The public hearing of an application seeking approval of a Special Permit for a restaurant with alcoholic beverages and live entertainment at 261 Salmon Brook Street opened at 7 p.m.
Timothy Brignole, Trustee of the Kimberly Edith Maynard Trust that owns the property, presented the application. He stated the current owner of Vito’s on the Water, located in Windsor, would relocate to Granby. The proposal is for a fine dining Italian restaurant with a small bar area, outdoor patio with limited seating and entertainment. The entertainment would consist of a musician with a guitar and only inside the building to serve as background music for diners; there would be no music outside on the patio. Brignole said the building would have a high-end odor filtration system. He stated the outdoor seating was for dining and seasonal use only. There will be two dumpsters as shown on the map within a masonry enclosure.
Brignole further commented on traffic around the site and addressed various turning movements. He said research has been conducted and solutions are proposed to minimize disruptions when entering and exiting the property. He emphasized that the left turn exit onto Salmon Brook Street would not be a problem because customers would be leaving the restaurant later in the evening after the peak rush hour period. The commission noted the application is for a Special Permit so they will consider if the use is appropriate adjacent to a residential area.
Wilson Alford Jr, PE, explained the overall location of the site within the center, reviewed the landscaping plan for the parking lot, discussed the prevailing winds, and explained there would be a fence along the parking lot adjacent to Stony Hill Village similar to the fence at Brignole’s vineyard. Arborvitae planted along the fence would help minimize noise and buffer the property to the south. Outdoor light fixtures comply with the regulations for the Center.
Dante Boffi of Dante Boffi Design LLC presented the restaurant floor plan. The layout included plans for both the first and second floors with a seating plan, bar placement, entertainment, patio, and kitchen locations. He noted the bar area and the area devoted to entertainment comply with zoning regulations. In response to a question from the commission, it was noted the rear of the building would be used for office space; a change to restaurant use in the future would require a Special Permit. Boffi was asked to clarify the seating arrangement because the number proposed on the plan is much lower than what the Fire Marshal and building official indicated could be accommodated. Boffi said there would be 24 seats on the patio.
Scott Hesketh, PE, presented traffic information, explaining a traffic study based on a high-quality restaurant with a capacity of 104 seats. He stated the restaurant is a good fit as data shows the background traffic on the surrounding roadway is less when the restaurant clientele would be entering/exiting the property. He noted plans were submitted to the CT Department of Transportation for review. They made some minor comments in response to the plans, which included a right-in, right-out driveway on North Granby Road with a raised island to reinforce the left turn prohibition. Hesketh noted that town staff recommended a right-turn-only exit onto Salmon Brook Street, however the applicant is proposing a full service driveway.
Hesketh said the DOT suggested talking to the neighboring property owner to the south regarding access to their property so that customers could exit at the light onto Salmon Brook Street. In a response to a question from the commission, Brignole stated they have had discussions with the Stony Hill Village Board of Directors to see if they could obtain a right of way through the property. He said it would be very difficult to obtain because the federal government is involvement in the property.
In response to the commission’s question regarding the sign on the property, Brignole stated that the sign has already been approved and has been there for years. He said he has no intention of installing a new sign to comply with the current zoning regulations. He proposed only a change to one of the sign panels to include the name of the restaurant. The commission noted the size and scale does not fit with the historic overlay.
Brignole noted the Development Commission commented on the condition of the adjacent properties. He said the white and yellow houses will be cleaned up and some work has already been completed. In response to a question from the commission, it was noted a plan for those properties has not been submitted as part of this application.
Brignole said the hours of operation would be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the patio closing at dusk.
Bill Percival, president of the board of Stony Hill Village, noted several concerns regarding the restaurant and its impact on residents, specifically noise, odor, traffic and light pollution. He also addressed access between the Stony Hill Village property and 261 Salmon Brook Street, stating the proposal would have to benefit Stony Hill as well as the restaurant and it is questionable that it would.
Claudia Allison, Erika Allen, Sandy Flagg and Winnie Boyer, residents of Stony Hill, stated they are opposed to the restaurant proposal, citing noise, odors and light pollution concerns as well as increased traffic. It was noted the proposed fence and landscaping will do little to stop the noise and there will be more traffic than the applicant’s team is suggesting.
Maggie Percival questioned the data used for the traffic study as it was from 2013. She also noted Vito’s has an active happy hour crowd, which is contrary to what the applicant has stated.
The public hearing of an application seeking a Special Permit for a rear lot subdivision with proposed excavation in excess of 5,000 cubic yards of earth material for property at 292 Granville Road opened at 8:30 p.m.
Tim Coon, PE with J.R. Russo and Associates, presented the application. He said the property is 8.8 acres in the R2A zone. The proposal is to subdivide the property to create a 6-acre rear lot and leave a 2.8-acre front lot. The application also involves 29,000 cubic yards of fill removal, which falls under the threshold that would require a separate excavation permit. Coon noted that at the last meeting a question was raised about whether the adjacent property owner has to grant permission prior to tree clearing within the state’s right of way. This clearing is needed to obtain the required sight lines. Coon said he spoke to Kelli McKeon with the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation, who confirmed an applicant is not required to obtain permission from an abutter.
In response to a question from the commission, Coon said four acres of trees would be cleared from the site to accommodate the driveway, grading and the two lots. He had prepared an alternative plan, that changes the grading of the site and would reduce the excavation to 13,500 cubic yards, which he presented. He stated while the amount of material to be removed is reduced, the alternate plan would still require four acres of land to be cleared. The commission discussed other possibilities, including leaving a tree line adjacent to the street to provide a buffer and leaving trees along the driveway. Coon said his client preferred to avoid the tunnel effect caused by leaving the trees along the driveway.
Glenn Ballard, 289 Granville Road, commented that the applicant seeks financial gain with no regard to the adverse effects to the environment.
Coon requested the public hearing be kept open to the May 8 meeting. The commission recommended that Coon present a plan that requires less tree clearing, with a narrower driveway and tighter grades.
The public hearing of an application for Special Permit for a garage/barn in excess of 1,000 square feet at 33 Strong Road:
Salvatore Tanasi, Jr., presented the application and said the structure will be 1,500 square feet, is intended to emulate a barn and will be painted a barn red color. The structure will be used for woodworking.
Receive Applications and Set Public Hearings
Application to modify a Special Permit for a farm store, enclose porch and add deck for property at 130 Lost Acres Road. The public hearing is scheduled for May 8.
An amendment to the Zoning Regulations for the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone to allow auto repair facilities by Special Permit was received. The application will be referred to CRCOG and the public hearing is scheduled for June 12.
Consideration of the above applications, where the Commission has concluded the public hearing.
On a motion by Jonathan Boardman, seconded by Eric Myers, the Commission voted (7-0- 0) to approve a Special Permit for a garage/barn in excess of 1,000 square feet for property located at 33 Strong Road
The commission briefly discussed the application for a special permit for a restaurant with alcoholic beverages and live entertainment for property at 261 Salmon Brook Street. It was decided this application would be considered at the meeting on May 8.
Patricia Tappenden, Recording Secretary