REDDING ZONING COMMISSION
PUBLIC HEARING AND REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2019
7:30PM TOWN HALL HEARING ROOM
Filed subject to approval
Present: Gerry Casiello, Chairman; Matt Lecher, Vice Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary; Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Paul Scholl; Alternate Gary Miyashiro (Arrived at 7:32PM)
Also Present: Aimee Pardee, Zoning Officer; Applicants; Members of the Public.
Chair Casiello called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.
PUBLIC HEARING: Application #18-22Z – 39 Orchard Drive and 67 Glen Hill Road (Assessor’s Map #37 & Lot #40) and (Assessor’s Map #37 & Lot #24)– Deborah and Peter Mygatt –Request for a Special Use Permit, in accordance with Redding Regulations Sections 4.2.3 (b) and 5.1, to use an existing building to conduct church services. Received December 12, 2018: Public Hearing opened January 9, 2019 and continued to January 23, 2019. Public Hearing will now be continued to the meeting of March 13, 2019.
Ms. Atamian read the call for the Public Hearing of Application #18-22Z.
Commissioner Ogonek made a motion to accept the call for a public hearing for Application #18-22Z. Vice Chairman Lecher seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.
Chair Casiello stated that the Zoning Commission has 65 days from the close of the Public Hearing to make a decision on the application.
Attorney Neil Marcus of Cohen and Wolf addressed the Zoning Commission. Mr. Marcus stated he is acting on behalf of Deborah and Peter Mygatt to support their application for a Special Use Permit. He stated that every church that exists in Redding, except for the Georgetown church, is in a residential zone. He also stated that the applicants could have applied with regulation 4.2.2 (b) instead of 4.2.3, but he commended them for their detail.
Mr. Marcus provided the Zoning Commission with a traffic study and discussed the findings of the study.
Chair Casiello asked Mr. Marcus why this application has increased the number of parking spaces from 10 to 20. He stated that the Zoning Commission makes a decision based on the application presented. Mr. Ogonek said that the Health Department’s letter was based on 16 people and 12 cars. Mr. Marcus responded that the Commission can put reasonable conditions on the application, and that this change was to plan for a maximum number of attendees (40 people and 20 cars).
Mr. Scholl asked Mr. Marcus what the Zoning Commission should read into the traffic study.
Mr. Marcus said that the traffic study indicates that there is not a traffic problem on the roads.
Mr. Scholl said that the increased number of cars reflects a perceived increased risk to children who use the road to play. Mr. Marcus said that the residents of the road shouldn’t assume that the road is a safe place to use for recreation.
Mr. Marcus encouraged the Zoning Commission to look at Section 5.1.3 when considering this application. He said that if this application is denied, the applicants will come back with an application that meets that section.
Rose Giannicchi, 69 Orchard Drive, said she has lived on Orchard Drive for 16 years. She said that her family moved from Smith Street to Orchard Drive so that she could play outside safely. She said that Smith Street had a church on it, making the road unfit to play due to traffic and requiring parental supervision.
Tom Kelly, 58 Orchard Drive, said that the school bus cannot go all the way down Orchard Drive because it is so narrow. He also said that the church will grow and that the residents of the road do not want to regulate the traffic and attendees of the church.
Sandy Vanausdal, 21 Orchard Drive, said that the parents are watching their children on the road when they play out there. She asked Mr. Marcus about the number of attendees for the church. Mr. Marcus said that he used traffic engineer statistics to show the average number of car trips in a day for a community like Redding. Mr. Marcus said he added 20 cars to the traffic study to illustrate a typical day with the Church in operation.
Sharon Giannicchi, 69 Orchard Drive, asked Mr. Marcus if having 20 cars pass his house would be welcome. Mr. Marcus said that he lives on Lonetown Road and has plenty of traffic pass by his home. She said that any traffic on the road affects the residents, who moved there for the quiet quality of the road.
Cliff Raymond, 25 Glen Hill Road, said he is against the application. He said that the road’s size prevents it from handling any more traffic. He also raised concerns about the driveway sight lines.
Sharon Giannicchi, 69 Orchard Drive, said that the town just hired a consulting group to help Redding attract new residents. She said selling a home on a street like Orchard Drive is harder with a church present.
