Present: Gerry Casiello, Chair; Amy Atamian, Ben Gordon, Ted Ogonek, Mike Hoffman and alternates Matthew Lecher & Gary Miyashiro
Also present: Aimee Pardee, ZEO, and ten members of the public
Mr. Casiello called the regular meeting to order at 9:26pm.
All regular member of the Commission were seated.
REGULAR MEETING (following items 1 & 2: Public Hearings)
- Approval of Minutes: Motion: move to accept the minutes of the Public Hearing of May 14, 2014 as submitted. Gordon, Atamian. Approved unanimously
- Approval of minutes: Motion: move to accept the minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 14, 2014 as submitted. Gordon, Atamia. Approved unanimously.
- Application #14-15Z – Pursuant to the Connecticut Housing for Economic Growth Program, and in accordance with CGS 8 – 13 (m – x) Commission initiated proposal to amend the Redding Zoning Regulations to adopt Incentive Housing Zone regulations.
The Commission has 65 days to reach a decision on the issue.
Motion: move that the Redding Zoning Commission carryover the discussion and deliberation of Application #14-15Z to the next meeting. Ogonek, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
- Application #14-16Z–Proposed amendments to the Redding Zoning Regulations: to add Sections 5.19, 8.1.141, and 8.1.142 to define medical Marijuana Dispensary and put in place a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of any application for such facilities in order to properly develop restrictions and standards for the implementation of these uses.
The public hearing on the application was closed.
Motion: move that the Redding Zoning Commission approve Application #14-16Z with a one-year moratorium on the acceptance of any applications for such facilities in order to properly develop restrictions and standards for the implementation of these uses. Ogonek, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
- Application #14-17Z –Applicant: Jimmie Vega, 50 Putnam Park Road (Assessor’s Map 8 & Lot 43) In accordance with Section 5.12 of the Redding Zoning Regulations, application for a Special Use Permit for a residential apartment within existing dwelling.
The application is complete and a public hearing was scheduled.
Motion: move that The Redding Zoning Commission set a Public Hearing for Application #14-17Z on July 23, 2014. Ogonek, Atamian. Approved unanimously.
- Application #14-18Z–Applicant: Region 9 Joel Barlow High School, 100 Blackrock Turnpike (Assessor’s Map 32 & Lot 7) In accordance with Section 5.2.1 of the Redding Zoning Regulations application for a Site Plan Amendment for fence.
Mr. Casiello stated that the Commission must first determine that if the application is a minor site plan it does not need a public hearing.
Walter Czudak, Director of Building & Grounds for the Joel Barlow High School, explained that the application is for 451 feet of vinyl covered fencing for the outfield of the baseball field at the school.
Motion: move that the Zoning Commission determine that Application #14-18Z is a minor site plan change and does not require a public hearing. Atamian, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
Motion: move that the Zoning Commission approve Application #14-18Z as submitted. Gordon, Atamian. Approved unanimously.
- Discussion: none
- FUTURE AGENDA: Public Hearing on July 23, 2014.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Gordon, Ogonek. Approved unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 933 pm
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary
Present: Gerry Casiello, Chair; Amy Atamian, Ben Gordon, Ted Ogonek, Michael Hoffman, and alternates Matthew Lecher & Gary Miyashiro
Also present: Aimee Pardee, ZEO, and more than 25 members of the public
All regular members of the Commission were seated.
Mr. Casiello called the Public Hearing to order at 7:30 pm.
1. Application #14-15Z
Mr. Gordon read the call of the meeting. Application #14-15Z – Pursuant to the Connecticut Housing for Economic Growth Program, and in accordance with CGS 8 – 13 (m – x) Commission initiated proposal to amend the Redding Zoning Regulations to adopt Incentive Housing Zone regulations.
Motion: move to accept the Call of the Meeting as read. Ogonek, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
John Hayes, Redding’s Town Planner, presented information on the proposed overlay zones, the reasoning why the two areas were selected and the analysis of the Planning Commission in making the recommendation. The first overlay zone is on both sides of Old Mill Road in the Georgetown area, about 3 acres in size, and could contain 40 units, with 20% of those qualifying as “affordable”. The second site is along Route 7, on both sides of Old Redding Road, about 15 acres in size, currently owned by the State of Connecticut, and the recommendation is for 40-45 units in a village type setting or a mixed use concept of commercial and housing.
