GRANBY PLANNING & ZONING MINUTES

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November 24, 2020 

Present via Zoom: Mark Lockwood (Chair), Margaret Chapple, Jonathan Boardman, Christine Chinni, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, Brennan Sheahan. Also present: Abigail Kenyon, Director of Community Development, alternates Matthew Peters and Paula Johnson.

Public Hearing

Application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section 3.12.1 for a multi-family use, apartments, for property located at 17 Hartford Avenue, COCE Zone. File Z-28-20.

Michael Guarco, Sr., 7 Bayberry Drive, East Granby, applicant, addressed the commission. He explained there are currently two buildings on the property connected by a breezeway. The front building first floor is occupied by Matco Jewelry that will remain in that space. There is one apartment on the second floor. The building to the rear has commercial space on the first floor that has been vacant for years. There are two apartments on the second floor. He is requesting to convert this commercial space to two efficiency apartments. If approved, there will be a total of five apartment units and one commercial space on the property.

Kenyon stated the proposed apartments would have direct access to the outside through doors located at the front and rear of the building. Access would also be provided to the apartments through an interior hallway located in the center of the building. One apartment would be 670 square feet and the other 520 square feet. The proposed apartments comply with the minimum square footage required. The proposed change in use to apartments would require a total of 13 parking spaces. The current site plan shows 14 parking spaces.

Kenyon added if the commission approved the apartments in the rear building, the applicant will have to submit a building permit and plans for review by the Fire Marshal and Building Official. Answering a commission member’s question, if the applicant wishes to convert the apartments back to commercial space in the future, the applicant may be required to obtain a Special Permit.

The hearing was opened for public comment at 7:10 p.m. There were no comments.

The commission has 65 days to render its decision plus any extension as granted by Executive Order.

Application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Sections 3.5.2.1 and 8.21 for expansion of a restaurant in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone, for property located at 9 Mill Pond Drive, Tiger Belly, C2 Zone. File Z-29-20.

Kiyen Yeung, 9 Mill Pond Drive, applicant, addressed the commission. He stated Tiger Belly has been unable to provide indoor dining during the pandemic. He proposes to expand the dining area into the adjacent store front to provide patrons a safe place to dine. The expansion will be about 940 square feet and will be located behind the existing store “Inhale”. The original entrance to Tiger Belly will be used for curbside takeout. A nine-foot door on the western side of the building will be installed to provide direct access from the parking lot to the dining area. A five-foot interior opening will connect the new dining space to the existing restaurant. There are no other exterior changes to the building or site. Yeung noted there are currently 30 parking spaces on site and there are no proposed changes to parking. 

Kenyon added that the parking spaces comply with requirements for the use. She stated the Fire Marshal and the Building Official have met with the applicant and reviewed the building plans. It was also noted the restaurant expansion complies with Zoning Regulations Section 8.21, Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone criteria.

The hearing was opened for public comment. There were no comments.

The commission has 65 days to render its decision plus any extension as granted by Executive Order.

Receive applications and set public hearings

Application seeking Site Plan approval and to modify a Special Permit for an existing farm store under Zoning Regulations Section 8.15.17 for outdoor entertainment and parking, for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road, R2A Zone.

The above application is scheduled for public hearing on Dec. 8.

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

On A Motion by Myers, and seconded by  Chinni, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking a Special Permit for a multi-family use, apartments, for property located at 17 Hartford Avenue, COCE Zone, as proposed.

On A Motion by Chinni, and seconded by Boardman, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking a Special Permit for expansion of a restaurant in the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone, for property located at 9 Mill Pond Drive, Tiger Belly, C2 Zone, as proposed.

CGS Section 8-24 Referral, DOT Acquisition of Property for Major Intersection Improvements on US 202/Route 10 and Route 20 and Route 189.

Kenyon addressed the commission. The State of Connecticut is acquiring property for intersection improvements at U.S. 202/Route 10 at Route 20 and Route 189 to be completed. The commission previously reviewed the acquisition of a portion of 4 North Granby Road and 3 East Granby Road. In addition to those properties, two additional town-owned properties, 11 and 15 North Granby Road, will be affected by the project. 