Mike Lyons, 22 Orchard Drive, said that Ms. Mygatt has been meeting with her congregants at a church on Long Ridge Road since she can’t currently meet at her property. He said that her congregation has been able to meet despite not being able to use her property. He requested that the Commission considers restrictions on the application if it is approved.
Rochelle Williston, 59 Orchard Drive, said she would be opposed to any organization or business that would be sited on Orchard Drive. She said that she chose Orchard Drive as her home because she could trust the residents of the neighborhood. She said any change to this neighborhood will affect the character of the neighborhood. Ms. Williston asked Mr. Marcus about the Glen Hill Road access point and if it is a viable access point.
Mr. Marcus answered Ms. Williston’s question and said it is an option. Ms. Williston said that Orchard Drive would bear the brunt of traffic increase.
Anthia Taeuber, 55 Orchard Drive, read a letter about living on Orchard Drive and the quality of that experience. She said that the Zoning Commission should maintain the quality of Orchard Drive by denying the application.
Mary Pat Cieri, 35 Orchard Drive, said she abuts the property in question and can see everything that happens there. She said that she moved to Redding and Orchard Drive because of the neighborhood. She asked the Zoning Commission to deny the application. She suggested that the Zoning Commission to only allow the Special Use Permit if: the services take place in the designated structure, only take place once a week, that there be no large special events allowed, and the neighbors be notified when services happen.
Tom Kelly, 58 Orchard Drive, said that if this application is approved with restrictions, it will not work. He said that no one will be enforcing the restrictions.
Don Sniffen, 30 Orchard Drive, said that the church wants to grow and that the Zoning Commission should consider this.
Anthony Duncan, 53 Orchard Drive, said he opposes the application. He said he bought his house on Orchard Drive because it is so quiet on that street.
Clem Taeuber, 55 Orchard Drive, said he is opposed to the application. He also bought his home on Orchard Drive due to the quiet nature of the road. He asked the Zoning Commission to consider convincing the applicants to continue using Long Ridge Road as their meeting place. He also discussed the traffic study and how it shows that Orchard Drive does not have much traffic and any increase would be a nuisance to the neighbors.
Eric Yee, 23 Orchard Drive, stated his opposition to the application. He said that he moved to Redding and Orchard Drive because it was quiet.
Jodi Costenbader, 68 Orchard Drive, said that all the churches in Redding abut main roads and do not sit on Cul-De-Sacs. She said that the church will affect the property values on the road.
Clem Taeuber, 55 Orchard Drive, said that becoming a church means tax-exemption. He said that he thinks there is a possibility of many people starting churches because of this application.
Mr. Marcus said that the street belongs to the town and is not an extension of Residents’ homes. He also discussed opposition the First Congregational Church had faced when they expanded their fellowship hall and noted that no one complained about it once it was built. He warned the Zoning Commission about violating RLUIPA (Religious Land Use And Institutionalized Persons Act). He then discussed the traffic study. Mr. Marcus discussed the Long Ridge Church: he said it is a temporary situation and a financial cost to the church.
Mr. Marcus suggested to the Zoning Commission two conditions for the application. He said that having hours of operation for the church is reasonable. He also said if traffic is a concern in one year (or a reasonable time period) the Commission can ask the applicants back for a review of the application.
Josh Frenzel, 19 Orchard Drive, said he opposes the application. He said that any conditions would be difficult to enforce.
Anthony Duncan, 53 Orchard Drive, said this is not a local church. He asked Ms. Mygatt what percent of the parishioners are from Redding. Chair Casiello said this question was not pertinent to discussion.
Mike Lyons, 22 Orchard Drive, said that most churches in Redding existed before the current regulations were put in place.
Evan Bassett, 27 Orchard Drive, asked about restrictions on signage. Chair Casiello said that zoning regulations allow for a permanent sign on a property that is 2’ by 2’.
Jen Lyons, 22 Orchard Drive, said she had to defend her 7-year old daughter’s comments about the church. She also said that she wants to keep Orchard Drive a residential street.
Grace Raymond, 25 Glen Hill Road, said the traffic would not be good for the residents of Glen Hill Road and Orchard Drive. She said that children play on the street.
