Town of Old Lyme, CT
52 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371
ph: (860) 434-1605
Zoning Commission Regular Minutes 07/11/05

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission held a Regular Meeting on Monday, July 11, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of Memorial Town Hall.  Members present were Ted Kiritsis (Chairman), Jane Marsh (Secretary, 7:42 p.m.), Tom Risom (Member), Eric Fries (Vice Chairman, 7:38 p.m.), Joan Bozek (Member), Steven Ames (Alternate), John Johnson (Alternate, 7:38 p.m.) and Howard Tooker (Alternate).   Also present was Ann Brown, Zoning Enforcement Officer.

1.      Convene Meeting; announcement of voting alternates.

Chairman Kiritsis called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  He immediately recessed the Regular Meeting to conduct the Public Hearing.  The Regular Meeting reconvened at 9:40 p.m.

2.      Site Plan/Special Exception Application to construct multi-family housing, 49 Hatchetts Hill Road, Hilltop Development LLC, applicant.

Mr. Fries stated that he was not present for the Public Hearing and is not eligible to vote.  Mr. Ames was seated as a voting member.  

Mr. Risom questioned whether it will be possible to work out a declaration in the association documents.  Ms. Marsh stated that everyone needs a public offering statement when they purchase a unit and they are asking that the person making that public offering statement alert potential buyers that the property is in an industrial zone.  Mr. Risom stated that he is in favor of requiring this statement and would like to see the Commission’s attorney review the wording.  Mr. Risom stated that the applicant has already agreed that maintenance of the vortronic system would be in the homeowner association purview because otherwise it would fall under the WPCA and there is no plan to have it escrowed.

Ms. Marsh stated that although she has not read Mr. DiLoretto’s letter, it seems to her that he is requesting more than a statement in the public offering.  Mr. Risom stated that if this is the case he is not prepared to vote this evening as he would like time to review Mr. DiLoretto’s letters.  Ms. Marsh stated that Mr. DiLoretto’s letter requests this type of statement and goes on to say “In approving the Site Plan/Special Exception to construct multi-family housing for Hilltop Development LLC, the Zoning Commission has made expressed findings that future development on adjacent Industrial Zone parcels that satisfy the general bulk requirements of the Zoning Regulations, shall enjoy a presumption that the general standards set forth in Section 31.3 of the Zoning Regulations have been satisfied.”  Ms. Marsh stated that this statement would be telling potential homeowners that something has been done by the Commission that has not been done.  She indicated that it is making a statement for the benefit of a future applicant who’s made no application and she does not believe this can be done.

Ms. Marsh stated that the Commission should have Attorney Branse review Mr. DiLoretto’s request and determine whether he could support and part of it.  

The Commission agreed to defer a decision in this matter and request Attorney Branse to review the language for the public offering statement.

3.      Site Plan/Special Exception Application to construct a 6’ fence in the street setback, 110 Shore Road, Kevin Braza, applicant.

Chairman Kiritisis opened the Public Hearing for this item.  The applicant was not present to explain his application.  No one present spoke in favor or against the application.  

A motion was made by Jane Marsh, seconded by Tom Risom and voted unanimously to close this Public Hearing.

A motion was made by Eric Fries, seconded by Howard Tooker and voted to deny without prejudice the Site Plan/Special Exception Application to construct a 6’ fence in the street setback, 110 Shore Road, Kevin Braza, applicant, and to encourage him to reapply, waiving the application fee; so voted 4:1, with Ms. Marsh voting against.

Mr. Fries stated that the reason for denial is that the applicant has not been present to explain his application and there are questions that have not been answered.

4.      Site Plan/Special Exception Modification Application to create second floor offices at 458 Shore Road, M. Brett Painting, applicant.

Mr. Fries stated that he is concerned with the state of Zoning Compliance on the property at the current time.  He indicated that it may not be directly germane to the application, however, any time an application is before the Commission, Zoning Compliance is a valid issue.  Mr. Fries stated that it appears that the applicant could be a better neighbor with respect to trespass lighting and screening.  He noted that he would like to discuss Zoning Compliance before they get into the new issues.  Mr. Risom recommended that the Commission approve the Site Plan/Special Exception Application that was heard this evening, giving the waiver to not pave the additional parking.  He noted that at the same time the project should be reviewed for complete compliance, which Attorney Bennett indicated the applicant is willing to do.  

Ms. Brown stated that in consultation with the owner and the closest neighbor, there were some modifications to the landscaping with her knowledge.  She indicated that Mr. Fallon appeared to be satisfied with these changes.  Ms. Brown stated that the dumpster was screened and these items may not be on the site plan.  Mr. Risom stated that these minor changes are satisfactory.

Ms. Marsh stated that there is the potential for additional employees if the office space is expanded.  Chairman Kiritsis noted that that is a concern of the neighbors, the use and intensity appears to be creeping.  Mr. Risom stated that this is called progress, as long as it is in check.  Ms. Marsh stated that it will be quite different if there are going to be additional employees.  Mr. Fries stated that anyone that has a use has the right to increase that use up to a certain point under the Zoning Regulations.  Ms. Marsh questioned whether there are any more protections, such as screening, that the Commission would like to impose.  

