March 26, 2019
Attendees: Margaret Chapple (Acting Chairman), Christine Chinni, Charles Kraiza, Eric Lukinbeal, Eric Myers, James Sansone, Brennan Sheahan and Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon.
Seating of Alternates
Christine Chinni and Brennan Sheahan were seated.
On a motion by Eric Lukingbeal seconded by Eric Myers, the commission voted (6-0-2) to approve the minutes of March 12. Brennan Sheahan and Christine Chinni abstained.
Section 8-24 Referral Regarding Capital Projects
Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon explained Section 8-24 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires municipal improvements be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a report before any local action is taken. The role of the commission is to evaluate projects for their consistency with the Plan of Conservation and Development. She emphasized approval is for consistency with the plan and is not approval of the projects themselves. The next step is to forward its report to the Board of Selectman for consideration. If a project is found to be inconsistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development, a majority vote by the public is needed to approve the project.
Myers read several excerpts from the Plan of Conservation and Development, noting how the sections relate to 12 of the 13 proposed projects. He noted there is not support in the plan for the proposed solar project as it is in conflict with the preservation of flora, fauna, and wetlands. Lukingbeal stated one of the goals of the plan is sustainable living and reducing the carbon footprint, which therefore supports the solar project. Issues about this project are better addressed by the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. There was discussion among commissioners about the solar project and other possible locations in town for the solar array.
The Commission decided to separate the projects with two motions.
On a motion by Myers seconded by Chinni, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted (7-0-0) to report to the Board of Selectmen there is support and basis for the following projects in the Plan of Conservation and Development: bridge replacements, school projects including infrastructure and systems, science classroom and career technology education spaces, performing arts, library media center, kitchen facilities and athletic field.
On a motion by Myers seconded by Kraiza, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted (4-3-0) to inform the Board of Selectmen there is no support for the solar project in the Plan of Conservation and Development. Chapple, Chinni and Lukingbeal opposed.
Application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 8.5 for an accessory apartment for property at 29 Notch Road.
Applicant Carrie Thompson of 29 Notch Road addressed the commission. Thompson stated that she plans to rent out the accessory apartment, which is located to the rear of the home in an area that was a former barn. The apartment is a total of 997 square feet on two levels. The first floor has a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom area. Thompson has met with both the Farmington Valley Health District and the Building Official. She noted she has lived in the home for over 40 years and hopes to stay in Granby; the accessory apartment income will help alleviate a financial burden.
The public hearing on the application was closed.
Application seeking an amendment to Zoning Regulations Sections 1.4, 18.104.22.168 and 8.17.4 which would add a definition for gasoline filling stations and allow them by Special Permit in the Industrial Zone and increase the building height of a self-storage facility.
Wilson Alford, PE of Alford and Associates, addressed the commission. Alford explained the property owner of 500, 508, and 514 Salmon Brook Street would like to build a gasoline filling station (gas station) and convenience store and a climate controlled self-storage facility on the property. Alford noted the property is in the Industrial Zone and a change to the Zoning Regulations would be required to allow the gas station use in the Industrial Zone.
Alford presented each commission member with a drawing of a proposed two-story climate controlled self-storage building to illustrate the proposed building height. He explained that the topography of the site would allow the building to be constructed to 30 feet in height, but it would appear to be lower in the front because the land drops off to the rear. Alford said the convenience store would sell coffee and merchandise, such as soda, chips, and the like. He explained the proposed regulation change would also allow the convenience store to have a drive-through by Special Permit.
Chinni noted the public hearing legal notice was not very detailed and questioned if it was adequate. Chapple echoed a similar sentiment and asked if the neighbors have been notified. Kenyon replied the notice in the Hartford Courant was proper as it referenced the sections of the Zoning Regulations that were to be changed. The proposed changes were also posted on the website so people could review them in more detail. She explained notice to neighbors is not required for a zoning regulation change application.
Kenyon explained the applicant proposes a change to the zoning regulations to allow a gas station with convenience store and drive-through by Special Permit in the Industrial Zone. She noted the proposed drive-through language was taken from Section 8.16 Restaurants but an important difference is that there is no separation distance required from Residential Zones in the proposed version. The commission discussed the drive-through in more detail. Some commissioners noted there has been improvements to drive-through design over the years, while others cited concerns with the potential impact on the neighborhood. The commission also questioned the definition of gas station and items that could be sold in the convenience store.
Peggy Lareau, 17R Reed Hill Road, Granby addressed the commission. She fears that strip zoning could be creeping its way into town and commented that trash from the drive-through and convenience store is a concern.
Brian Guarco, property owner of 500, 508 and 514 Salmon Brook Street addressed the commission. He stated he is trying to develop the property for tax revenue. Currently, only half of the property is being used and he would like to use all of the property emphasizing that it makes the most sense to put a self-storage in the back. A gas station located on a state road between the center of town and the state line would benefit residents and alleviate traffic in Granby center.
The commission agreed to leave this public hearing open. They requested information about the definition of gas station for the next meeting.
Consideration of the above applications, where the commission has concluded the public hearing
On a motion by Lukingbeal seconded by Myers, the commission voted to approve an application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 8.5 for an accessory apartment for property at 29 Notch Road.
Staff Reports and Correspondence
Kenyon reported Stop & Shop will be installing outside lockers for curbside food pickup. She noted they will be submitting a site plan revision application and at this time, it appears everything may be approved at the staff level but if anything should change, she will bring it before the commission.
