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June 28, 2022

Present: Mark Lockwood, Chairman; Margaret Chapple, Christine Chinni, Erick Lukingbeal, Eric Myers and Brennan Sheahan; Alternates Paula Johnson, Matthew Peters; Absent: Jonathan Boardman.

Johnson was seated for Boardman.

Public Hearings

Application seeking a Special Permit under Zoning Regulations Section for the sale of alcoholic beverages produced on other farms for property located at 29 Bushy Hill Road, R50 Zone. File Z-13-22

Lukingbeal recused himself from this matter and Peters was seated.

Becky Clark, 29 Bushy Hill Road, owner of Clark Farms Bushy Hill Orchard and Bushy Hill Cidery is requesting a Special Permit to sell alcoholic beverages that are produced on other farms if they have the opportunity to take advantage of that in the future. Currently, the farm has a permit to sell alcohol produced from their own apples. The applicant is not proposing any other changes to their operations.

Clark explained the Connecticut Craft Café Permit was passed in July 2021 during COVID-19 pandemic to support local businesses that did not sell food and therefore were not able to offer alcohol. The Town zoning regulation differs from the State’s as it requires the alcoholic beverages be produced by a farm. There are currently no farm distilleries and only two farm breweries that produce beer in the state. The applicant feels this puts farms in Granby at a disadvantage and would like the ability to offer customers other options.

Dominick Caruso, Granby’s interim director of community development, concurred that the difference between the two regulations is the town requires the alcohol be produced on a farm—and the state does not. The town revised its regulation in 2021.

Barbra Link, 1 Granby Farms Road, requested clarification on the type of alcohol Clark Farms is requesting to sell. The commission clarified that the town regulation allows any type of spirits produced on a farm to be sold. Currently there is no distillery on a farm in Connecticut, but there could be in the future.

The commission received a letter from Rob and Jennifer Rome, 19 Bushy Hill Road in support of the application.

A subcommittee was formed in 2021 to address the definition of a Farm Store and the agritourism regulation. The current regulation, which specifically requires that any goods that are sold must be from a farm, was drafted by the P & Z Commission based on the work of the subcommittee. The commission will consider revising that piece of the regulation in the future. However, at this time any approval would be subject to the current regulation.

The commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application for a special permit for the sale of alcoholic beverages produced on other farms on property located at 29 Bushy Hill Road.

Lukingbeal returned to the meeting and Peters was excused.

Commission Reports and Correspondence

Johnson questioned the location of the foundation for the first lot at the Harness Way Development on Route 20. Caruso will have the building inspector visit the site and inform the chairman.

The July 12 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission will be canceled since there are no pending applications. The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for July 26. The commission will be recessed in August. Staff will work with Lockwood on any applications that are received in July and August to keep the process moving forward.

Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Mazzotta Recording Secretary