Mr. Tooker questioned whether the new Statement of Use gives hours of operation for the record.  Ms. Marsh read the Statement of Use for the record, which did not provide office hours.  Ms. Brown noted that the first Statement of Use did not indicate hours of operation either.  Mr. Risom noted that there is no change in the Statement of Use for the site.  Ms. Marsh noted that it does not appear that the offices are being removed from the existing house, only expanded into the storage building.  Ms. Marsh stated that she has concerns with the additional office space because it can accommodate many more people in the future and there should be protections for the neighbors.

Chairman Kiritsis noted that everyone would be voting with the exception of Mr. Ames.  

Mr. Tooker stated that he is concerned with the hours of operation.  He stated that the person across the street will see the lights inside the second floor of the building.  Mr. Tooker questioned whether they could limit the hours of operation.  Mr. Risom stated that this business is in a commercial zone and the applicant should be able to operate the business and the fact that there are houses in the commercial zone should not be an encumbrance on the provided purpose for that zone.  Ms. Marsh stated that every use has to be a good neighbor to other uses.

Mr. Fries stated that he is concerned that the use of the building could have changed without the Commission seeing it.  Ms. Brown noted that if they had not requested a waiver on constructing the parking it very well may not have come to the Commission because there are little to no site changes.  Mr. Fries stated that the original site plan showed an uninhabited building with no plumbing or floor drains.  He indicated that in the future, if something like this is so drastically changed, he would like to see a site plan modification application.  Ms. Marsh stated questioned what other things the Commission would like to see, such as buffering.

Mr. Fries stated that he would suggest deferring a vote on this matter and asking the ZEO to give technical assistance in buffering this site from the neighbors.  He indicated that he would also like a site visit and a report back on compliance to the site plan.  Mr. Fries stated that the Commission may want to consider requiring some of the paving to be removed.  

A motion was made by Eric Fries, seconded by Tom Risom and voted unanimously to defer the vote on this matter and to ask that Ms. Brown visit the site and report back to the Commission as to the issues of compliance with the approved site plan.

Ms. Marsh stated that she would also like clarification on the addition of the three doors, as she thought the Fire Marshal reviewed the application as part of the regular referral process.  Mr. Fries questioned whether Zoning Compliance was issued for the site.  Ms. Brown replied that she thinks so, but is not sure.  Mr. Fries stated that he would like to know at the next meeting.  He also questioned why there was no as-built.  Mr. Tooker stated that he thought Mr. Metcalf had comments on floor and roof drains.  He asked Ms. Brown to also provide information on this.  Ms. Marsh stated that it was a condition of approval that the one wall be intentional blank and she is concerned that the three doors were added without Commission approval.  She stated that there are homeowners that don’t think Zoning is doing their job and this is a concern to her.

5.      Proposed amendment to Old Lyme Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map to create a new district, Sound View Village District.

Mr. Risom questioned the changes provided today.  Ms. Brown stated that these changes are the ones proposed by Mr. Kiritsis and the ones that Attorney Branse felt were appropriate.  She noted that the bracketed areas are to be removed and the underlined words to be put in.  Ms. Brown noted that these are small changes that do not change the intent.

Chairman Kiritsis stated that the voting members would be Tom Risom, Jane Marsh, Eric Fries and himself.  The Commission agreed that they would defer voting this evening on this matter because they would like time to review the changes.  Mr. Risom stated that even though the proposed amendment does not include every change that every person would like, it is providing a foundation for the future of the area.  He stated that there is similar work to be done for the surrounding R-10 area to lessen the burden on the Zoning Board of Appeals.  

Mr. Fries stated that he agrees with Mr. Risom’s comment that this amendment provides a foundation for change.  He indicated that the comments received from Heidi and Claude have been noted.  Mr. Fries stated that those comments could be addressed in the next phase and suggested that those people could be involved in it.  He noted that he is concerned that the way it is written at this time requires every application to go before an architectural reviewer.  Mr. Fries stated that it is noted that the applicant would have to bear the cost of that.  He indicated that he is wondering whether there is a bottom threshold that has to be met before this step is required.  Mr. Fries stated that he is concerned that it may be onerous for very small changes, especially for the residential properties in the Sound View Design District.  Chairman Kiritsis questioned whether this could be by the discretion of the Zoning Commission when the plan is submitted.  Mr. Fries stated that he is not sure whether this would be possible under State Statute and Attorney Branse is on vacation for the next two weeks.  Mr. Fries stated that for this reason he would like to defer voting until the next meeting.

