Present: Paula Johnson (Chairman), Jonathan Boardman, Margaret Chapple, Charles Kraiza, Eric Myers, James Sansone, and Brennan Sheahan. Also present was Abby Kenyon, Director of Community Development.
The minutes of May 22, 2018 were reviewed.
ON A MOTION by Margaret Chapple seconded by Eric Myers, the Commission voted (6-0-1) to approve the minutes of May 22, as amended. On Page 4 under the item Commission discussion of items of interest or concern, Paula Johnson clarified the Selectmen are responsible for creating a committee to identify and pursue goals outlined in the Plan of Conservation and Development. Brennan Sheahan abstained.
Application seeking to amend Zoning Regulations Sections 8.21.4 and 8.21.9 to allow automotive repair facilities in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone by Special Permit.
Applicant, Tim Lyons of 3 Briarwood Lane, with his business currently located at 349 Salmon Brook Street, addressed the Commission. The proposed amendment to the Zoning Regulations would allow automotive repair facilities in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone by Special Permit. Mr. Lyons said he would like to relocate his business across the street to the LandTek property. He acknowledged that there are environmental concerns, but added throughout his career, he has always maintained best business practices. Paula Johnson clarified that the Commission was not voting on the relocation of the business tonight but was instead considering if it makes sense to allow this type of activity in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone.
The Commission discussed if there were other locations in Granby where the applicant could relocate that are not in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone and noted that the C2 Zone covers a large area of Granby. Paula Johnson questioned if it would be possible to spot zone. Abby Kenyon responded there is a distinction between the recharge zone and the aquifer. The Commission could consider a use in the recharge zone by Special Permit that wouldn’t be allowed in the aquifer zone because the aquifer is more sensitive. But in this instance, the location the applicant would like to relocate to is within the aquifer zone.
The Commission discussed the ability to monitor the water quality. It was noted monitoring could be a condition of approval. Margaret Chapple said research she has done indicates auto repair uses should not be permitted in aquifer zones due to the risks. The Commission discussed the current location of the auto repair shop. Mr. Lyons said at his current location about one third of the parking lot is unpaved, but the new location would be completely paved with a much better equipped environmentally friendly facility. Abby Kenyon clarified the current business location at 349 Salmon Brook is in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone but is grandfathered in, therefore a new auto repair business could move in and no additional permitting would be required provided there is not a change in the business operation.
Several residents spoke in support of the application including David Shaw, Mark Migliaccio, Paul Sicliano, Stephanie Sutherland, Shaun Levesque, Marion Ivory, Kevin Kubas, Jennifer Bilodeau, and Jennifer Jones. Each person echoed a similar sentiment; that Tim Lyons runs a clean and upstanding business with good practices; that he should be allowed to apply for a Special Permit because it makes good business sense for the town; and that Tim would continue his good environmental practices in a better equipped facility.
The Commission received several letters opposing the application, including from the Farmington Valley River Watershed Association and Peggy Lareau. The referral letter from the Capitol Region Council of Governments was also in opposition to the proposed zoning regulation change. Paula Johnson said the Commission reviewed the information and the letters that raised concerns regarding the risk such a use would pose to the aquifer and the drinking water supply.
The Commission discussed the Special Permit process and criteria an applicant would have to meet if they were to approve the zoning regulations change. Abby Kenyon noted that Section 188.8.131.52.2 allows the Commission to approve an application for a Special Permit with the requirement that the permit be renewed annually. She also said the current language of “automotive service stations” may be too broad if the intent is to allow automotive repair facilities only. Section 184.108.40.206 could be modified to read “automotive repair facilities,” The Commission agreed, stating they did not want to allow gas stations and the term “service station” could imply a “gas station”. The Commission discussed the language of 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. They also discussed other provisions that could be considered as part of a Special Permit approval, including water monitoring, which should be conducted by a third party and reported to the town.
The public hearing for this application closed at 7:47 p.m. The Commission has 65 days to render a decision.
Application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 8.5 for a detached accessory apartment for property at 115 West Granby Road.
