Present: Mark Lockwood (Chair), Jonathan Boardman, Margaret Chapple, Christine Chinni, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, Brennan Sheahan. Also present was Abby Kenyon, Director of Community Development.
Public Session – Items that are not a public hearing item on the agenda
Kate Bogli, 198R Salmon Brook Street, addressed the commission regarding the draft agritourism zoning regulation, noting the importance of supporting and helping farmers and not adding more paperwork and fees for farmers. Virginia Wutka, 130 Lost Acres Road, asked the commission what the impetus is for the proposed changes.
Action on the minutes of Feb. 11
On a motion by C. Chinni seconded by E. Lukingbeal, the commission voted (6-0-1) to approve the minutes of Feb. 11, with the following amendment: the vote to approve an application seeking a zone change from Center Edge (CE) and Center Commons (CC) to Commercial Center (COCE) for property located at 37 Hartford Avenue was (7-0-0). M. Chapple abstained.
Application seeking a Special Permit for a garage in excess of 1,000 square feet for property at 70R Day Street. (Postponed from Jan. 28)
Christian Alford, Alford Associates, Inc., Windsor, addressed the commission. The applicant, Brian Guarco of 70R Day Street, proposes to construct a 3,200 square foot garage/barn, measuring 80 feet by 40 feet. He proposes to revise the lot lines to increase the size of his property to 8 acres. In response to commission questions, it was noted the height of the barn would be 25 feet; the building will be grey vinyl siding; small residential-type light fixtures are proposed, there will not be lighting in the peaks or cupola, and the interior space will include a bathroom. A letter from a neighbor at 76 Day Street was read into the record. In response, the applicant stated the barn will not be utilized for commercial use; it will store antique cars. The proposed structure will be set back from Day Street and he stated it will barely be visible to neighbors. The commission questioned the note on the plan regarding the bedroom. This was used to determine the septic system design. Guarco stated a bedroom is not proposed for the structure. The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission reviewed the application and delegated approval to the Wetlands Agent.
There were no comments from the public. The public hearing closed at 7:23 p.m.
Application seeking a Special Permit for an accessory apartment for property located at 155 Notch Road.
Amanda and Nicholas Mele, 155 Notch Road, addressed the commission. A. Mele stated when she and her husband purchased the home an accessory apartment was already in place and they weren’t aware it wasn’t properly approved. The accessory apartment is located in the basement and is about 528 square feet and contains one bedroom, one bathroom, living and kitchen area. A door off the driveway provides separate access to the apartment. The building official inspected this space and has no issues. In response to a question, the commission confirmed that the property owner must live on the premises for the duration of the permit and once approved, the permit runs with the land provided the next owner complies with the regulations.
There were no comments from the public.
Consideration of above applications, where the commission has concluded the public hearing.
In discussing the application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 22.214.171.124 for a garage in excess of 1,000 square feet for property at 70R Day Street, the commission noted the barn has been designed to be in keeping with the character of the area and given the topography and setback from the road, it will hardly be seen. It was also noted that the Zoning Regulations do not require a barn to be screened from view.
On a motion by M. Chapple seconded by J. Boardman the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking a Special Permit for a garage in excess of 1,000 square feet for property at 70R Day Street, with a condition that a bedroom is not approved in this structure.
In discussing the application seeking a Special Permit for an accessory apartment for property located at 155 Notch Road, it was noted the accessory apartment has been inspected and is in compliance with the Zoning Regulations.
On a motion by E. Myers seconded by C. Chinni the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 8.5 for an accessory apartment for property located at 155 Notch Road. File Z-04-20.
Review and discuss minor changes/cross references to Zoning Regulations Section 8.25 Utility Uses
A. Kenyon addressed the commission. She noted various sections of the Zoning Regulations list Utility Uses as both a Permitted and Special Permit use within the same zone. In some cases, the zoning regulations also incorrectly reference Section 8.24 when Section 8.25 should be referenced. It is suggested the cross references are corrected so it is clear under what conditions the use would be permitted and when it would require Special Permit approval. While the proposed changes do not affect the language or make substantial changes to the regulation, it will still require a referral to CRCOG and a public hearing.
In response to a question about solar and wind, Kenyon stated when Section 8.25 Utility Use was adopted, it did not appear to address alternative energy systems. Rather the intent was to address unoccupied utility buildings and smaller utility boxes. She stated a draft regulation will be presented in the near future regarding these other systems. Answering a question, Kenyon noted the proposed solar regulation would largely address ground mounted arrays only and not rooftop. The commission decided to address the proposed changes to Section 8.25 and a new alternative energy system’s regulation at the same time.
Review and discuss Zoning Regulations Section 8.15 Agriculture, including farm stores and draft agritourism regulation
M. Lockwood noted a recommendation outlined in Granby’s Plan of Conservation and Development is to develop regulations that address commercial elements of today’s agricultural operations, including agritourism. Kenyon provided an overview of the draft regulation, which was created by the Development Commission and reviewed by the Agricultural Commission at its February meeting. Recommended changes include the adoption of a new sub-section to address agritourism as well as suggested changes to the existing farm store regulation to expand the types of products that may be sold. The proposed changes are intended to support agriculture and provide better guidance for both applicants and the commission when evaluating proposed uses.
On a motion by Chapple, seconded by Myers, the commission voted (7-0-0) to reopen public session.
Paula Johnson, 289 Simsbury Road; Virginia Wutka, 130 Lost Acres Road; and Erin Pirro, 181R Broad Hill Road, addressed the commission. Their comments include how the commission should be mindful of the impacts of over-regulating farmers and the commission should hold an informal discussion with farmers for their input.
The commission suggested creating a committee including up to four members of the public and two members each from the Agricultural Commission, Development Commission, and the Planning and Zoning Commission to review the draft regulation in more detail.
Discuss Plan of Conservation and Development Implementation Tasks
The commission agreed to update Section 8.15 pertaining to agritourism and farm stores and Section 8.25 Utility Uses as immediate goals. After completion, the commission will look at other tasks and decide what to pursue.
On a motion by Myers, seconded by J. Boardman, the commission voted (7-0-0) to adjourn the meeting at 8:14 p.m.
Patricia Tappenden, Recording Secretary
To read minutes from other P&Z meetings,
go to granby-ct.gov/node/219/minutes/2020