COVENTRY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION - DOC by gabyion

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									             COVENTRY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
                             MINUTES
            REGULAR MEETING OF MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2010


CALL TO ORDER:

By: Kreisberg                Time: 7:05                  Place: Town Hall Annex


ROLL CALL:

                                                                      PRESENT            ABSENT
REGULAR MEMBERS:                Jonathan Kreisberg, Chairman             X
                                Raymond Giglio, Past Chairman            X
                                Bill Jobbagy                             X
                                Roberta Wilmot                           X
                                Christine Pattee                         X
ALTERNATE MEMBERS:              Darby Pollansky                          X
                                Carol Polsky                             X
OTHER:                          Eric Trott, Town Planner                 X


AUDIENCE OF CITIZENS:

None


ADOPTION OF MINUTES:

MOTION: Move to approve the minutes of the January 25, 2010 meeting.

By:    Giglio                Seconded: Pattee

With the following corrections:
Page 1 of 7 – indicate that Giglio was absent
Page 5 of 7 – under Economic Development, the opening sentence should read “Less
than 3% of the Town‟s grand list is commercial…”
Page 5 of 7 – two instances of Pat Knotish of 97 Clairmont Road should indicate Pat
Natusch of 218 Riley Mountain Road.
Page 6 of 7 – Bob Simmons of 1 White Corner Drive to read Bob Simmons of 108
Cornwall Drive.
Page 6 of 7 – in the ninth line under Eric Thomas to be amended to “…Willimantic River
Corridor.”

Motion carried with the following vote:

For: Kreisberg, Jobbagy, Wilmot, Pattee Against: None            Abstain: Giglio
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STAFF REPORTS:

1. Response from Town Attorney regarding alternate members involvement with
application decisions.

Alternate members cannot be part of the decision discussion unless they are seated as a
full voting member. This is the Town Attorney‟s interpretation of a new ruling. Once a
hearing is closed, unseated alternate members cannot speak.

Pattee does not see a reason for this ruling in Coventry; doesn‟t believe the ruling and
decision are ironclad.

What was the decision that brought about this ruling? Staff will investigate and provide
the ruling. Kreisberg will review the ruling when received.

What if there is no hearing? Staff will get clarification on the „hearing closed‟ phrase in
the Town Attorney‟s opinion.

If the Commission goes against the opinion, a decision could be overruled if alternate
members speak during decision discussion. Such a procedural flaw could neutralize an
otherwise good decision.

All members of the Commission are allowed to speak during the open portion of a
hearing; everyone gets to voice their opinion.


ENFORCEMENT:

1. 218 Bunker Hill road

Staff met with the Town Attorney and forwarded the recommended next steps for his
consideration. After the assessment of next steps, the matter will go to the Town
Council. The clean up of the property may become the responsibility of the Town.

Clean up by the property owner has ceased. Staff continues to consider the cost element
of the clean up and how to approach the owners in a respectful manner when visiting for
enforcement purposes.

At this point, the owner has a devalued property. The clean up will far exceed the value
of the property. This property consists of about five acres with a water course. It could
be worth more if there were not so much junk.




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PUBLIC HEARINGS:

1. #09-22ZR – Zoning text amendment of the Coventry Planning and Zoning
Commission to delete provision for sales of motor vehicles in the Commercial Zone
– Section 6.07.02.i.

Giglio recused himself. Pollansky was seated and has listened to the recorded minutes
from past meetings pertaining to this matter.

The monthly packet that was mailed to PZC members included Staff notes and
information from the Town Assessor regarding the current auto sales businesses in town.
A comparison of commercial type real estates uses and auto sales usage were asked for
previously by the Commission; these were also included in the packet. These are general
parameters for consideration in making a decision.

