Old Lyme Board of Selectmen
Special Meeting April 29, 2003
The Board of Selectmen held a special meeting at 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 at Memorial Town Hall Auditorium. Those present were First Selectman Timothy Griswold, Selectman Tom Bice, Selectman Skip Sibley, Sanitarian Officer Ron Rose, ZEO Ann Brown, Fire Marshal Phil Bliss, and Larrye DeBeare.
1. Sound View Design District – Public Hearing and Informational Session
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Sound View Design District. This serves as an informational meeting as well as a public hearing.
Selectman Bice referred to the document Sound View Design District dated April 21, 2003. He said this is a culmination of the products of the Hartford Avenue Revitalization Task Force that is now defunct. The document is to be written so that it can be formally presented to the Zoning Commission with the request that they establish a new zoning district in town that would accommodate the changes mentioned in the document. Also, revisions would be submitted based on the discussion at this meeting and private discussions by the Board of Selectmen. The Task Force understood it was to present recommendations to Board of Selectmen that would inform the Zoning Commission. Selectman Bice requested advice and candid comments from those in attendance regarding permit granting, zoning, and codes.
Town Sanitarian Ron Rose commented that the Sound View area needs zoning changes to encourage new business. He further commented that he has to follow State regulations regarding septic changes. Selectman Bice replied that one of the purposes of the Sound View Development District is to make the area more attractive to investors who will provide the kind of structures that will be of interest and use to the townspeople.
Zoning Enforcement Officer Ann Brown stated that the guidelines need to be clearer regarding the style of building that could be regulated by facade materials and bulk requirements.
Fire Marshal Phil Bliss stated the proposed plan is interesting and worthwhile but needs influential people in the area to have a part in creating the atmosphere that is hoped will be the results from the efforts of the plan.
First Selectman Griswold stated that Gail Fuller of the Sound View Beach Association inquired about the use of the town alleys which are directly behind these zones to mitigate septic problems. Sanitarian Ron Rose replied that there could be an office on the second floor for up to five people and a bingo room to accommodate approximately 100 people on the first floor using an upgraded septic system with the current property boundary. There is no way to have an apartment on the second floor because there is not enough area to put in the required septic system. Year-round use of an apartment on the second floor calls for 375 ft. of leaching fields and there is not enough land for it.
First Selectman Griswold asked what is the town’s position on the use of an alley to enable residential property to become year round since the alley could provide extra space for the septic. Ron Rose responded that it must meet the zoning lot size. Ron Rose answered yes to Ann Brown’s question about recommending that any lot that could find septic area enough for a year-round septic system should be allowed year-round use from Zoning. The area for the septic must be on individual properties unless there is an exception. The State would give a right-of-way use of the alley area as if it was owned by individual landowners.
Larrye DeBeare stated that the whole concept in creating the Sound View District is to control development within that district. The houses on Swan Ave and Portland Ave, which are on the other side of the alley, are not part of the district. The town could draw the district lines in the middle of the alleyways or the district lines could be drawn on either side of the alleyways. Zoning will have to make the decision. Selectman Bice stated the Board of Selectmen should be proposing a decision.
First Selectman Griswold stated that the purpose of the alleyways was for garbage trucks to pick up trash. There is a water line down alley #1 between Swan Ave and Hartford Ave. They also serve as access to the rear of the properties.
Larrye DeBeare added there are two factors to be considered. One is the Emporium property. The owners want the option of an apartment on the second floor. The concept of the owners of the Arcade property was to use the first floor as commercial and apartments above for renting out on a year-round basis. These are mixed use instances that cause problems for the Sanitarian.
Selectman Bice asked what should be done now to get answers to possible future communal systems or alternative systems? Sanitarian Ron Rose answered that perk testing could be done by the town crew.
Larrye DeBeare stated that from an economic standpoint, if the town lets this opportunity pass without refurbishing Sound View, it will be years before any developer will invest in Sound View. In the proposal for the Sound View Design District, the Zoning Commission is being asked to establish the district. Whatever takes place in that district will have to comply with health and safety codes. The Zoning Commission should provide a framework within which development can take place. Within that framework, the Sanitarian would be able to say what can and cannot be done in the areas of septic, and water pollution control. One of the issues that Economic Development felt strongly about in proposing this district was that, when establishing the framework, do not put in so many requirements that
the Zoning Commission is denied the authority
to be flexible on how they approach individual projects. The current means of regulating liquor licenses is inappropriate. The thought is to avoid bars and encourage sit down restaurants.
Ann Brown said that Linda Krause had previously spoken with her and First Selectman Griswold regarding changing the flood zone regulations. She feels the Zoning Commission needs to think through what that regulation does for the town and what problems it creates and is there a way to fine tune the regulation.
Selectman Bice suggested an advisory committee be formed. A list of names will be recommended at the next meeting.
A motion was made by Selectman Bice and seconded by Selectman Sibley to adjourn the meeting at 6:05 P.M.
Eileen Coffee, Clerk