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Planning Commission Minutes 09/14/2017
SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

PRESENT WERE:  Harold Thompson, Chris Kerr, Steven Ross, and Alternate Todd Machnik seated for Robert McCarthy and Alternate Barbara Gaudio seated for Edgar Butcher.  

Chairman Thompson called the meeting to order at 5:00 pm. and commission began with the Pledge of Allegiance.


Selectwomen Reemsnyder presented the municipal referral to the commission under the Connecticut General Statutes Section 8-24..   She explained that the Town of Old Lyme has been asked by three of the Private Beach Associations (Old Lyme Shores, Old Colony Beach, and Miami Beach) to allow them to construct a Pump Station at 72 Portland Ave (aka the Town Parking Lot in Sound View).  A map was distributed to the commission members showing the location of the parcel.   She explained that the pump station will serve the sewers that will be installed within those private beach associations, and will also serve any future systems that may be installed in Sound View and Hawks Nest Beach.   She noted the individual beaches have the funding and the installation has been approved by the CT DEEP.  She further stated that both Hawks Nest and Sound View are still currently under study.   

Reemsnyder also noted that the plan would also include the installation of bathrooms.  These bathrooms would replace the port-o-putty’s that have been used for decades.  

Thompson asked how much more of the town parking spaces would be reduced.  Reemsnyder stated that there would be parking spaces lost but the project that is being discussed is to make a portion of the parking lot into a park.  She noted the spaces would be reduced to 44 spaces.  

Steven Ross stated he felt the proposed location was okay but also noted he was vehemently opposed to sewers in Hawks Nest.  Ross asked if there would be income to the town from leasing the property to the three beach associations.  Reemsnyder stated the lease does include an income that will be limited to a 20 year period.  Ross asked who pays for the construction of the pump station.  Reemsnyder stated within the lease the pump house would be constructed by the three beach associations but should the town also utilize the station they would be responsible for their portion.  
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Todd Machnik stated getting rid of port-o-potty’s is pretty expensive.  He said you can do a whole bunch of other stuff besides build a pump station just to get rid of six port-o-potty.  Machnik stated he would like to see a preliminary plan that shows the routing of the pipes because he questions the ability to be able to make all the sewer pipes run north and south down all the feeder roads and then probably go to a collector line that runs parallel to the beach east/west and have all that go to Sound View parking lot and then pump back Hartford Avenue and then finally toward New London.   He expressed concern that one pump station may not be adequate.  

Reemsnyder stated there are two different engineering firms working on this project.  One firm is retained by the town and the other firm is retained by the individual beach associations.  She noted both firms have come to the conclusion that is a good location and can be done.  Machnik asked if he could see a plan or some calculations that either firm used to come to this conclusion.  Reemsnyder stated she would ask the engineering firms for the information.  

Ross asked if the proposed pump station would be elevated in case of flooding.  Reemsnyder stated it would be constructed to flood standards.  She further stated the generator for the station would be elevated in the bathroom structure.

Steven Ross made a motion to give a favorable response to the municipal referral for the leasing of the town parking lot for a pump station.  Chris Kerr seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.   

Machnik again expressed concern that one pump station would be adequate.


Joe Wren, P.E. Indigo Land Design representing the applicant, Hope Partnership, Inc.   Wren noted that Graybill Properties, LLC is the owner of the property.  Wren stated the applicant is proposing a 4-lot subdivision on approximately 12 acres.  He noted that no lot development is proposed at this time.  He stated schematic houses, driveways, well and septic areas are shown on the plan.  Wren reviewed the plan with the commission as well as the access to the 4 parcels.   He noted there is a pocket of wetlands on the site right off of Neck Road as well as a strip of wetlands along the Connecticut River.  He noted the wetlands have been flagged by Richard Snarski.   Wren also noted the Inland Wetlands Commission issued a finding of no jurisdiction on the proposed subdivision.   Wren stated the application was submitted to the Ledge Light Health District for their review.   A copy of their approval letter dated September 14, 2017 from George Caulkins was submitted for the commission to review.   Wren also reviewed the Zoning Data Table with the commission.  