The state proposes to acquire 3,808 square feet from 11 and 15 North Granby Road, extending from the front of The Drummer building to the west of the Town Hall driveway. Under Connecticut General Statutes Section 8-24, prior to the sale of any town property, it must be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a report. The commission is to evaluate referrals for their consistency with the Plan of Conservation and Development. Lockwood added these Granby Center improvements are in line with the Plan of Conservation and Development objectives.

On A Motion by Myers, and seconded by Chapple, the commission voted (7-0-0) that the Planning and Zoning Commission, pursuant to the provisions of Section 8-24 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, recommend approval of the 11 and 15 North Granby Road property acquisition by DOT for the intersection improvement project.

Commissioner Reports and Correspondence

Sheahan asked Kenyon if the excavation work at 100 Wells Road is going according to plan. Kenyon stated the town engineer has visited the site and work is being done in accordance with the approval.


December 8, 2020 

Present via Zoom: Mark Lockwood (Chair), Margaret Chapple, Jonathan Boardman, Christine Chinni, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, Brennan Sheahan. Also present: Abigail Kenyon, Director of Community Development, and alternates M. Peters and P. Johnson.

Public Hearing

Application seeking a Site Plan approval and to modify a Special Permit for an existing farm store under Zoning Regulations Section 8.15.17 for outdoor entertainment and parking, for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road, R2A Zone. File Z-30-20.

Applicants Michelle Niedermeyer and Kevin Riggot, owners of 80 Lost Acres Road, Lost Acres Vineyard, were present. Niedermeyer stated they are seeking to modify the Special Permit for the farm store at Lost Acres Vineyard that was approved in 2015. She introduced Attorney Mark Fiorentino of 296 Loomis Street to present the application.

Fiorentino provided an overview of the Special Permits issued for the property and background about Lost Acres Vineyard. He explained how the industry is constantly changing. Given challenges with COVID, the business model has also changed and outdoor activities are increasingly important. 

The applicants are before the commission to propose changes to the Special Permit to allow outdoor entertainment, specifically they are proposing a change to the fourth condition to add the following sentence, “Music is permitted inside the building, on the deck, and within 100 feet of the building.” The applicants also propose removal of the fifth condition that currently limits the number of events with amplified music. He presented a site plan showing the location for music. A revision was discussed to show that the music would be permitted in the area where the 100-foot buffer overlaps the area previously approved for outdoor events. More pictures were displayed showing the vineyard property and distances to neighbors.

The commission discussed the proposal to remove limits on outdoor music. It was noted should the commission approve the application, the Special Permit stays with the property and while the current property owners are sensitive to their neighbors, the commission must consider future owners. The commission also discussed the distance to neighbors, differences between special events with music and smaller events, how to define types of music, and a definition of amplified music.

Fiorentino provided an overview of the proposed site plan revision that shows the location of additional overflow parking. It was stated the parking surface will remain grass and the area will be used for larger events.

The hearing was opened for public comment at 7:30 p.m. The commission noted two letters were received.

Christopher and Rhonda Day, 79 Lost Acres Road; Anthony Cappelli, 9 Heather Lane; Thomas Kelly, 83 Lost Acres Road; and Gage Fiorentino, 296 Loomis Street, spoke in support of the application.

Fiorentino asked the commission if they would allow him to consult with the applicants to propose modified language. The commission decided to continue the public hearing later in the meeting, after the informal discussion.

Informal Discussion: 76 West Granby Road, Residential Subdivision

Lockwood stated this is an informal discussion and the commission is neither approving nor disapproving the plan. If and when an application is received, the public will have an opportunity to comment.

