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May 16, 2022

Present: First Selectman Mark Fiorentino, Vice-Chairman Sally King, Frederick Moffa, Mark Neumann, Kelly Rome, Town Manager Erica Robertson, Student Liaison John Bell

Public Session

Fiorentino asked individuals attending to speak on the Affordable Housing Plan or Intra-Board Advisory Council (IBAC) to please wait. There will be an opportunity to speak on Affordable Housing later in the meeting. There will also be an IBAC update and a Public Session will be held next Monday. Those wishing to speak on any other matter are welcome to do so.

Glenn Ballard, 289 Granville Road, distributed information regarding the process surrounding the Affordable Housing Plan, as well as the Plan of Conservation and Development.

IBAC Update

Fiorentino reported that IBAC has three voting members: he represents the BOS, Sarah Thrall for BOE and James Tsaptsinos for BOF. Jordan Grossman and Erica Robertson are ex-officio members. The committee’s charge is to look at issues important to Granby. It is currently looking at the best way to utilize the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds and prioritize the list of potential projects. The committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen, and a public workshop will be held on May 23.

Business Consideration of Capital Equipment Loan

The board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution regarding the Capital Equipment Loans.

Consideration of Budget Transfer for Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, and Recycling Collection Accounts

Rome stated the Town has not been charging for the second recycle barrel. That is no longer the case and she inquired if that would change. Robertson explained recycling is still free and the more recycled results in less waste tonnage. Fiorentino clarified that tipping fees are free but Paine’s, the waste hauler, is paid for its services.

The board voted unanimously to authorize the transfer of $49,200 from the $3.4m Bond Projects-School 3/21 expenditure line item to Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, and Recycling Collection line items in the amount of $27,000, $15,500, and $6,700 respectively and forward this request to the Board of Finance to approve.

Town Manager Report

Robertson reviewed the Statement of Accounts for April noting revenues are coming in and 102 percent of taxes have been collected to date. Year-to-date, 83 percent of the budget is expended, which is typical.

Robertson said the Town needs to decide what to do with trash as the plant in Hartford is closing. Granby trash would need to go to Torrington and Paine’s has concerns with that. Robertson would like to look at another trash disposal plant. The board will discuss next month.

First Selectman Report

Fiorentino reported members of the Board of Selectmen will hold two open forums for town residents to talk about topics on their minds. The forums will be held at the Senior Center on June 13. A maximum of two board members can attend, otherwise there would be a quorum.

Draft Affordable Housing Plan

Fiorentino provided a brief history of the development of the Affordable Housing Plan draft. He also provided some background around the two statutes: one sets a target for all municipalities that 10 percent of housing needs to be affordable. The second requires preparation of an Affordable Housing Plan. He noted the plan created by the committee discusses things that should be looked at further and asked for comments from the public. The plan was previewed at the April 18 public meeting. It was noted the Board of Selectmen cannot adopt zoning regulations or order Planning and Zoning to do so.

Public Work Session

Kenyon read and answered all the questions that were submitted from the Board of Selectmen regarding the plan.

Reinhard Maier, 13B Day Street, is concerned the financial impact on current residents was not explained. An increase in population will have an impact on services, such as fire, police, etc. He feels residents need to know how much this will cost.

Josie Klein,15 Harmony Hill, thanked the committee for the impressive report and was impressed with the idea of a Trust Fund. She believes affordable housing is needed in Granby.

Ellen Thomson, 250 Salmon Brook Street, is in support of affordable housing as well as the plan. She noted her disappointment that there is no timeline or goals for implementing the plan. She believes it is important for people who want to remain in town but cannot afford it have the opportunity to stay.

Brandon Beaudon, 286 Granville Road, believes an increase in population will tax the town emergency personnel as an increase in population increases the probability of crime. He believes there is a need to make Granby more affordable, but this is not the way to do it.

John Morrone, 15 Maple Hill Drive, stated developers are not interested in affordable housing as it is not financially viable for them. The pros and cons need to be looked at closely.

Cathy Watso,11 Evergreen Drive, expressed her appreciation for all the work that has been done and noted affordable housing creates a sustainable community. She is concerned with the issue of race that has come up. She would like to see a diverse community and this is a step in the right direction.

Robert Flanigan, 24 Woodcliff Drive, was under the impression the town could not meet the 10 percent requirement. He noted any current subsidized housing should be counted.

Maureen Eberly, 37 Silkey Road, believes 10 percent for rural towns like Granby is not realistic and cannot be obtained. She recommended the committee contact legislators and request the statutes be rewritten.

Jay, who would not provide his last name, stated he lives off Route 20. Granby is too expensive for young people. The mill rate is high and zoning laws need to be redone. He believes different commercial businesses are needed, not apartment buildings.

Sean, 10 Orchard Hill Drive, believes a controlled growth plan is needed. An increase in population equates to an increase in services. The commercial base needs to be increased.

Michael Fitzgerald, 10 Strawberry Fields, thanked the committee and commended tonight’s process, as well as the thorough response to questions. He is in support of affordable housing and the plan presented.

Glenn Ballard, 289 Granville Road, reviewed his survey results and hopes the board will take the feedback from residents and the survey information into consideration. He feels the state should be asked to provide more time to submit the plan.

Robert Lindeyer, 367 Granville Road, noted the discussion reminds him of the East Street property sale. People move to Granby for a certain lifestyle and open space. He views it as the state’s attempt to remove the town’s sovereignty.

Mark Garlasco, 23 Granby Farms Road, feels there is no vision of where the town wants to be in five to ten years and that should control development. He suggested a survey and another committee begin to create a real plan.

There were two comments on the Zoom chat box:

Who pays for the expansion of additional sewer and water for more affordable housing? Answer: Affordable housing does not have to have a direct line to sewer and water. The new apartments would, and the developer would pay.

Allie: People will move out of town if we have affordable housing. We live in a rural community, and most do not want that to change.

Individuals on Zoom who spoke:

Jean Donihee-Perron, 25 Archie Lane, spoke to the gentleman who noted most people are not aware of what is happening in town. She had concerns with that comment noting if people attend meetings and read the Drummer, they would be aware. She noted all board and commission meetings are open to the public, many meetings are held on a regular basis and information is readily available. She suggested people get out more and make themselves aware. She commended everyone on the committee, the volunteers and employees and thanked them for their efforts.

Discussion of Possible Action to Revise and/or Adopt Plan

Fiorentino noted the draft plan is a set of measures to be considered and not a plan that says “we will do this” by a certain deadline. The board agreed to build on the basic structure of the plan presented.

Neumann noted he was a member of the Affordable Housing Plan Committee. The committee did not view the charge as creating a plan to get to 10 percent affordable housing in Granby but, rather,  identify steps to increase the amount of affordable housing as defined by the state regulation. He believes the draft plan meets that goal and it is a good place to start.

King believes a lot of the comments were not specific to the draft plan but surrounded the proposed apartment project on Salmon Brook Street and The Grand. She concurred with Neumann and agreed with the basic structure of the plan.

Moffa agreed that two separate issues were discussed tonight. There are properties that were already approved that have nothing to do with the charge of creating an affordable housing plan. The plan does a particularly good job of meeting the requirements of the state.

Rome is comfortable with the plan but would like to see more detail. She did note that, until the completed strategic plan is available to use as a guide, it is premature to get into specifics. She agrees with the framework as is for now.

Fiorentino supports the basic framework of the plan but wanted to review the objectives to determine if they need further study. The board then reviewed the plan and made some modifications.

The board voted unanimously to make the discussed revisions to the plan and bring it back to the board to review on June 6.

Respectfully submitted,

Erica P. Robertson, Town Manager