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Wren also submitted a waiver request dated September 13, 2017 asking for an exemption from Subdivision Regulations 5.9 “Open Space” per Subdivision Regulation Section 5.9.10  “Exemptions.”  He stated the two proposed lots (Lots #1 and #2) will be retained by Hope Partnership, Inc.  Lots #1 and #2 (6.67 acres combined) comprise approximately 54.2% of the total land area of the subdivision.  He stated based on Section 5.9.10 of the Old Lyme Subdivision Regulations, the Commission may consider an exemption of the open space requirements.  He also noted there is currently no existing open space land abutting the subject property.  

Todd Machnik asked if the state highway department would get involved when the project is developed.   He further expressed concern about the additional traffic with the existing traffic off of I-95.   Wren stated once he begins the development portion of the project he would be working with the State Department of Transportation and a full traffic analysis would be prepared at that time.   He also suggested a stop sign be installed at the end of the Exit 70 off ramp.  Machnik stated he did not support that and felt it would back the traffic up all the way to Old Saybrook.   

Ross asked Wren to review the open space waiver request.  Wren stated the owner of the property, Graybill Properties is under contract with Hope Partnership, Inc. to purchase two lots from Graybill.   Ross asked what type of entity is Hope Partnership.  Wren stated Hope Partnership is attainable housing.   Wren stated the Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development lists this as something that is needed in the town.   Ross stated that the future of what will be on those two lots is too unknown to this point to approve the waiver without a condition.  Ross stated he would like any approval to have a condition that if attainable housing is not built then the issue of open space must be revisited.  

Steven Ross made a motion to approve the subdivision contingent upon legal review and that the open space waiver be granted contingent upon further review if the 20 percent requirement for attainable housing is not met.  Chris Kerr seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.


Todd Machnik made a motion to grant the 90 day extension.  Steven Ross seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.


The Planning Commission reviewed the Zoning Commission Record of Vote for September 11, 2017 and the Zoning Board of Appeals Regular Meeting Minutes of July 18, 2017 where both commissions discussed the proposed changes to the Plan of Conservation and Development.  
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Thompson reported that he has spoken with Torrance Downs of the Lower Connecticut River Valley and asked him to provide height requirements for all the area shoreline towns.  

The commission discussed filing a Petition for Amendment of the Old Lyme Zoning Regulations.  to the Zoning Commission.    

Machnik agreed to work with Keith Rosenfeld to draft a proposed regulation.  

Steven Ross made a motion to retain an attorney to draft the amendment.  Barbara Gaudio seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.

The commission discussed the proposed project at 85 Halls Road with regard to the POCD.  Thompson stated it talks about Halls Road being the principal commercial area in Old Lyme and intended to meet the basic retail and service needs of area residents.   Thompson stated there are no signs on Interstate 95 or Shore Road that these services are available.   

Rosenfeld stated the Zoning Commission has not closed the public hearing and voted on the application.  He further stated there is a Big Y in that same area that sells all the items that could be purchased at the convenience store.  Keith Rosenfeld stated he felt the prior use of a service station was for town residents which was consistent with the POCD and he felt the applicant CDP energy which has 200 service stations in the northeast wants to take advantage of the I 95 traffic.

Chris Kerr asked what hours were proposed for the store.  Rosenfeld indicated it would not be open 24 hours.  Kerr stated that it might be helpful to be able to get gas or coffee in town after 9 p.m.   Rosenfeld stated that the tire store has evolved into a convenience store over the years and he does not believe that is the evolution that the POCD as it states for him.  

Todd Machnik stated that the business model of a service center like that is pretty much non-existent anymore.   He stated a company needs to evolve.  He said in today’s society pretty much everywhere you go you can get gas, go to the restroom and get a coffee and keep on going.

Rosenfeld stated that he did not feel their scope of business and how they would like to proceed was consistent with the POCD.  

The commission felt it was our commercial district and currently there were only three gas stations spread out throughout the town.  Thompson asked why a new traffic study was done.  Rosenfeld stated the traffic study was initiated by the Chair of the Zoning Commission in order to confirm or not confirm the results of the traffic engineering report done by the applicant.   He stated this report could help improve the plan submitted by the applicant.  

Todd Machnik stated he agreed with the statement in the POCD but felt it was being misinterpreted.  Ross stated it was not intended to be exclusive to residents.  

Thompson stated the POCD is a guideline and subject to interpretation as is everything we write.

Rosenfeld agreed to assist the commission with both the amendment and changes to the POCD.  


Harold Thompson made a motion to waive the reading and approve the minutes as submitted.
Chris Kerr seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.

52 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371  (860) 434-1605

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