Pattee appreciated the amount of information provided by Staff. The comparative real
estate analysis was revealing for her. This showed the importance of commercial space
to the town. She stated that she thought a car sales business may be one of the cheapest,
easiest business types to open in an economic downturn

Wilmot agrees with Pattee. Other things come to mind that she feels the PZC must move
ahead on this matter – existing used car lots are on the upper portion of Rte. 44; as land is
used up, development will occur closer to the professional portion of Rte 44 near
Highland Park shopping center. Another motivator to making a decision is that that land
(near Highland Park) remains as professional space.

A survey conducted by the Town, circa 2000, regarding the citizen‟s desires for
development of the Rte. 44 & 31 corridors did not rank car dealers high. A retail
pharmacy and donut shop ranked high on the list. This survey generated a great deal of
response.

Pollansky is not comfortable with this subject because of the manner in which it is being
done. She thinks that if anything is to be done, it should be done by looking at the
commercial zones as a whole. She would like to see a redesign of the commercial zones
to complement the town using a holistic view.

Public Comment: Andrew Ladyga 215 Depot Road
He has been in the car sales business in some months now. He made some money from
business in the beginning, but for the last 2 months has been losing money due to the
economy. If the decision is made to delete this provision he will have no opportunity to
expand. One reason in his case is the existing nonconformity of his property. However,
not being able to expand will apply to all car businesses in town. Mr. Ladyga pays
$10,000 in taxes. His feeling is that this is not fair and quite dangerous. The PZC
members do not want to take the time to look at both sides – from the business owners
perspective, as well as the Town‟s.

Response from Wilmot & Staff – a non-conformity stipulation is available in the
regulations. A special permit may be applicable if the business has been in existence for
PZC –b9b4a7d2-f58a-4cd3-b376-49a9450e0f6c.DOC                                                   Page 3 of 9
25 years. Long standing, non-conforming use can be considered for a one time
expansion. A variance is another route to go, although this would be a harder avenue. So
there are other avenues available for expansion. The Commission is allowed to put in
such stop-gap measures in place.

Mr. Ladyga disagrees with Pattee‟s assessment that a car sales business is cheap to open.
Pattee expounded on her intended meaning. That being she should have used the phrase
less costly rather than cheap. Layga feels there needs to be less restrictive regulations
allowing car sales businesses to expand in the future.

William Bursiewicz of Coventry Automotive - he works 6-7 days per week works. He
does not like the idea of denying anyone a dream to sell a few cars in order to make a
living. The car sales business is costly and has lots of state regulations to comply with.

Jobbagy provided clarifications - existing businesses are not affected. If an owner
wanted to sell or perhaps double the size of a garage to include repairs, this proposal
would not prevent that. New car sales businesses only are being targeted.

Andrew Ladyga 215 Depot Road – if he wishes to expand his garage space for repairs,
he still could not expand the business because the additional garage area would take up
his car sales spaces.

Staff responded – as long as the business remains in the same footprint, both structurally
and in car parking area, at the time that this proposal becomes a regulation, you could
expand the garage area. You can work within the historically dedicated area. This
property is also constrained by a floodplain.


This hearing is closed.


2. Draft Plan of Conservation and Development, Open Space Plan and associated
mapping.

Giglio was reseated; he has listened to the tapes of the first meeting when the hearing was
opened.

Staff got email messages today regarding the concurrent meeting for PZC and the
referendum hearing regarding the Public Works Garage and North Coventry Fire Station
expansion. Also Staff is expecting comments from two sources. The PZC members may
want to consider leaving this hearing open for these reasons.