Ms. Marsh stated that she is appalled by the proposal, and the reason is because the people who primarily own the land in the district do not like the Regulation.  She stated that there are huge issues such as year-round versus seasonal.  Ms. Marsh stated that there are two competing views for Sound View, one is to spruce the place up and the other is a hole new year-round commercial area.  She stated the Regulations call for mixed uses and if there is a year round commercial use there cannot be seasonal residential uses because they cannot share the same septic system.  Ms. Marsh questioned what they are trying to accomplish.  She questioned how this can be a viable year-round area for commercial when there is very little year round residential.  She pointed out that South Shore Landing sits virtually vacant.  Ms. Marsh stated that that area of Town gets very quiet in the winter.  She stated that this Regulation may make things worse because there are issues that are not dealt with.  Ms. Marsh stated that the DEP comments were negative and are exactly the reasons the Commission is not looking at year-round for the entire beach area.

Mr. Fries stated that this proposed Regulation is a start.  He noted that the issue is that six months from now the Regulation can be amended to make it better.  Mr. Fries stated that people who have an interest can chart their own course and bring it to the Commission.  Ms. Marsh stated that the basic difficulty has not been addressed.  She stated that septic problems and parking are not a problem on Halls Road.  She indicated that these items need to be addressed.  Ms. Marsh stated that this is not a consensus document.

Mr. Fries stated that there are too many variables involved.  He noted that the parking committee and the Board of Selectmen are still involved and trying to resolve the parking issues on Hartford Avenue.  He noted that the Board of Selectmen has supported this proposed amendment.

Ms. Marsh stated that she read the Havilland Report, which is what got this proposal moving forward, and she does not agree with it.  She indicated that it spoke of art-related things.  Ms. Marsh stated that one cannot create a commercial district by stating this is a commercial district and everyone must come.  Ms. Marsh stated that she believes this document may have a totally unintended impact.  She stated that she was looking for a way to get the property owners in Sound View to enhance the area and make a renewed Sound View.  Mr. Fries stated that Ms. Marsh made a comment at one meeting “we want it to be nicer, but we still want it to be Sound View.”  Mr. Fries stated that in response to that, some of the things property owners have in mind might not be “Sound View.”  Mr. Fries stated that this document is a step toward revitalization.  He noted that the biggest issues are the lot coverage, the square issues and the parking issues.  Mr. Risom noted that it is not economically feasible to build a community septic system for these properties.  Mr. Risom agreed that the dreams are there but the implementation is not practical.  He noted that when there is a community system, one cannot mix residential and commercial.  Mr. Fries stated that the best thing may be to have Attorney Branse at the next meeting.  Ms. Marsh pointed out that Attorney Branse does not make policy decisions for the Commission.  Mr. Risom stated that he would like to see a pseudo-applicant run the process.  He stated that in this way one could see the roadblocks.  

Ms. Marsh stated that the Town could purchase the Italian American facility and make a new parking lot.  She noted that that would indicate will to change the situation.  Ms. Marsh stated that to adopt Regulations such as these seems almost contradictory to her.  She questioned whether this Regulation is to appease people.

Chairman Kiritsis suggested conducting a Special Meeting on Monday, July 25, 2005 to further discuss this item in lieu of a Regulation Rewrite Meeting.  The Commission members agreed.

Mr. Risom stated that a community septic system could be installed under a new Town parking lot, such as the Italian American parcel, that could service the entire Sound View area.  Mr. Sibley stated that inviting Linda Krause to this Special Meeting may be helpful to the Commission.  Mr. Risom indicated that he thinks technical input would be helpful, such as some one from Nathan Jacobsen.  Mr. Sibley stated that the Steering Committee felt that the septic issues would be dealt with by the Health Department and was not really a concern of Zoning.  

6.      Receipt of Site Plan/Special Exception Application to construct an office building at 4 Huntley Road, Questa Builders, applicant.

Tony Hendriks, representing Questa Builders, was present to explain the application.  He noted that this building will contain offices and a kitchen showroom.  Mr. Hendriks stated that this is located behind the Shell Station on Halls Road.  He indicated that the application is presently before the Wetlands Commission and requested that a Public Hearing be scheduled for September 12, 2005.  He indicated that Mr. Gianotti would like to have professional office space for his business, along with a showroom for the kitchen specialty portion of his business.  Mr. Fries stated that the site plan should reflect that part of the zone is C-30S.

The Commission received this application and set the Public Hearing for the September Regular Meeting.

7.      George James, preliminary discussion of modifications of the PRCD regulations.

No action taken.  Chairman Kiritsis noted that this item would be carried to the August Regular Meeting.

8.      Zoning Enforcement – Zoning Enforcement Report.

Ms. Brown distributed the enforcement report.  Mr. Risom suggested that Ms. Brown visit the site of Ronald Swaney where he was to construct a large building and determine the status of site plan compliance.

9.      Regulation Rewrite – Set Special Meeting

No Regulation Rewrite Meeting is scheduled for July.  There will be a Special Meeting on July 25, 2005 to consider the Proposed Amendment to the Zoning Regulations and Map to create a new district, Sound View Design District, this being the only business at that meeting.

10.     Correspondence


11.     Any new or old business to come before Commission.


12.     Miscellaneous/Adjourn

The meeting adjourned at 11:25 p.m. on a motion by Eric Fries and seconded by Tom Risom.  So voted unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan J. Bartlett
Recording Secretary