanski discussed the property owner’s desire to expand outdoor aspects of the property as it relates to accommodating horses. Mr. Szymanski highlighted several key features of the proposed project: Screening along boundary lines; evergreen screening along Chestnut Woods Road (corner property); sedimentation erosion control; twenty-yard dumpster owned by a manure processing company out of Holly, NY, who recycle manure into organic mulch (taken off site weekly).
Mr. Szymanski then provided the commission with a narrative on proposed activities and their application as it relates to the Zoning Commission: Riding ring using dust-free footing (requires no water); two rows of evergreens going along the southern property line and the east side of Chestnut Woods Road; slight excavation/topographic screening; paddocks and riding ring 50 ft. off the side of the property line and 25 ft. off the front property line; all major structures minimum of 100 ft. from property lines; proposed 25×48 ft. covered area to attach to existing barn (to store equipment; topographically hidden from neighboring properties); proposed all activities to be kept 100 ft. from nearby wetlands. Mr. Szymanski provided narrative to show how applicants are in compliance with environmental protection standards.
Mr. Lecher asked commissioners for questions. Ms. Carlino-Coffey asked Mr. Szymanski to confirm the site map’s location as it relates to Canine College. Mr. Szymanski confirmed that the site map is across the street (west) of Canine College. Ms. Carlino-Coffey asked Mr. Szymanski to confirm the number of stalls proposed and their utility, to which Mr. Szymanski replied 24 and that all would be for private use. There was continued discussion regarding what happens with waste material. Mr. Szymanski introduced Mr. Stephen Looney (present with Mr. Szymanski), who is the site farm manager to fill in on waste management/associated protocol. Mr. Looney explained the process by which ‘Sweet Peat’, the manure processing company, removed waste material from the site weekly (waste is mixed with leaves, grass, compost, etc.). Timeline to fill 20-yard container approximately 7-10 days. Regular tarp used to cover to avoid rain contact.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey inquired about the number of livestock currently. Mr. Looney confirmed 8 horses; that the property was bought in September 2021. Mr. Lecher asked if the existing buildings could hold all 24 proposed stalls, which the applicants confirmed with dimensions. Mr. Lecher asked about the total acreage for all combined horse activity. Applicants showed on the map that there were about 3.5 acres in total. Ms. Carlino-Coffey asked if total property was 16 acres, which the applicants affirmed. Mr. Looney explained the nature of this horse farm: High performance horses with an organized schedule, i.e., private use performance animals, always monitored due to high value of horses, never let out to reign freely.
Mr. Lecher asked the commission if they have any further questions. Commissioners determined the need to continue the conversation and examine the facility. All parties agree to a visit from the commissioners at 5:30-6pm on Tuesday the 19th.
Further discussion was tabled until the next meeting after the site walk.
5. Future Agenda Items
· Set Public Hearing date, in accordance with PA 21-29, for consideration of opting out of limits on Accessory Dwelling Unit requirements.
Mr. Lecher introduced PA 21-29. Ms. Pardee contextualized the legislation which the ADU requirements belong to, passed in June of 2021: As of January 1, 2023, unless towns opt out, the state takes control of accessory dwelling regulations and requires certain specs that the commission cannot ask for. Ms. Pardee continued that it had been considered by the Planning Commission and the Selectman and the decision was for the Town of Redding to maintain control; therefore, to opt out. In accordance with amendments to regulations, the Zoning Commission must hold a public hearing to opt out of said requirements, the earliest date for which would be May 25th.
Mr. Miyashiro motioned to accept the public hearing date in accordance with PA 21-29 on May 25th. Ms. Carlino-Coffey seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
· 180 Cross Highway – Christ Church Parish. Agent: Sam Crocker. Request for a discussion of possible allowed uses for parish facilities.
Mr. Lecher introduced the request for commercial uses of parish facilities, as the applicant was not present (applicant was a member of the congregation). Therefore, Mr. Lecher opened the floor to the commission to discuss.
Key points outlined in the discussion were the following: There are church financial issues, which the parish hopes to overcome by providing commercial use-cases with the parish’s facilities; the church itself provided a list of potential use cases; the church is in a residential zone; there are other non-profit-related protocols which the church will be bound to regardless of commission opinion.
The commission further discussed the following: Hosting AA meetings would likely be consistent with the church mission; renting office space might be a problem with church mission (unless it is a non-profit performing a service); nursery schools are able to carry special permits for residential zones; the community (of Redding) is in need of more meeting space in general; receptions, such as birthdays, might be a ‘grey area’; there is a discrepancy between donations and contributions that needs to be looked into further; hourly restrictions, i.e. curfews, would need to be folded into the decision-making process; temporary fair permits have been used previously in residential zones in Redding; the church in question suffers from a lack of adequate parking for extensive commercial enterprise.
Mr. Lecher moved to postpone the discussion to the next meeting so that parameters could be better defined.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
On the motion of Mr. Lecher and the second of Mr. Miyashiro, the commission voted unanimously to adjourn their meeting at 8:36 p.m.