Sept. 25 Planning and Zoning Commission minutes

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Present: Paula Johnson (Chairman), Jonathan Boardman, Margaret Chapple, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, James Sansone. Also present was Abby Kenyon, Director of Community Development. 

Call to Order 

Paula Johnson requested the Commission add an informal discussion regarding Grassroots, 4 Park Place, to the agenda. 

On a motion by James Sansone seconded by Eric Myers, the commission voted to add the informal discussion to the agenda. 

Public Hearing 

An application seeking a Special Permit for an illuminated freestanding sign and two additional freestanding signs for property at 4 East Granby Road. 

Matt Newton, CES Design Studio, 514R Salmon Brook Street, addressed the commission. He described the site location, construction materials, and specifications for the proposed freestanding sign and two additional smaller freestanding signs for property located at 4 East Granby Road. Newton explained the larger freestanding sign would be located on the corner of Route 10/202 and Route 20. The sign would be approximately 15 square feet and would include halo-illumination. The sign would be made out of aluminum and plastic with an epoxy finish. Newton explained that the sign would mimic the architecture of the building. Newton answered questions regarding the size of the sign and the halo-illuminated lighting. He explained gooseneck, down lighting and up lighting carry disadvantages, as light can spill off the intended surface, while halo-illumination is self-contained. In response to a question, Newton said the overall sign structure would be 8 feet by 6.5 feet. 

In addition to the main sign, Newton said two smaller signs are proposed to assist clients entering and exiting the site. He explained because the name of the business is larger than the directional information, the signs are considered freestanding signs, which require Special Permit approval. These signs will not be illuminated. 

Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon passed out examples of other signs in Granby center. The commission reviewed the signs, noting many of the signs are larger than what is allowed by right under the regulations. The commission also discussed existing sign illumination throughout the area, with some commissioners noting there may not be a need to illuminate the sign after business hours. The public hearing was closed at 7:30 p.m. The commission has 65 days to make a decision. 

Informal Discussion 

Dante Boffi, Dante Boffi Design LLC, distributed a layout plan of a proposed 500-square-foot patio to the rear of Grassroots. He explained a patio was part of the original site plan that was presented to the commission. At that time, the plan was to remove the patio and construct a building addition in its place at a later date. However, his client decided to build the addition immediately in the location of the patio. Therefore, his client would like to relocate the patio to the southeast back corner of the building. He noted the remaining area would be grass. He asked the commission if there was a need for him to apply for a Special Permit with this slight modification. Kenyon noted there is a pending text amendment to the zoning regulations that would require Special Permit approval for outdoor dining in the future. However, this request falls under the current regulation. The commission agreed the application could be referred to staff to handle a modification to a site plan. Kenyon said she would follow up with Boffi, noting the applicant would have to demonstrate the site complies with the 20 percent landscaped area requirement. 

Receive Application and Set Public Hearing 

An application seeking an amendment to the Zoning Regulations, Section 8.16 Restaurants that would allow by Special Permit a seasonal outdoor dining area. 

Kenyon stated that the proposed amendment has been referred to CRCOG. The commission scheduled the public hearing for Oct. 23. 

Consideration of the above applications, where the Commission has concluded the public hearing. 

On a motion by James Sansone seconded by Jonathan Boardman, the commission voted (6-0-0) to approve the Special Permit for an illuminated freestanding sign and two additional freestanding signs for property at 4 East Granby Road with a condition that the illumination is set to turn off by 10 p.m. daily. 

Staff Reports and Correspondence 

Kenyon informed the commission that the Geissler’s parking lot will be repaved and reconfigured this fall. She noted that based on a preliminary review, the site plan modification does not require commission approval. It was noted the sidewalks will be reconstructed and new trees will be planted. The property owner will be applying to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for the height of the lights. 

Commission discussion of items of interest or concern 

The commission asked for an update on the Kearns School. Kenyon noted the Kearns Community Steering Committee is researching funding options. She said prior to any decision being made the proposal will go through all required boards and commissions. 

In response to a question about the outdoor seating area for Farmer’s Kitchen and its impact on accessibility, Kenyon said she would visit the site and follow up with the owner if needed. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Pat Tappenden