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Minutes of Zoning Commission, 11/08/2017

AGENDA: Zoning Commission

RECEIVED 11/13/2017 9:42am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Redding Zoning Commission
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes
November 8, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
Town Hall Hearing Room
100 Hill Road, Redding, Connecticut

Present: Gerry Casiello, Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary (7:32 p.m.); Commissioner Matt Lecher, Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Alternate Gary Miyashiro; Alternate William Whitehead.

Also Present: Aimee Pardee, Zoning Enforcement Officer; applicants and 1 additional member of the public.

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He seated Mr. Miyashiro for Commissioner Amy Atamian and Mr. Whitehead for Commissioner Paul Scholl.

Application #2017-22Z -101 Marchant Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot No. 12 – 79), New Pond Farm Foundation; Ann Bostelmann, Exective Director. In accordance with Section 5.2 of the Redding Zoning Regulations, request for a Site Plan Amendment to install free-standing 12’ x 20’ storage shed to be placed behind learning center.

The Chairman read the call for the hearing. Ms. Atamian arrived at the meeting and the Chairman seated Ms. Atamian, unseating Mr. Miyashiro. On the motion of Mr. Ogonek and a second of Mr. Lecher, the commission voted unanimously to accept the call and open the public hearing.

The Chairman opened the hearing by stating that New Pond Farm exists by Special Use Permit. He asked Ann Bostelmann, Executive Director of New Pond Farm Foundation, to explain to the commissioners the amount of property owned by the foundation, the ownership of the property, and the easements present on the property. Ms. Bostelmann explained that the New Pond Farm Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that owns about 102 acres of land. Of that property, about 80 acres are subject to a permanent conservation easement that allows certain uses, but prohibits buildings in order to protect the viewscape. Buildings are allowed on existing footprints, and also within 150 yards of Marchant and Umpawaug Road. The current application is for a shed to be installed behind the classroom building. She stated that it will be used for storage of items needed for the children that attend the summer camp. The commission asked about the visibility of the shed, and looked at the photographs of the shed provided in the sales brochure; Ms. Bostelmann noted that the building is pre-fabricated and it will not be built on site.

Nancy Burton, of 147 Cross Highway, asked to comment on the application. She stated that she had fond memories of taking her children to New Pond Farm and further added that she felt that any support given to New Pond Farm is good for the town.

The commission asked if the shed would be provided with electricity and Ms. Bostelmann said that it would not.

Hearing no further questions or comments, Ms. Atamian moved that the hearing be closed. Mr. Ogonek seconded the motion, it was carried unanimously, and the hearing was closed at 7:36 p.m.

The Chairman called the regular meeting to order at 7:36 p.m. Regular members of the commission present were seated; Alternate William Whitehead was seated for Commissioner Paul Scholl.

1. Approval of Minutes:
Regular Meeting Minutes of October 25, 2017: On the motion of Ms. Atamian and the second of Mr. Ogonek, the Commission voted by majority to accept the minutes; Mr. Whitehead abstained as he was not present at the meeting.

2. Application #2017-22Z -101 Marchant Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot No. 12 – 79), New Pond Farm Foundation; Ann Bostelmann, Executive Director. In accordance with Section 5.2 of the Redding Zoning Regulations, request for a Site Plan Amendment to install free-standing 12’ x 20’ storage shed to be placed behind learning center. If public hearing is closed, for discussion/action.

The Commission briefly reviewed the application. On the motion of Mr. Lecher and the second of Ms. Atamian, the commission voted unanimously to approve Application #2017-22Z, granting New Pond Farm Foundation a Site Plan Amendment to install a shed.

3. Application #2017-23Z –33 Lonetown Road (Redding ElementarySchool), (Assessor’s Map and Lot No. 21-13): Owner Town of Redding; Applicant John McCleary. In accordance with Section 5.11.2 of the Redding Zoning Regulations, request for a Limited Duration Special Permit to hold the annual “Redding Great Turkey Escape Run” on November 23, 2017 starting at 6:00 a.m. and ending approximately 10:00 a.m. Previously held November 24, 2016. For discussion/action.

The Chairman stated that this event has been held for several years that the event has been trouble free. On the motion of Mr. Lecher and the second of Ms. Atamian, the commission voted unanimously to approve Application #2017-23Z, granting a Limited Duration Special Use Permit for the “Redding Great Turkey Escape Run”.