Kreisberg – reviewed the January 22 nd memo which raised some questions or changes to
the document.
     On page 1-6, 3rd paragraph, 3rd line suggests adding the word “farmland”. Where
       is this to be added? Staff – in the list of aspects reflecting the charm of the town.
     Also on page 1-6 wherever there is a recommendation with action items, the word
       “actions” should be changed globally to “action”.
PZC –b9b4a7d2-f58a-4cd3-b376-49a9450e0f6c.DOC                                                  Page 4 of 9
      Page 6-1, 4th paragraph, 1st line suggests adding “livestock” after agricultural.
       Where is this referring to? Staff - before the goal.
      Page 8-1, 3rd line from the bottom – take out „are‟. Staff – There are still homes
       on lots of 5,000 sq. ft. or less.
      Page 8-2, 2 nd line – memo suggests there is a period missing. Staff – should be
       between “systems” and “This”.
      Page 8-6, item #14 suggests promoting passive solar techniques. Why only
       passive applications; why shouldn‟t we be promoting active ones as well?
       Clarification of passive vs. active solar techniques – passive is the orientation of
       the system; an active system is mechanical. We should be encouraging both
       types. Staff will correct the document to reflect this.
      Page 9-8, item 7, second line - take out “the” from “the their benefits”.
      Page 9-8, item 8 – change “numbers” to “number”.
      Page10-3, next to the last bullet point – “encourage open space preservation
       through such processes incentives” to be changed to “encourage open space
       preservation through processes such as…”
      Page 11-2, item 3, 7th bullet – add “to” after “attention”.

When might the PZC have answers to a lingering question regarding 4-3 The
Establishment of a Municipal Historic Commission and why we should have one. This
can be answered at the next meeting.

Staff – received some email comments regarding this matter.
     Dated 02-06-2010 from Roberlie Lachance.
     Dated 02-08-2010 from Daniel F. Caner of 263 Carpenter Road

Pattee agrees with the stated goal of 20% as long as water resources and farmlands are
reflected in the total along with the more formerly protected open space. Jobbagy will
check the text to see if it reflects this tri-part meaning.

Public Comment: Jasmine Wolff 653 Flanders Road – asked if protected open space is
Town owned? Staff responded – there are both public and privately owned open spaces.
Deed restriction protects the open space on private land. A town goal matching the
State‟s goal of 20% would make her feel better. She reminded the Commission that
Coventry is the gateway to The Last Green Valley and we need to earn that. She wants
Coventry to remain as truly rural in character as we can keep it. She admonished the
PZC to keep this town as a rural town and deserving to be the gateway to the Quiet
Corner. She trusts the Commission to find a way to do that.


This hearing was continued until 02-22-2010.




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3. #09-26S – Special Permit Application of Philip Blazawski to establish auto sales,
repair, storage and office at 2724 Boston Tpke (Assessor’s Map 8, Block 3, Lot 23)
Commercial Zone.
Staff distributed plans that include updates and revisions to the original proposal. These
were recently submitted to Planning and Zoning. The PZC may want to continue this
hearing so that members can review the changes in-depth.

Philip Blazawski 2724 Boston Tpke., the applicant, was present. He developed the red
cape on Rte. 44 that is now used as a physician‟s office. He acknowledged he got scared
at the last meeting due to the possible zoning changes regarding car sales businesses.
While he will have some cars for sale on the property his wife does not want cars lining
the side of the driveway. This is also their residence. Therefore, there will be a small
area in front to display cars for sale, with the remaining cars at the back of the property.
He does have a lot of personal vehicles which he hides in back. He does not want to get
into trouble with zoning, but is having trouble isolating potential site locations for the
various vehicles and uses of his property.

Kreisberg requested clarification from Trott – this is a special permit to run a business so
anything that is done on the property with regard to parking is governed by the special
permit, correct? Staff responded in the affirmative and then suggested that the applicant
meet with Peter Henry to have the plans modified to delineate the particular use of each
area on the property whether for private or business purposes. Trott offered to attend that
meeting. Mr. Blazawski can maximize his opportunities for the property, but has to
delineate where the various parking areas are going to be. The Commission needs for
clarity on this issue.

Public Comment: none


This hearing was continued until 02-22-2010.


OLD BUSINESS:

1. Discussion regarding home occupation regulations and possible changes – re:
1028 Bread and Milk Street.

Trott visited with the property owner about a month ago. They are trying to solve
dilemmas of complying with the home occupation regulations. There has not been much
experience with high impact home occupations in town. The low to moderate impact
regulations are working well. Perhaps this is an opportunity to change the high impact
regulations.

