OLD LYME PLANNING COMMISSION
PUBLIC HEARING AND REGULAR MEETING
OCTOBER 12, 2017
PRESENT WERE: Harold Thompson, Steven Ross, Alternate Todd Machnik seated for Chris Kerr, Alternate Don Willis seated for Edgar Butcher.
The commission opened their meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE OLD LYME’S PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT, SECTION CRITICAL ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES, NEW SUB-SECTION – SHORELINE EROSION AND SEA LEVEL RISE.
Chairman Thompson opened the public hearing at 5:00 P.M. He noted each commission member has received and reviewed a copy of the Exhibit Items listed below.
Exhibit A Letter from the Planning Commission to Referral Agencies dated July 17, 2017
Exhibit B Legal Notice Published twice in the New London Day dated September 28, 2017 and October 5, 2017.
Exhibit C Record of Vote – Old Lyme Zoning Commission dated September 11, 2017.
Exhibit D Letter from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission dated October 2, 2017 J.H. Torrance Downes.
Exhibit E Old Lyme Zoning Commission Regular Meeting Minutes dated September 11, 2017
Exhibit F Letter from Judy McQuade, Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals undated received by email October 8, 2017.
Exhibit G Letter from Department of Energy and Environmental Protection dated October 4, 2017 Signed by Karen A. Michaels, Environmental Analyast III.
Exhibit H Email letter from Peter Cable on October 11, 2017.
Exhibit I Letter from Keith Rosenfeld dated October 12, 2017
Todd Machnick made a motion to close the public hearing. Don Willis seconded the motion.
Steven Ross stated based on the information the commission received it appears that the opposition to elevating structures is minimal compared to the opposition for fortifying beaches and building seawalls. Ross suggested a possible change in the wording might be helpful. He further stated this commission worded the modification the way it felt it should be and he is not disputing that it is was it should be but didn’t feel it would be approved in its current form.
Ross stated he feels this commission is tending to see opposition from zoning for everything it states. Machnik asked if the commission felt changing the wording would improve the situation.
Ross further stated some members will never change their minds but perhaps some changes might help gain some support.
Todd Machnik stated he did not agree with the attitude that it was of waste of time and money to protect your property and did not feel it was right to expect people to just abandon ship. Ross stated those opinions will probably never change but stated others might be willing to get on board and support the change with some alterations to the wording.
The commission discussed removing the entire section with regard to shoreline erosion and sea level rise.
Ross stated based on the height information the commission received from Torrance Downes, of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Regional Planning Committee regarding maximum stories and heights for 16 Connecticut
Shoreline Towns which shows that Old Lyme has the lowest height allowance in the shoreline all the way down to Greenwich.
Attorney Cassella stated the wording states “the town should seek opportunities to increase and fortify beaches, dunes and tidal wetlands. He stated it doesn’t say build sea walls. He said people have jumped for that and all it states is to seek opportunities to do that where appropriate. He stated this is DEP’s position – “it should be recognized that sea level rise and storm hazards may cause some coastal properties to become unsuitable for their current uses, and that it may become increasingly challenging to maintain existing patterns of development and land use as coastal conditions change”.
Attorney Cassella stated that the reason this commission is taking on this exercise is because you feel if we start planning for this now maybe down the line we don’t have to just give in. He further stated in 50 to 100 years a lot can be accomplished.
Steven Ross stated he felt the word “fortify” is something that is triggering adverse reaction. He said applicable as it may be and as much as this commission supports it they need to determine if the document is fine or needs to be amended. Attorney Cassella stated he felt it should be left because it accurately depicts the position of the commission. Thompson also noted that the wording was also picked up by the DEEP.
Machnik stated we are not telling property owners anything they have to do but are making it possible for someone to do it if they so choose. Machnik stated he did not feel the change of a word would make a difference in the opinions shared by others.
Cassella stated the word fortify could mean planting dune grass or vegetating a slope. Ross stated that planting flowers will not protect anything in a storm.
The motion passed unanimously to close the public hearing.
Commission members Robert McCarthy and Edgar Butcher joined the meeting.
DECISION – REVISED MODIFICAITONS TO THE PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Steven Ross made a motion to approve the modifications to the Plan of Conservation and Development as written. Todd Machnik seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
READING AND APPROVAL OF THE SEPTEMBER MEETING MINUTES
Steven Ross made a motion to waive the reading and approve the minutes as submitted. Todd Machnik seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.