Redding Zoning Commission
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes
May 12, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Present: Matt Lecher, Chairman; Amy Atamian, Secretary; Commissioner Ted Ogonek; Alternate Diana Carlino-Coffey; Alternate Gary Miyashiro.
Also Present: Aimee Pardee, Zoning Officer; Applicants; Agents; members of the public.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., seating Ms. Carlino-Coffey for the open commission seat, and Gary Miyashiro for Commissioner Bill Whitehead.
Application #21-05Z – 186 Blackrock Turnpike (Assessor’s Map and Lot #23-72)- Owner: Redding Fire District No. 1: Agent: Attorney Frank Scinto: Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC, , 44 Old Ridgebury Road, Ste. 320, Danbury, CT 06810– In accordance with Redding Zoning Regulations Section 5.2 request for a Site Plan approval to demolish the existing circa 1927 Firehouse and construct a new firehouse.
Ms. Atamian read the call for the hearing. On the motion of Ms. Carlino-Coffey, and the second of Mr. Ogonek, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the call and open the hearing at 7:30 p.m.
Attorney Scinto introduced Application #21-05Z. He stated that the firehouse at 186 Blackrock was first constructed in 1927 and, although the building has been added on to over time, the Fire District finds that the current firehouse does not meet current needs or codes and, further, has structural deficiencies. He explained that the Fire District now feels that a replacement of the firehouse would be the best future course of action and that the District, to that end, has recently acquired some additional land and has also received multiple variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals in terms of parking, coverage, and setbacks. He also said that the Fire District has received approval for their project from the Conservation Commission as well as a positive referral from the Planning Commission.
Jeff Mose, the project architect, spoke to the Commission. He explained that he had been working with the Fire Commission for seven years. He said that the original work had been towards planning renovation of the existing firehouse but that renovation was not supported by existing conditions. He then introduced the plans for the proposed new firehouse. He shared the architectural drawings and explained the use of the space showing exercise and training areas on the ground floor, a division of public and responder space on the first floor, and training and gathering spaces on the third floor, with an additional overnight quarters area. Mr. Mose then showed a video animation of the proposed site development.
Rob Frangione P.E., next spoke to the Commission. He explained design considerations for the property including addressing runoff from Route 58, and the need for flat egress into garage bays, stormwater management, and for a substantial retaining wall to support expanded site parking due to the topography of the site. He noted that pervious pavement had been considered for stormwater infiltration but that pervious pavement would not support the weight of the firefighting apparatus. He went on to address concerns that had been raised by Doug Hartline, Redding Health Official, regarding the design of the proposed septic system given the non-native soils present in the septic area. He said he will be examining the existing septic system with Mr. Hartline to glean insight regarding the function of a future septic system on the property.
Attorney Scinto spoke again. He stated that the applicants have received the town’s peer review that was completed by Todd Ritchie P.E. and that they hope to address Mr. Ritchie’s concerns by the next meeting of the Commission.
Kate Throckmorton, of Environmental Land Solutions, spoke regarding her wetland remediation plan, and also regarding the general landscaping plan. She shared her plan and explained that, at the base of the proposed retaining wall, she is proposing a native, deer resistant planting plan to stabilize the area which includes a significant run off ditch from Route 58.
With the applicant noting the completion of the presentation, the Chairman asked for questions from the Commission and the public.
Ms. Pardee read a zoom chat comment from James Lang asking about the cost of the project. Phyllis Magnussen, District #1 Commission, stated that the district is first seeking approvals from the town, and then will be finalizing cost estimates. She explained that obtaining estimates has been very difficult due to the current market for building supplies.
Ms. Atamian asked about the use of Pfas containing firefighting foam by the fire company. Fire Commissioner Bennett Pardee stated that the fire company does not store this material at 186 Blackrock Turnpike. He noted that, although there is a small quantity of this material in the Redding Center Firehouse at 105 Hill Road, the State has contracted with Clean Harbors to remove it.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey asked about the amount of material that needs to be excavated from the site: she noted the reference to the need to remove fill material on site in order to reach native soils for building footings. Mr. Mose answered that the builders will not know until actual construction begins but that the designers are fairly confident on their design as they we able to refer to data from the contractors that installed the cell tower behind the building several years ago.
