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Planning Commission Minutes 02/08/2018
FEBRUARY 8, 2018

PRESENT WERE: Harold Thompson, Robert McCarthy and Todd Machnik.  David Roberge, Fire Marshal, and Keith Rosenfeld were also present.


The commission opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.


Todd Machnik made a motion to waive the reading and approve the minutes as submitted.  Robert McCarthy seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.


Phil Parcak, Facilities Manager for the Town of Old Lyme, explained that the proposal will consist of repairing the deck and surface of the bridge over the Mile Creek River including safety improvements and replacement of the deteriorated members and deck.  He noted the project is being engineered by Nathan Jacobsen & Son.   The existing footings, pilings and barring surfaces will be maintained.  It was noted all the necessary approvals have been obtained from the outside reviewing agencies.   Mr. Thompson asked about the timeline for the project.  Mr. Parcak stated the hope is to be done in the 2018/19 budget.  Thompson asked if it would be a prefab deck.  Parcak stated that was the plan and noted the intent is to raise the rails on the side to 54” to maintain some protection for biking while the bridge is not wide enough for a bike lane.  Thompson asked how long the project will take to complete.  He said there is a phasing plan for closing it and doing work in one direction.  He also noted the bridge will be inspected in the near future and depending on the outcome that will further determine the timeline for the project.

Robert McCarthy made a motion to find the proposed project consistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development.  Todd Machnik seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.


Dan Stapleton, from GZA Environmental was present to give the commission a brief overview of the work they did for Old Saybrook and what they could do for the Town of Old Lyme.  

Stapleton stated he is a Civil Engineer and a Geologist.  He works with a firm called GZA which is comprised of about 600 people and has three offices located in Connecticut.  He said they primarily work in the Northeast and Great Lakes.  He said they have a Water Services Group that consists of about 70 people which does a lot of Coastal Resiliency Work.  He said they are presently doing work for several communities in Connecticut ranging in size from Old Saybrook, Stratford to New Haven.   

Stapleton said that coastal resilience will probably be a part of the rest of your lives.  He said that flood hazard is going to increase over time due to sea level rise.  He said they think it will rise another 2 ft. by mid-century and about 4 ft. by the end of the century.   He said sea level rise increases the probability of flooding.   He said the more flooding that occurs it can result in losses to private property and infrastructure.  He noted some of those losses get recouped through assistance, insurance and the national flood insurance program.   He said all these factors can start to erode the tax base which can have a long term negative effect.   He said to mitigate all that you really want to integrate coastal resilience into the town’s plan.  He stated there is an approach on how to do this for municipalities and that approach is about integrating this into a normal planning process, policies, and regulations which will impact decisions you make on infrastructure and how it is designed.   He said this can be done through grants, bonds and taxes.   He said depending on the community and Old Lyme being primarily residential the bulk of that cost will be incurred by the property owners.  

Todd Machnik stated we are all being told that we need to plan for the future but we need someone to help us establish the parameters and a leader to help us through the process in establishing a plan that is recognized through the DEEP and FEMA.  Stapleton said there is a 13 step process and some of the early steps are characterizing hazard and assessment of the communities.  He said you have to think in terms of risk and probability and what are the effects.   He said it is also based on an event that has a one and one hundred chance of any given year of being exceeded.   Therefore towns need to evaluate the risks and future risks to the community with sea level rise and the given projections.     The commission discussed the options of how these issues can be regulated in the community.  

The commission agreed to be back in touch with GZA to set up another meeting/workshop.   
David Roberge, stated he got tasked in 2007 with the Hazard Mitigation Plan working with CRERPA.  He said in the last couple of years there has been some resurgence from different agencies to review/update the plan.   He noted he had met today with a group from UCONN looking to come up with a resiliency plan.  He said they are limited on their timeline so they have been tasked to look at the possibility of a community rating system program with FEMA which is a flood plain insurance fee reduction if the town does certain things and maintains them.  Todd Machnik asked if the outfit that is doing this task is charged with it in the plan’s mission statement.   Roberge stated that task is charged within the plan.   He stated the Community Rating System (CRS) is building the foundation for the next level and being able to take it back to land use and if the town establishes the CRS program and implements some basic items that are identified within the Hazardous Mitigation Plan the town may be able to qualify for anyone that is paying flood insurance to get a 5 percent reduction.  He said we have some of these things already in place such as Everbridge but other items are easily adaptable.   He said as things get in place the reduction could go as high as 45 percent.   Roberge said the spreadsheet in the back of the current plan identifies the tasks and objectives that are recommended to be addressed and it has been broken out by agency.   The commission reviewed the spreadsheet.  