4. Application #2017-24Z – 147 Cross Highway (Assessor’s Map and Lot No. 23-7): Owner Nancy Burton; Estate of William Honan, Nancy Burton Executrix. In accordance with Section 5.14 of the Redding Zoning Regulations, request for approval of a Land Management Plan to keep animals in excess of the quantity allowed by right under Section 5.14.2 (b) of the regulations. For receipt/discussion/action.

The Chairman introduced the agenda item by noting that the application for Land Management Plan Approval is in response to a Cease and Desist notice and explained to the commissioners that they have four options for dealing with the application: they could approve it, deny it, have a public hearing regarding the site plan, or require that the applicant apply for a Special Use Permit. He asked for clarification as to how many goats are allowed at 147 Cross Highway by right; Ms. Pardee replied that 9 are allowed. The Chairman then asked the applicant to present the plan.

The applicant, Nancy Burton, introduced the application by noting her appreciation for the people who stop at her property to say how much they enjoy seeing her goats. She said that she operates the “Redding Goat Sanctuary” for which, after a question from the Chairman, she said she is seeking 501 (c)(3) status. She explained that she had originally received two goats that had previously lived near the Millstone Nuclear Power Station and the mother goat, Katie, was found to have contaminants in her milk linked to the power station operation. She said that she continues to sample goat milk for contamination and noted that this is something the state should be doing not only because of the Millstone plant, but also due to the proximity of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station. She noted that, although there was at one time considerable public awareness of the risks of exposure to products of nuclear reactions, there is less awareness now. Mr. Ogonek asked if any of the test results were available for the commission; Ms. Burton stated that she could provide them.

Mr. Ogonek asked how many goats Ms. Burton currently has. She raised a memo by Ms. Pardee regarding an inspection by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and stated that the inspectors incorrectly told Ms. Pardee that there could be 100 goats on the property. She said that she feels she has too many goats but she is looking to find homes for some of the goats. She said that, to that end, she has put up signs, put out flyers, has an email address, and has been making many phone calls. The Chairman asked if she has adopted out any of the goats. Ms. Burton explained that it takes time to find the goats homes as anyone who takes the goats must understand the responsibility and be able to provide fencing, food, and shelter particularly in bad weather. She said she believes she has homes for ten goats, and possibly another six after that.

The Chairman expressed concern about the care of the goats; he noted that he had driven by on Monday and saw goats in a neighbor’s yard. Mr. Ogonek added that he had seen goats in the road. Ms. Burton said that she has seen the goats near the road, but not in the road. She said they are attracted to the vicinity of the road by a stone wall, poison ivy that they eat, and maple leaves which they also eat. She said that she has now put up snow fence along the road; she said they could get past it but that type of fence seems to “spook” them and they are staying away.

The Chairman suggested they discuss the future situation. Ms. Burton said that she is now aware that there have been complaints and she reviewed actions she said she has taken to address the complaints. In addition to adding fencing, she said that she has rearranged the distribution of goats in pens so as to better confine those goats that she identified as those wandering off premises. She then returned to the subject of the Department of Agriculture inspection and their report of a male goat in distress. She said that she had gotten care for the animal and disputed the claim by the Department of Agriculture that the nature of that care was not provided to inspectors. She then spoke again about attempts to adopt out the goats saying that she has contacted someone involved in animal rescue who is going to come to her house and take photos of male goats, which are harder than females to find homes for partially due to their horns. She stated that she had paid a vet $50.00 a piece to have the males debudded but it had not been done properly and, where one male has normal horns, others have ones that are to a degree deformed.

The Chairman reviewed the regulations regarding Land Management Plans: he read portions of Section 5.14.3. explaining what needs to be addressed by a Land Management Plan. Ms. Burton stated that, on the day her application was due, the power had been out and she did her best to put together the information required. She noted that she had included a topographic map and that, in checking the town’s wetland map, she did not find wetlands on the property. Mr. Ogonek asked how many goats are presently on the property and what number did she plan to reduce the flock to. Ms. Burton replied that she is working on this issue and doing the best she can. She also noted that the goats are contributing to the public need through the milk testing. The Chairman raised concerns about adverse impact to the neighbors. He noted that he believed one of the neighbors was present and he asked this person if he was a neighbor, and if so, if he would describe any adverse impacts.