Guy Hesketh, of F.A. Hesketh, East Granby, joined by Jason Levesque and Attorney David Sherwood were present to discuss a potential residential subdivision at 76 West Granby Road. Hesketh stated the parcel is approximately 23 acres and is zoned R30 residential. He presented two possible site layouts, the first showed twin cul-de-sacs and the second a loop road. Both layouts would have one intersection with West Granby Road. Hesketh noted the twin cul-de-sac layout meets the subdivision and zoning regulations while the loop road configuration does not. This proposal would require text amendments to the current zoning and subdivision regulations. He stated the loop road is the preferred design.

The commission discussed landscaping and a buffer from West Granby Road, solar access, storm water management, open space, access to Salmon Brook Park and the house design. Answering questions, Hesketh stated a landscape designer would be used to design a landscape plan for the site; an area located in the northeastern corner of the development would be used for storm water management; they would propose to pay a fee in lieu of open space; the houses would be between 2,100 and 2,500 square feet; and they would examine how to provide a safe road crossing to provide access to the park.

Tammy Snyder, 28 Granby Farms Road, asked about a buffer for the homes to Granby Farms and questioned the impact the proposed development would have on existing wells in the area. Patrick Fox, 127 West Granby Road, suggested more research should be done regarding traffic and accidents in the area.

Resume Public Hearing for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road, R2A Zone.

Fiorentino proposed additional language to the fourth condition to state, “Amplified music shall not exceed 60 days per year.” In response to a question to clarify this proposal, it was stated non-amplified music would not be subject to any restriction. 

The commission discussed the importance of having conditions pertaining to music, the need to encourage and support agricultural uses, notification requirements to the town prior to events, and how to define different types of music that may be offered. The commission reviewed conditions that were applied to similar properties. In response to a question about outdoor music at other properties, it was stated that staff is reviewing previous approvals, and applicants would be referred to the commission if there was a disagreement between what the commission approved and how the business operates. The commission decided to continue the public hearing to Jan. 12.

Staff Report and Correspondence

The Board of Selectman reviewed the Plan of Conservation and Development implementation tasks. Kenyon will compile recommended changes and distribute the information to the Implementation Committee and will schedule a committee meeting for January to review the changes.


January 12, 2021

Present via Zoom: Mark Lockwood (Chair), Margaret Chapple, Jonathan Boardman, Paula Johnson, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, Matthew Peters, Brennan Sheahan. Also present: Abigail Kenyon, Director of Community Development

Seating of Alternates

Peters and Johnson were seated for Christine Chinni and Brennan Sheahan.

Public Session

Kristin Herzog, 69 Cider Mill Heights; Donna Snyder, 71 Cider Mill Heights; and Christine Peaslee, 38 Cider Mill Heights addressed the commission regarding 33 Cider Mill Heights. An application to change limits of tree clearing was approved by the commission on Oct. 13, 2020. The applicant stated the clearing is a pasture for horses. Herzog stated livestock are not permitted per the Cider Mill Heights Homeowners Association. 

Answering questions, Lockwood stated the Planning & Zoning Commission does not enforce, comment or have authority over a homeowners’ association; the commission evaluates applications for compliance with the Zoning Regulations. In response to a question, Kenyon stated notifications of land use applications are mailed to abutting property owners as a courtesy and people can also sign up to receive agenda notifications through the town’s website.

Minutes

On A Motion by Lukingbeal, seconded by Johnson, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve the minutes of Dec. 8 with the following correction: the minutes are to include the names of the people who submitted letters. It is noted letters of objection were received from Peggy Lareau and Noal Jenkins.

At 7:15 p.m., Sheahan joined the meeting and was seated in place of Peters.

Public Hearing

Application seeking Site Plan approval and to modify a Special Permit for an existing farm store under Zoning Regulations Section 8.15.17 for outdoor entertainment and parking, for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road, R2A Zone. File Z-30-20. (Continued from Dec. 8)

Applicants Michelle Niedermeyer and Kevin Riggot, 80 Lost Acres Road were present; Attorney Mark Fiorentino, 296 Loomis Street, representing the applicants, addressed the commission. 