Mr. Casiello noted that the overlay zone does not change the zoning, but creates the opportunity to develop the property to include affordable housing by a developer working with the town and complies with the Connecticut Statute 8-13 requirement. If the overlay zone is approved, the Town could request a 4-year moratorium on 8-30 (g) projects. Without the moratorium, a developer could bring in an application for an affordable housing development anywhere in town under CGS 8-30 (g) and the Zoning Regulations would be null and void. Mr. Casiello added that it is mathematically impossible to achieve the 10% affordable housing level required by state statute by constructing 8-30 (g) developments as the percentage of affordable housing units in such a development is too small so we would be continuously vulnerable to developers. Nancy King, Planning Commission member, noted that the overlay zone provides the Town some control over the form the development would take.
Following discussion and questions by Commission members, the public hearing was opened for public comment.
Frank DeSalvo, of 113 Mountain Road: Mr. DeSalvo expressed concern about the impact on housing values in the area of the proposed Route 7/Old Redding Road site.
Philip Bronson, 14 Simpaug Turnpike: Mr. Bronson expressed concern about the Route 7/Old Redding Road site with regard to the Norwalk River Valley watershed, potential contamination, problems with police, impact on schools, ledge and steep grade of the north side of Old Redding Road and potential presence of hazardous waste on the lumberyard rear property. He also mentioned a cemetery of Revolutionary War officers was near the Old Redding Road portion of the proposed overlay zone.
Ken Boehm, 39 Topledge Road: Mr. Baehm also noted the Revolutionary War cemetery on the North side of Old Redding Road as well as expressing concern regarding the difficulty of developing that area due to the steep grade of the topography. He stated concern for impact upon the Norwalk River.
John Board, 170 Umpawaug Road: Mr. Board expressed concerns about property values, and suggested the Georgetown site would be better than the Route 7 site as the residents would benefit Georgetown’s businesses. He also questioned where money will come from for the developments and asked if state grants might be involved.
Julia Pemberton, First Selectman: Mrs. Pemberton noted that is if the town moves forward with a project, the Commissioner of Housing has indicated the State might be willing to assist.
Jason Howard, 9 Old Redding Road: Mr. Howard expressed concern that the Old Redding Road was an afterthought compared to the more logical Georgetown site. He read a statement signed by himself, family and some neighbors stating the concerns about the Old Redding Road site and why the Georgetown site was preferable.
John Kelly, 17 Old Redding Road. Mr. Kelly stated that the action would be a manipulation of housing values by the Town. He noted that such a development would add students to the Redding schools.
David Lynch, 11 Old Redding Road: Mr. Lynch questioned what happens when the 4-year moratorium expires. Mr. Hayes noted that there is a 4-year moratorium allowed for each project. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Hayes had a further exchange regarding impact to neighbors and possible displacement of businesses in Georgetown. Mr. Hayes stated that the Georgetown development is envisioned with retail space on the first floor so there would be room for businesses.
Susan O’Rourke, 12 Old Redding Road: Mrs. O’Rourke expressed concern about the current level of traffic on Old Redding Road and the number of accidents that have occurred in the area. She asked why that particular parcel of land was being considered. Mr. Hayes responded that the site was identified because it is State-owned property, an acquisition from the State may be easy. Ms. O’Rourke stated that she is a real estate agent and has concern that adopting the zone would impact property values, especially before anything is built due to fear of the unknown.
Joan DeSalvo, 113 Mountain Road: Mrs. DeSalvo commented on the difficulty of exiting Old Redding Road to Route 7 and the current levels of traffic. She said that cars are bumper to bumper at rush hour and sometimes it takes 15 minutes to get on to Route 7. She is concerned that this would get much worse and be unsafe if the property is developed for multiple families.
Mike Ammirata, 145 Mountain Road: Mr. Ammirata commented that Old Redding Road is a known short-cut through to Route 7 and hazardous for the residents. He also noted that the railroad trestle in the vicinity of the project could prevent emergency access. He expressed concern about the water supply, treatment of sewage, and the impact on properties in the area. He also stated a concern about increased taxes and expressed dissatisfaction with what he felt was the lack of answers from the Commission.
John Hayes replied that the aquifer in the area had been studied and that the area has an excellent water supply. He also said that the soils were excellent and would support a large septic system: a treatment plant would not be required. He suggested that the traffic would be no worse than if the area was developed into single family dwellings.