Josh Frenzel, 19 Orchard Drive, asked the Zoning Commission if property values are part of their decision. Chair Casiello said that the Commission does consider this. Mr. Frenzel asked Mr. Marcus if he is a certified assessor. Mr. Marcus said that his data came from assessments done by assessors.
Eric Yee, 23 Orchard Drive, asked Mr. Marcus about his analysis of property values near churches. He asked if the properties assessed were near or on cul-de-sacs.
Josh Frenzel, 19 Orchard Drive, said that the data on home values is too anecdotal. Chair Casiello said that the Zoning Commission ignores opinion when making decisions.
Eric Yee, 23 Orchard Drive, said that this application could affect property values due to an increase in traffic.
Chair Casiello read correspondence stating opposition to the application from the following: Erach Screwvala and Nicole Steen of 35 Lamppost Drive, Sarah O’Dell of 214 Black Rock Turnpike, Ray Ricardi of 38 Orchard Drive, Dr. Ben Collins and Dr. Emily Cores of 42 Ledgewood Road, Luisa Ramirez of 22 White Birch Road, Alisa Masson of 91 Pocahantas Road, Faith Hsu of 89 Seventy Acre Road, Trisha Sorrells Doyle of 12 Church Hill Lane, Heather Massimo of 52 Ledgewood Road, Alysia Morris of 70 Dayton Road, Carolyn Baker of 50 Indian Hill Road, Cindy Meehl and Brian Meehl of 38 Glen Hill Road, and Seana Bedard of 16 Winding Brook Lane.
The Redding Planning Commission wrote a letter stating that it has no reason to object to the application.
The Redding Health Department provided correspondence saying that the existing septic system, designed for a 2-bedroom house, is appropriate for the church to operate.
Angelica Fontanez, the Town’s Social Services Director, wrote a letter outlining the support that Ms. Mygatt’s congregation has provided to the food pantry and “Redding Shares the Warmth”.
Mr. Marcus said that each letter contained the words traffic, business, and commercial. He said that the church is not a commercial entity. He also said the increase in traffic will be miniscule.
Anthia Taeuber, 55 Orchard Drive, said that the Commission should not support an institution that has engendered this mistrust.
Clem Taeuber, 55 Orchard Drive, discussed traffic.
Jodi Costenbader, 68 Orchard Drive, stated the nature of the neighborhood.
Eric Yee, 23 Orchard Drive, said that church was meant when the letters said the word business.
Mary Pat Cieri, 35 Orchard Drive, said she is opposed to the increased traffic from the church.
Debbie Mallozzi, 45 Orchard Drive, said the letters emphasize that there is strong opposition to the application.
Ms. Atamian made a motion to close the public hearing. Mr. Lecher seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.
Chair Casiello called the regular meeting to order at 10:00PM.
1. Approval of Minutes: Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes of February 27, 2019.
Mr. Ogonek made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting on February 27, 2019. Ms. Atamian seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.
2. Application #18-22Z – 39 Orchard Drive and 67 Glen Hill Road (Assessor’s Map #37 & Lot #40) and (Assessor’s Map #37 & Lot #24)– Deborah and Peter Mygatt –Request for a Special Use Permit, in accordance with Redding Regulations Sections 4.2.3 (b) and 5.1, to use an existing building to conduct church services. If public hearing is closed, for discussion/action.
Chair Casiello suggested that the Zoning Commission should table discussion until the next meeting. He said that Mr. Scholl needs to familiarize himself with what happened at a prior hearing.
Mr. Ogonek made a motion to table the discussion on Application 18-22Z. Ms. Atamian seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.
John Carlson, 130 Picketts Ridge Road, asked Ms. Pardee about farm stands and their regulations. She asked the Zoning Commission for guidance.
Chair Casiello asked how long this structure would stand and said that the only food items that could be sold must be grown on premises. Ms. Pardee said the structure would be operational and assembled during the growing season.
Ms. Pardee said a former Zoning Commissioner, Ben Gordon, passed away in mid-February.
4. Future Agenda Items
Chair Casiello said that Application # 18-22Z will be a future agenda item.
There was no communication.
Mr. Ogonek made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Atamian seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:06PM.
Submitted by Zach Smith