Debra Swanson of 115 West Granby Road addressed the Commission. Ms. Swanson stated the accessory apartment was built in 1999 and has changed over the years to include a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. She said that her husband built the accessory structure without Town approval. She explained she is trying to sell the property and make it legal, compliant, and above board. The property is 12 acres of which 4 acres are cleared. The Building Department has inspected the apartment and Ms. Swanson has contacted the Farmington Valley Health District regarding the septic system. It was noted a new leach field is required. The Commission reviewed photos of the property and questioned other outbuildings on the site. Ms. Swanson explained a second outbuilding has a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. However she understood all plumbing fixtures would have to be removed from the structure and the septic system crushed and removed.
Stephanie Sutherland spoke in favor of the application.
Paula Johnson reminded the applicant that the owner of the property must reside on the property if there is an occupant of the accessory apartment. Abby Kenyon said a neighbor questioned the right of way that provides access to the property. However she noted it was outside the purview of the Commission for their consideration as part of the Special Permit approval.
The public hearing for this application closed at 7:59 p.m. The Commission has 65 days to render a decision.
Consideration of applications where the Commission has concluded the public hearing.
ON A MOTION by James Sansone seconded by Charles Kraiza the Commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 8.5 for a detached accessory apartment for property at 115 West Granby Road. .
Application seeking to amend Zoning Regulations Sections 8.21.4 and 8.21.9 to allow automotive repair facilities in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone by Special Permit. The Commission discussed the application. Margaret Chapple said an auto repair shop is an inappropriate use in the aquifer zone and she noted if monitoring detects a problem, it is already too late. Eric Myers suggested an annual review would be effective in ensuring applicants followed best practices. The Commission discussed the concerns raised in the letters in opposition to the application. The Commission thought the Special Permit considerations would be effective in protecting the aquifer. The Commission agreed allowing the use by Special Permit would enable the Commission to permit businesses on a case by case basis, thereby protecting the aquifer while allowing economic growth. Jonathan Boardman suggested “engine” repair be changed to “mechanical” repair to allow other work such as brake jobs. Auto body work would still be prohibited under the regulation. It was also suggested Section 22.214.171.124 and Section 126.96.36.199 be switched so the order is consistent with other sections.
The revised language was read into the record.
188.8.131.52 Automotive repair facilities that involve truck, boat or automobile mechanical repairs. 184.108.40.206 Any existing business operation, which becomes a legal non-conforming use, in whole or in part, through the prohibitions outlined in Section 8.21.9, may be expanded or upgraded and underground storage tanks replaced, following the issuance of a Special Permit.
220.127.116.11 Automotive service stations or similar use which involve truck, boat or automobile body repairs, except existing businesses which may be expanded or upgraded following the issuance of a Special Permit.
ON A MOTION by Eric Myers seconded by Jonathan Boardman, the Commission voted (6-1-0) to approve an application seeking to amend Zoning Regulations Sections 8.21.4 and 8.21.9 to allow automotive repair facilities in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone by Special Permit.
Margaret Chapple opposed.
The Commission noted the Zoning Regulation is consistent with the goals and recommendations outlined in the Plan of Conservation and Development and balances environmental protection and economic growth and development.
Abby Kenyon said recently situations have come up regarding outdoor dining. There are no clear provisions for outdoor dining in the Zoning Regulations as it is often viewed as accessory to the restaurant use. However, while putting a few tables outside may be acceptable, there may be situations that could have more of an impact if a restaurant wants to include a deck or patio. She said the intent of a potential regulation would be to encourage outdoor dining but manage it so that it mitigates and addresses any potential impacts. This would make it clear for both an applicant and the Commission.
Commission discussion of items of interest or concern
Paula Johnson mentioned Mr. Rome sells cars online and he was given permission to park four to five of the cars for sale on the site adjacent to Manitook Lake. She noted there is a big truck parked at the location. Staff was asked to follow up.
Executive Session – Discuss pending litigation
ON A MOTION by Paula Johnson seconded by Eric Myers, the Commission voted (7-0-0) to enter
Executive Session to discuss pending litigation. Staff was invited to attend.
Patricia Tappenden, Recording Secretary