Redding Zoning Commission
Regular Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2019 – 7:30 p.m.
Town Hall Hearing Room
100 Hill Road, Redding, Connecticut
Present: Gerry Casiello, Chairman; Matt Lecher, Vice Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary; Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Commissioner Paul Scholl.
Also Present: Aimee Pardee, Zoning Officer; Applicant Nancy Burton; one member of the public.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that all regular members were seated.
1. Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting Minutes of April 24, 2019.
On the motion of Ms. Atamian and the second of Mr. Ogonek, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the minutes as written.
2. Application #19 – 2Z – 9 Brookside Road, Unit D (Assessor’s Map and Lot No.46 – 65D). Brookside Commons Association, Inc. and 9D Brookside Place LLC., Jeff Titus General Manager; Agent James Bonis. Request for Site Plan Revision to install 14’ x 30’ pre-fab garage building on property. For discussion/action.
The Chairman reminded the Commission that, at the previous meeting, there was some discussion about the presence of the zone line passing through this property and that the Commission decided to ask for a legal opinion as to whether the requirements of one of the zones took precedence over the requirement of the other zone. The Chairman said that he had looked at the town’s Zoning Map and found that the submitted map had incorrectly depicted the zone line. The Commission reviewed the Zoning Map and determined that 9 Brookside Avenue is entirely within the BC Zone however it is adjacent to the R ½ Zone and the proposed building does not meet the 50 foot setback from a residential zone. Mr. Scholl moved that the Commission not accept the application due to this issue; Mr. Ogonek seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
3. Application #19 – 3Z – 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.
Ms. Burton spoke to the Commission. She stated that she has tried to find homes for some of her goats but has experienced some setbacks. She said that a non-profit organization had placed 25 goats but that they had stopped helping her, in breach of a contract. She said that she is in litigation with that organization. She also said that she was approached by a couple of people in town who said they could help connect her with possible homes for her goats but one sanctuary in New York State that she was referred to said it had no room, and another possible home was actually a co-owner of an animal auction house.
Ms. Burton discussed the housing of her goats. She noted that, in 2012, she had been contacted by Animal Control regarding the shelter for the goats. At the time, she hired carpenters to build several shelters; she showed the commission photos of the shelters noting that the goats can stay warm in the shelters.
The Chairman noted the horns on the goats in the picture and asked if Ms. Burton de-horns any of her goats. Ms. Burton said that she used to pay $50.00 each to have the goats de-horned but that the goats then sometimes still grew horns, but that they would be not symmetrical. This was objected to by the Department of Agriculture so she said she no longer de-horns her goats. She said that she has not found this to be a problem as the goats are raised to be friendly.
Ms. Burton returned to the subject of the shelters. She stated that more than 30 goats can be kept in the shelters. She said that, since the Animal Control officer at the time approved of the shelter, the officer was in effect approving of Ms. Burton having 30 goats. She said that she also has room in her barn and in shelter she has set up on a corral. She said that she was not suggesting she should always have that many goats but that the goats are happy and she wishes to keep family units together.
The Chairman raised the subject of containment of the goats. He stated that both he and the Zoning Officer had seen many goats in the neighbor’s yard on the Monday before the meeting. Ms. Pardee stated that she had counted 43 goats in the yard next to Ms. Burton’s. The Chairman noted that there are babies being born. Ms. Burton noted that the regulations exclude counting animals under 6 months old towards the total count of animals on a property. The Chairman again noted that the animals are not being contained.
Ms. Burton stated that Animal Nation, the previously mentioned non-profit organization, had contracted to help her fix shelters and contain and separate the male and female goats but they did not do it. Ms. Burton said she is working on better containment by adding sections of tall fence. She said that she is using a truck to get the fence sections but that the truck is in a garage. She said she is also using donated materials to improve containment but that orange construction fencing that she had put up along the road had to be taken down as the Planning Commission said that it violated the Scenic Road Ordinance; she has left up the fence posts.
The Chairman asked about the number of goats on the property; Ms. Burton stated that there are more than the nine allowed by the Zoning Regulations but she again raised the issue of the Animal Control Officer approving of the shelters built in 2012. She went on to say that the regulations allow her to have 150 roosters, or 4.5 horses or mules but that she doesn’t. She stated that the visit by the Department of Agriculture, and their subsequent statements as to the number of animals on the property, has negatively impacted her ability to find homes for goats. She also said that putting up signs about adopting goats attracted persons of other cultures who she said had different goals for the goats than she does.
Ms. Burton raised the issue of the Cease and Desist notice that was issued in 2017. She said that her son had brought farm equipment to the property and had tapped maple trees. She said that she had found people to take away much of the equipment at “fire sale” prices. She submitted photos to the Commission of farm equipment on another property and also of a vehicle parked in a road. She said she is concerned about unequal enforcement.
Ms. Burton stated that she does have more goats than she wanted, and that the care of the animals can be very difficult, especially in winter, but that she enjoys it. She spoke to the rural nature and values of Redding and asked that the Commission respect the goats. She said that complying with the Cease and Desist notice would have resulted in slaughter of the goats. She said she is hoping that the litigation against Animal Nation will result in their taking responsibility for some of the goats in terms of possibly boarding goats until owners are found.
Ms. Atamian asked about the mapping submitted with the application. Ms. Burton reviewed the map that was submitted, showing the Commission the fenced area but also explaining that some areas of the property are a problem right now due to the spring rain and resultant mud. Ms. Atamian asked if the whole property is fenced; Ms. Burton said that it is not. Ms. Atamian clarified that animals are grazing outside of fenced areas; Ms. Burton spoke regarding the topography and where the animals prefer to be.
Ms. Atamian noted that, when Ms. Burton last came before the Commission, the Commission had said they were looking for a more detailed plan including manure management, water source, and food storage. She described the plan received by the Commission from Candace Benyei; Ms. Burton stated that Ms. Benyei has a commercial equestrian facility and suggested that the comparison of properties is not appropriate. Mr. Ogonek stated that a year and a half has passed since Ms. Burton first came to the Commission and nothing has improved.
Ms. Burton stated that her property forwards science in that it provides milk for sampling of radioactive contamination. Ms. Atamian asked if any data has been published. Ms. Burton said that a previous state commissioner had said it should be published but that the current administration has suggested that the animals are too far away from nuclear power plants. Ms. Burton said she had wrote a letter to the Board of Selectmen asking to speak regarding testing of milk to track radioactivity but that she had not gotten a reply. Mr. Ogonek asked how much milk needs to be tested.
Mr. Casiello stated that the conversation was getting off topic. He noted that Ms. Burton is in litigation with the town over the Cease and Desist notice and that is the place where many of the issues discussed should be raised. He noted, regarding the submitted plan, that it does not insure that there will be no adverse impact on the neighbors and that the Commission does not even know how many goats are on the property. Ms. Burton noted that she could have many roosters; the Chairman stated that they are looking only at the application before the Commission.
Ms. Atamian moved that the Commission deny the application. Mr. Lecher seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously.
Mr. Ogonek spoke regarding the “Run for the Cows” recently held by New Pond Farm. He said that the traffic and parking were not controlled and that Umpawaug Road was blocked. He suggested that, next time the event is held, the Commission revisit the traffic control plan. Ms. Pardee said that she had heard from Ann Taylor at New Pond Farm after the event; she said that, due to the wet spring, the fields at the farm were too wet and that the parking did become a problem. Ms. Taylor had said that they would be working on a new plan for next year.
5. Future Agenda Item:
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
On the motion of Mr. Lecher and the second of Mr. Ogonek, the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn their meeting at 8:45 p.m.
Submitted by Aimee Pardee