Joel Novak, 28 Wayside Lane: Mr. Novak introduced himself as a member of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity. He stated that the organization has a strong interest in partnering with the Town of Redding on a project. They are able to build $500,000 homes for $250,000 because many of the materials and services are donated and the building is done at cost. The organization sells the homes, holds the mortgage with a 0% interest rate. Buyers must meet qualifications for ownership.
There was a brief exchange between Susan O’Rourke and John Hayes regarding the development of the parcel to the north of Old Redding Road and if that might be taken out of consideration.
There was then an exchange between Commission Ogonek and John Hayes regarding why the town plans to make all the units at the Route 7/Old Redding Road site affordable. Mr. Hayes stated the town’s desire to maximize available affordable units.
Philip Bronson, 14 Simpaug Turnpike: Mr. Bronson questioned why all abutting neighbors were not notified of the public hearing in accordance with Section 5.1.2 of the regulations. Ms. Pardee responded that 5.1.2 relates to applications for Special Use Permits/Site Plan approvals. Since this application is regarding a zone change, procedures outlined in the State Statutes were followed.
Claire Bronson, 14 Simpaug Turnpike: Mrs. Bronson expressed concern about the maintenance of the project with changing town administrations. Mr. Casiello noted that no project is planned at this time. Maintenance issues would be addressed when a project is proposed.
John Board, 170 Umpawaug Road: Mr. Board asked if there were any grants available to the Town and what the penalty would be if the Town did not comply with the 10% affordable housing ruling. Mr. Casiello again explained that, under CGS 8-30 (g), a developer could propose a development that includes affordable housing any place in Redding and local regulations would be null and void. The Town hopes to protect itself from such developments through development of this zone. Mr. Casiello then explained the history of CGS 8-30 (g)
David Lynch, 11 Old Redding Road: Mr. Lynch asked what the next step would be for the Zoning Commission. Mr. Casiello stated that if the public hearing was closed, the Zoning Commission would have 65 days to make a decision on the issue.
Carolyn Harriman, 202 Umpawaug Road: Ms. Harriman asked what the town was doing about senior housing. Mr. Casiello stated that nothing specific is being done but that the affordable units suggested in this zone could be available to anyone meeting the income requirement.
Fran Normann, Executive Director of Housatonic Habitat for Humanity: Mrs. Norman introduced herself and described the type of housing built by Habitat for Humanity. The homes are built at cost, with many construction materials and services donated. The homes are sold to qualified buyers, with Habitat holding the 0% interest mortgage, and they are stringent who they sell to. She reiterated comments from Joel Novak regarding a desire to partner with the town.
Mr. Casiello noted that correspondence in support of the issue was received from the Housatonic Council of Elected Officials and from the Town of Newtown.
Motion: move to close the Public Hearing. Gordon, Ogonek. Approved unanimously.
2. Application #14-16Z
Mr. Gordon read the call of the meeting. Application #14-16Z – Proposed amendments to the Redding Zoning Regulations: to add Sections 5.19, 8.1.141, and 8.1.142 to define medical Marijuana Dispensary and put in place a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of any application for such facilities in order to properly develop restrictions and standards for the implementation of these uses.
Motion: move to accept the Call of the Meeting as read. Ogonek, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
Mr. Casiello recapped the reasons for the proposal of a one-year moratorium on the acceptance of any application for such facilities. This time would allow the Zoning Commission to study the issues and put regulations in place. The primary issue is the determination of whether the facility is a retail business or a pharmacy, and each has different parking regulations. In addition, the federal government considers marijuana an illegal substance, and the permitting of such a facility could endanger the Town’s status. Mr. Ogonek noted that marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government and the states do not have the right to override that ruling.
Michael McKee, Farview Farm Road: Mr. McKee asked if the facility was approved in Bethel, and asked if there would be other facilities allowed in the area. Mr. Casiello stated that there will be a second wave of facilities allowed in the fall of 2014.
Carolyn Harriman, Umpawaug Road: Mrs. Harriman noted that people from out of the state can come to Connecticut to purchase marijuana with prescriptions.
John Board, Umpawaug Road: Mr. Board suggested a two-year moratorium to allow for further study and more history on the existing facilities. Mr. Casiello noted that the State allows a 1-year moratorium.
Mr. Gordon reminded the Board that medical marijuana has been proven to provide some benefit.
Motion: move to close the Public Hearing. Ogonek, Hoffman. Approved unanimously.
The Public Hearing was closed at 9:24 pm.
Mary Maday Recording Secretary