Jobbagy requested some general information about the property and occupation in
relation to enforcing the regulation – this property is a house lot on 1.9 acres with a
building lot behind it. There is a small office inside the residence. This usage is okay
from the regulation aspect. However, the exterior storage areas have to be considered
when implementing the regulations. The regulations state that for a high impact home
PZC –b9b4a7d2-f58a-4cd3-b376-49a9450e0f6c.DOC                                                  Page 6 of 9
occupation, 35% of the finished floor area of the dwelling can be used for the occupation.
This must include office space and exterior storage space. In this case, 35% is approx.
635 sq feet. The home occupation space is to include the home office, the accessory
garage and exterior storage. This home occupation coverage is currently at 2500-300 sq.
ft. which is five times the amount of space for permitted use.

This business may have outgrown this property.

The business owner feels it is not affordable at this time to his business to rent off-site
space for storage.


Enforcement has not been pursued at this point. Staff and property owner have been
meeting to lay out options for the owner. They have been in a fact finding mode and
have been studying the relevant regulations. Staff is now bringing the issue and options
to the Commission. It is not in the best interest of the Town to kill home businesses
without seeking alternatives.

It was suggested that the current high impact regulations do not address this type
(landscaping) of business. Another suggestion was to change the regulations to have a
slide scale of impact levels. Another option is for the owner to combine the house and
building lots to increase his acreage and with a change in regulations, the use may be
acceptable.

A member did not think it is possible to rectify the situation because the home occupation
usage is currently fives times over the permitted use.

Other information to consider is the nature of home businesses. This one has most of the
business conducted off site. Office space, storage space, customer parking, employee
parking, and traffic generated have to be considered when looking at a home occupation
and its impact on the neighborhood. Also to be considered is the nature of the property
and its location, i.e., the quality of life to be expected on a lot inside a subdivision vs. one
on a main road.

This discussion will be continued at the 02-22-2010 meeting.




PZC –b9b4a7d2-f58a-4cd3-b376-49a9450e0f6c.DOC                                                      Page 7 of 9
NEW BUSINESS:

Election of Officers

Motion: Recommends the following slate of officers: Kreisberg for Chairman, Giglio
for Vice Chairman, and Jobbagy for Secretary.

By:    Pattee                Seconded: Wilmot

All agreed to serve.

For: Unanimous               Against: None         Abstain: None


DECISIONS

MOTION: Move to approve the zoning text amendment application #09-22ZR, dated
September 23, 2009, of the Coventry PZC to delete the provision for sales of motor
vehicles in the Commercial Zone – Section 6.07.02.i for the following reasons:
    To provide for economic development diversity in the Commercial Zone. There
       are currently a sufficient number of licensed motor vehicle operations in Town.
       The Commission also believes that there are adequate additional motor vehicle
       sales operations in the region.
    To provide for the highest and best usage of the Commercially Zoned property
       that will create a high economic development benefit to the community.
       Evidence on the record suggests that there is a substantial difference in tax
       revenue gained from retail/office related uses compared to motor vehicle sales
       uses.
    To provide for uses that create a high degree of job creation. The Commission
       believes that retail/office/ service related uses can better meet the goal when
       compared to motor vehicle sales related uses.

By: Pattee                   Seconded: Wilmot

Motion then amended to reflect an effective date of February 12, 2010.

Motion carried with the following vote:

For: Pattee, Wilmot, Jobbagy, Kreisberg     Against: Pollansky Abstain: None




PZC –b9b4a7d2-f58a-4cd3-b376-49a9450e0f6c.DOC                                            Page 8 of 9
ADJOURNMENT: 9:49 p.m.



Respectfully Submitted,

Yvonne B. Filip

Yvonne B. Filip
PZC Recording Secretary




PLEASE NOTE: These motions are not official until approved by the Planning and
Zoning Commission at the next Commission meeting. Please see the next
Commission meeting minutes for approval or changes to these motions.




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