The Commission asked where equipment will be responding from while this firehouse is out of commission. Ms. Magnussen stated that the majority of equipment will be dispatched from the Fire Company #1 Center Firehouse, while the remainder of equipment will be stored and dispatched from a Redding Fire Company #1 member’s large barn in the Redding Ridge area.
Ms. Carlino-Coffey queried regarding environmental impact of the removal of the existing fire house. Mr. Mose stated that the Fire Company has not currently identified any concerns but he also noted that testing for substances such as asbestos is required as part of the demolition process. Ms. Magnussen added that the firehouse had undergone a major renovation in the 1960s: she suggested that toxic materials, if any, were likely removed at that time.
The Chairman, hearing no further comments, noted that the Commission awaits a reply from the Commission’s peer review and would continue the Public Hearing to May 26, 2021.
1. Approval of Minutes
Public Hearing and Regular Meeting Minutes of March 24, 2021
On the motion of Ms. Carlino-Coffey and the second of Ms. Atamian, the commission voted unanimously to accept the minutes as written.
2. Application #21-05Z – 186 Blackrock Turnpike (Assessor’s Map and Lot #23-72)- Owner: Redding Fire District No. 1: Agent: Frank Scinto: Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC, , 44 Old Ridgebury Road, Ste. 320, Danbury, CT 06810– In accordance with Redding Zoning Regulations Section 5.2 request for a Site Plan approval to demolish the existing circa 1927 Firehouse and construct a new Firehouse. To receive: Set Public Hearing date.
Discussion of this application was tabled pending the completion of the public hearing.
3. Application #21-06Z – 614 Redding Road (Assessors’ (Map #13 and Lot #81) – Brett Stafford, owner – In accordance with Redding Zoning Regulations Section 5.10: request for a Site Plan Approval for a Residential Home Enterprise within existing accessory building approval for a well pump and water treatment service company. To receive/discuss.
As no one was at the meeting to present this application, the Chairman tabled discussion.
4. Discussion of interpretation of the Redding Zoning Regulations regarding parking requirements in SB Zone per request of Attorney Neil Marcus per letter of April 23, 2021.
Attorney Neil Marcus was present to discuss this issue with the Commission. He explained that he is representing an investor who is considering a change in the use of 296 Ethan Allen Highway, and possibly also 280 Ethan Allen Highway, into a grocery store but he noted that a limitation in the proposed use may be the parking requirements for retail uses required by the Redding Zoning Regulations. Attorney Marcus suggested that a “one size fits all” approach to retail parking may not serve the businesses and the community and he spoke of other towns where there are multiple retain categories. He compared the breakdown of space within a retail establishment, where smaller stores my use the majority of their space for actual retail, while grocery stores tend to have considerable space devoted to non-retail use such as stock rooms and food preparation areas. Attorney Marcus was asked about the size of the store being considered: he stated that his client is considering a store between 40,000 and 60,000 square feet. For comparison, he stated that he believes Carluzzi’s in Georgetown is between 50,000 and 60,000 square feet. Mr. Lecher stated that he would like to know the number of parking spaces in the Caraluzzi’s parking lot, but he also noted that there are other businesses in that shopping center. There was also a discussion of the number of parking spaces in the former Ancona’s parking lot.
Attorney Marcus stated that he would be happy to obtain more information about the parking that had been required for grocery stores in other towns. The Commission signaled their willingness to continue this discussion.
These was no discussion under this agenda item.
6. Future Agenda Items
Application 21-05Z: Continuation of Public Hearing May 26, 2021.
There was no discussion under this agenda item.
On the motion of Ms. Carlino-Coffey and the second of Ms. Atamian, the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:17 p.m.