Bob Doane, PE was present to discuss the proposed original division on behalf of the applicant Kathy Clark.   He said the proposal is to divide the 6.1 acre parcel into two lots.  He said the applicant would like to construct a house on the back lot which is approximately 5 acres and share the same driveway that currently access the property.  He noted that he had received approval from the Ledge Light Health District.  Doane stated he has reviewed the letter from Attorney Cassella dated February 8, 2018 and noted he would provide Attorney Cassella the necessary documentation to ensure this property is a first split.   

Harold Thompson made a motion to approve the application as submitted with the following conditions:

  • A final approval shall include resolution of all comments from Attorney Cassella.
  • Verification that this is a first split
  • The MABL requirements are acceptable and shown on the drawing
  • There are two easements that will be established for access to Parcel A and an easement over Parcel B
Todd Machnik seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.


Harold Thompson stated the Planning Commission received a Zoning Referral from the Zoning Commission regarding Aquifer Protection.  He stated he really appreciated the efforts to implement standards that impact the water quality in Old Lyme.  He said after reviewing the documents there are some new sections added that address new definitions.  He also stated in his review he thought it would have been helpful to have a map with the documentation to demonstrate where the zones are and how they interact.  

Keith Rosenfeld stated about two years ago when an application was being reviewed on Shore Road he was asked to look at it through the eyes of the Aquifer Protection Regulation.   He noted at that point there was a Section 17 under Aquifer Protection Regulations which were broken down into two sections.  He said in working with Jane Cable they reviewed the regulations to determine whether they could be utilized in a form that actually reflected what was here in Old Lyme.  He stated the regulations were changed in 2008, and then they were changed again last year.   He said those changes were based on the standard aquifer protection regulations that the state had modeled.  He further noted it was based on Level A (pristine) and Level B (less than pristine) drinking water aquifers.  He stated after a review it was determined that Old Lyme does not have any of the Level A or Level B drinking water aquifers that were mapped statewide protected.  He said as a result of that review the regulations were revised and adopted June 1 2017 and is what they are presently.   He said they re-establish the uses that were in the original regulation and what is recommended by the state.  

Rosenfeld stated the point of aquifer protection as he understood last year was not to protect the wells from source point pollution but to keep that source point pollution from getting into the flow to begin with.   He stated it’s not a protection at the end result it’s a protection to prevent various types of land uses that have had historically waste and different types of products that came out of their processes.  

Todd Machnik questioned the wording a “junk yard truck terminal for more than 10 trucks”.  Keith said these regulations were taken from the original regulations based on the model.  Machnik asked for clarification of the existing and new regulations.   The commission also discussed the water resource overlay zone.   Machnik also questioned the storage of marine fuel which is a lot different than an individual tuning outdoor motors and therefore should not be lumped together.  Machnik stated he was supportive of all the good practices such as above ground sealed tanks but some of the other items like outlawing car washes which are heavily regulated and recycle most of the water are much better for the environment than washing cars in the driveway.  He also noted that dry cleaners no longer use the bad systems that used to be used.  He also noted that film processing is no longer done.

Rosenfeld stated he did not create the 3 revision to the regulation.  The commission stated they would like to discuss the referral with Alan Todd and Nancy Hutchinson during an informal meeting/workshop prior to the next Planning Commission meeting in order to provide an informed response to the Zoning Commission.


This agenda item was tabled.


Todd Machnick made a motion to approve the 2018 meeting calendar.  Robert McCarthy seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.


Todd Machnik made a motion to reinstate the existing slate of officers.   Robert McCarthy seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

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

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