In response to a question from the commission about 280 Salmon Brook Street, she said a developer met with the Development Commission to discuss the potential for a mixed use development on the property consisting of condo units and some retail. As plans are developed, the developer may come before Planning and Zoning Commission for an informal discussion.
In response to another question from the commission, Kenyon reported Public Works installed the remaining sidewalk light shields along Salmon Brook Street. The shields help direct light onto the sidewalk, which reduces light trespass onto adjacent properties.
Kenyon said she has no update with regards to the new law office signs located at 4 East Granby Road. The facility is still in the renovation process but she will speak with the contractor to be sure the sign is installed in the correct location per the commission’s approval.
April 9, 2019
Present: Paula Johnson (Chairman), Margaret Chapple, Christine Chinni, Jonathan Boardman, Charles Kraiza, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, James Sansone and Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon.
The minutes of March 26 were reviewed. On a motion by Sansone seconded by Kraiza, the commission voted (5-0-2) to approve the minutes of March 26. Johnson and Boardman abstained.
Receive applications and set public hearings
An application seeking an amendment to Zoning Regulations Section 3.12.1, which would allow mixed use buildings by Special Permit in the Commercial Center Zone.
The above application was scheduled for public hearing on April 23, 2019.
Staff Reports and Correspondence
Staff approval of a Modification to an Approved Site Plan, Zoning Regulations Section 4.2.13, for 124 Salmon Brook Street, Stop & Shop grocery lockers and parking space markers.
Kenyon reported Stop & Shop submitted a site plan revision application to install lockers for grocery pick-up and markers to designate the parking spaces for pick-up. Town staff, including the Fire Marshal and Building Official, reviewed the plan and everyone signed off.
Application seeking an amendment to Zoning Regulations Sections 1.4, 22.214.171.124 and 8.17.4, which would add a definition for gasoline filling stations and allow them by Special Permit in the Industrial Zone and increase the building height of a self-storage facility. Continued from March 26.
Chinni was seated for Boardman.
Chapple read the public notice into the record.
The applicant Brian Guarco addressed the commission. Guarco stated he is trying to determine the best use of the property located at 500, 508, 514 Salmon Brook Street and believes a gas station with convenience store and a self-storage facility will be a benefit to the town. He noted given the topography of the land, the self-storage facility would not appear to be as tall from the road. He also stated that a drive-through to the rear of the convenience store would not be visible from the road.
Jonathan Boardman, 128 Peterson Road, addressed the commission. He stated the current maximum building height allowed in the Industrial Zone is 40 feet. Therefore, the request to increase the building height of a self-storage facility is consistent with other buildings in the zone.
The commission discussed the different aspects of the proposed zoning regulation change, including the self-storage facility building height, gasoline station definition, and the impact of a drive-through window on the surrounding area.
Consideration of the above applications, where the commission has concluded the public hearing
Chapple noted this application has three distinct parts and each should be discussed individually. Johnson started with the proposed change to the self-storage facility building height, noting the Industrial Zone is an appropriate zone for a self-storage facility and agreed that the proposed height increase to 30 feet is consistent with other buildings in the zone. A. Kenyon said the change to Section 8.17 would also apply to the Business Zone as the commission recently approved a change to allow self-storage facilities in the Business Zone by Special Permit. The commission agreed the increase in building height should apply to the Industrial Zone only.
The commission discussed the appropriateness of a gasoline filling station in the Industrial Zone by Special Permit. It was agreed the use, including motor vehicle repairs, is consistent with other industrial uses. Some commissioners noted the definition should be modified, as the term “merchandise” is too broad. Kenyon read a revised definition that specifies the sale of food, drink and smaller everyday items.
The commission addressed the drive-through window aspect of the application. It was noted that this section is specific to the Industrial Zone and if the commission approves the regulation change, only a gas station in the Industrial Zone could have a drive-through window by Special Permit. Chapple expressed concerns that a drive-through would result in increased traffic and the potential for trash and unpleasant odors would be problematic, especially given it would be in proximity to a residential area. Myers noted a drive-through in the Industrial Zone would be no more intrusive than large diesel trucks or other industrial uses. The commission discussed the current requirement that restaurant drive-through windows be located more than 1,000 feet from residential zones.
The commission discussed drive-through windows and agreed they needed to look at the issue town wide, rather than piecemeal.
On a motion by Lukingbeal seconded by Sansone the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an amendment to 8.17 self-storage facilities, which would include Section 8.17.4 that building height shall not exceed 18 feet, with the exception of climate controlled multi-story self-serve storage buildings, the height shall not exceed 30 feet in the Industrial Zone.
On a motion by Lukingbeal seconded by Chapple, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve a change to Section 1.4 definitions. The new definition shall read “fueling stations/gasoline filling stations: buildings and premises where the principal use is the retail sale of fuels, but may also include the sale of convenience foods, beverages, and everyday items.”
On a motion by Chinni seconded by Lukingbeal, the commission voted (7-0-0) to add Section 126.96.36.199 fueling stations/gasoline filling stations, with or without Connecticut Motor Vehicle Department Repairers’ Licenses, or motor vehicle repair facilities.
On a motion by Chapple seconded by Chinni, the commission voted (7-0-0) to deny without prejudice Section 188.8.131.52 that would allow a drive-through by Special Permit in the Industrial Zone.