Fiorentino presented the proposed changes to the existing conditions of approval for the commission’s consideration. It is proposed that condition #4 be changed to add the following definition of light music, “Light music is any music played or performed at a level in which customers not located in the building, on the deck or in the cross-hatched area can hold a conversation without unreasonably raising their voices.” Fiorentino explained such a definition is preferred over outlining a specific decibel level because in their belief it will be simpler to enforce and Lost Acres Vineyard employees can monitor the noise levels themselves without requiring special equipment. 

The commission discussed this definition at length. It was noted if there is a disagreement as to whether the noise level is unreasonable, a sound meter could always be used because there are standards for a conversation, which is 50 to 60 decibels. They also discussed the impact of light music on the surrounding area, noting if it is measured as a conversation, neighbors should not be negatively impacted, especially given the distance of these areas to adjacent homes. It was noted existing vegetation and other natural buffers also further dampen the noise.

The commission discussed condition #5 regarding the number of events with music that would exceed the levels for light music. The applicant requested an increase from six events to ten. It was noted other applicants were granted six events. Several commissioners noted given nearby residential uses, they were reluctant to allow an increase in the number of events with louder music. Furthermore, it was noted while the applicants are responsive to concerns raised by neighbors, since the permit runs with the land, should the property sell, the future owner may not be as responsive. 

The commission discussed changing the time period when music could be played, starting around noon instead of 10 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m. It was concluded if the commission is not inclined to increase the number of events allowed, then the hours when music can be played should remain unchanged as well. The commission also discussed a possible time limit for the permit, which would require the applicant to come back for re-approval. While some commissioners were open to the idea, others were opposed as a time limit has not been used before for other Special Permits, with the exception of earth excavation uses that can expressly have time limits established.

The public hearing opened at 8:07 p.m.

Noal Jenkins, 62 Lost Acres Road, North Granby, spoke in opposition to the application. He stated satisfying Granby residents should be the focus of the commission, and not vineyard customers. He raised concerns over music that under the proposal could be played 365 days per year and the impact this would have on neighbors. He also spoke about land depreciation and long-term unpleasant consequences of the commission’s decision.

The commission has 65 days to render its decision plus any extension granted by Executive Order.

Receive applications and set public hearings

Application seeking to amend Zoning Regulations Section 5.2.7 pertaining to placement of lot square and Subdivision Regulations Sections 1.4, 3.2.6, 4.4.1.4 and 4.8.1 to define loop street, placement of lot square, culmination of dead-end streets and road curve design speeds. File Z-1-21.

The above application is scheduled for public hearing on Jan. 26.

Application seeking approval of a 1 lot re-subdivision for property located at 33 Moose Horn Road, R2A Zone. File P-1-21.

The above application is scheduled for public hearing on Feb. 9.

Consideration of above applications, where the commission has concluded the public hearing

Application seeking Site Plan approval and to modify a Special Permit for an existing farm store under Zoning Regulations Section 8.15.17 for outdoor entertainment and parking, for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road, R2A Zone. File Z-30-20.

On A Motion by Myers, and seconded by Johnson, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking Site Plan approval and to modify a Special Permit for an existing farm store under Zoning Regulations Section 8.15.17 for outdoor entertainment and parking for property located at 80 Lost Acres Road subject to the following: Condition #4 approved as proposed with one modification, the word “customers” is to be changed to “persons”; Condition #5 approved with the addition of the definition of amplified music. The requested change from six events to ten in Condition #5 is denied without prejudice. The temporary parking area is approved as proposed.

Staff Report and Correspondence

Kenyon reported under state statute, all municipalities are required to prepare an affordable housing plan by spring 2022. Guidance was recently released regarding creation of the plan. Staff will map out a working plan for accomplishing this and a committee may need to be formed.

Commissioner Reports and Correspondence

Myers stated the commission should make drafting a regulation pertaining to renewable energy a priority, including ground mounted solar.

Lockwood reiterated the commission is responsive to public comment and will be involved if a complaint falls within their purview.

Respectfully submitted,

Patricia Tappenden, Recording Secretary