A neighbor, Dennis Gibbons, identified himself. He said that he did experience adverse impacts from the goats. He said they had been there for years but the size of the flock seems to have recently grown considerably. He said that the goats come on his property and have destroyed plantings. He also said that the goats, he believes the males, make quite a bit of noise. He said that he doesn’t mind a few goats and understands that this is allowed in Redding, but that the current number of goats is a problem.

Mr. Ogonek asked Ms. Pardee how many goats are present, noting the Department of Agriculture’s estimate; she said she did not know. The Chairman said that there seems to be nothing in the Land Management Plan about the number of goats. Mr. Lecher followed up by asking Ms. Burton how many goats are present. Ms. Burton said she did not know but that she does know that there are 20 older ones that she believes are troubling the neighbors. Mr. Ogonek raised concerns about diseases due to overpopulation of animals. He stated that he feels this is a health concern and that the plan should be denied.

Ms. Burton asked to continue speaking. She said that the fence she is installing will meet the objective of containing the goats. Regarding noise, she raised the “Right to Farm” statute allowing noise from farm animals, but also said that the noise from the males was confined to one time of the year. Regarding odor, she said that this is allowed from farming and that she does not have a manure problem. She disagreed with the notes regarding Department of Agriculture comments suggesting that manure in the goat pens is several feet deep. Ms. Atamian asked if she composts the manure; Ms. Burton said it is small pellets and naturally composts. Ms. Atamian stated that she would like to see more detail and displayed the plan that appears in the regulations. She also suggested neutering the males could control flock expansion. Ms. Burton stated that she keeps the males and females apart but that someone helping her with care had moved a fence that had allowed the males to access the females resulting in a “baby boom”. She said that she provides good care for the goats but that she does have a problem with trimming the goat’s hooves, which is required. She said that she has made an appointment with a professional that maintains hooves. She said that the Department of Agriculture had said that the inspectors noted mastitis in individuals which she said did occur; she spoke regarding the contamination of milk and noted that her original goat, Katie, had died from cancer. She again raised the issue of discharge from nuclear power plants; she said that her mother had lived near the Millstone Nuclear Power Station and that she had developed cancer as had many of her neighbors.

Mr. Ogonek asked how much a mature goat weighs. Ms. Burton said she did not know. Mr. Ogonek mentioned additional regulations regarding animals over 50 lbs. He again raised concern regarding diseases related to overpopulation which he stated was a risk such as exposure to products of nuclear reactions. Ms. Burton countered that she feels her testing of the goat milk contributes to the safety of our milk supply. She said she would be happy to supply more information regarding this subject.

The Chairman returned to the Land Management Plan. Mr. Ogonek stated that he did not see anything in the plan to reduce unhealthy conditions and made a motion to deny the plan.

Mr. Lecher asked what other options were available. The Chairman reviewed the options. Ms. Atamian seconded Mr. Ogonek’s motion. Mr. Lecher stated that he would like to see a complete management plan; Ms. Atamian agreed, saying that she would like to see the number of goats addressed as well as their health. The Chairman stated that, if the application is denied, the Cease and Desist order for the property would still stand.

The Commission voted unanimously to deny application #2017-24Z requesting approval for a Land Management Plan.

Add on item:
Ms. Pardee asked the commission if they would consider voting the following on to the agenda:
Application #2017-25Z: 230 Poverty Hollow Road (Assessor’s Map and Lot No. 16 – 48). Owners: Janice and Matthew Meehan, Contract Purchasers James and Margaret Lipton. In accordance with Section 5.12, request for a Special Use Permit for an accessory apartment within an existing accessory building.
To receive/schedule public hearing.

Ms. Pardee explained that the purchasers of this property had very recently gone to contract but that they hoped to put in an apartment. Ms. Pardee brought the application to the commission as, due to the holiday schedule, waiting until the next meeting for receipt would put the approval out into January. Mr. Ogonek made a motion to add the item to the agenda; Ms. Atamian seconded the motion and the commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Ms. Pardee stated that the applications had completed a rough floor plan of an apartment that they wish to install in an existing barn. The barn already has electricity and plumbing. After a brief discussion, Mr. Lecher moved that the application be accepted and a public hearing be set for December 13, 2017. Ms. Atamian seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.

5. Discussion
There was no discussion under this agenda item.

6. Future Agenda Items
December 13, 2017 public hearing re: 230 Poverty Hollow Road.

5. Communication
There was no discussion under this agenda item.

6. Adjournment
On the motion of Mr. Lecher and the second of Ms. Atamian, the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Aimee Pardee

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