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Zoning Commission Minutes Public Hearing 05/09/2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission held a Public Hearing on Monday, May 9, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of Memorial Town Hall.  Those present and voting were:  Jane Cable, Chairman, John Johnson, Vice Chairman, Jane Marsh, Secretary, Alan Todd, Gil Soucie, Paul Orzel (Alternate) and Stacy Winchell, (Alternate).

Also present:  Keith Rosenfeld, Land Use Coordinator

1.      Special Permit Application seeking the expansion of a parking lot under         Sections 13.A and 13.B of the Zoning Regulations on property located at 83      Hartford Avenue, The Sugar Shack, Keith Grills, owner/applicant.

Chairman Cable noted that this application

Leonard Corto, operator of the Sugar Shack, stated that he would like to address the concerns of the Commission and Town Engineer expressed at the last meeting.  He distributed a new set of plans and noted that the driveway and access from Hartford Avenue was removed.  Mr. Corto stated that this aligns with the overall plan for Sound View.  He noted that the handicap spaces are now shown as paved, not asphalt.  Mr. Corto stated that cars can enter through the Town lot and enter through Alley #2 and enter or exit through the north side.  He noted that two parking spaces were moved to allow access through Alley #2; the spots were moved to the area that was previously the driveway.  Mr. Corto stated that the picnic area has been enhanced.  He stated that they feel this is a good plan.  He noted that there will be spaces for employees and spaces for customers and will be noted such with signage.  

Mr. Corto stated that the restaurant typically closes at 7:00 and opens at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m.  He noted that they would block access to the lot during off hours.  It was questioned whether any of the spots would be sold for a fee.  Mr. Corto stated that they do not as they do not have a permit for a parking lot.  Ms. Marsh pointed out that the Town could block off their parking lot at any time and restrict access to their property.  Ms. Marsh stated that there is not guaranteed access in and out.  Mr. Corto stated that if they could not have access through the Town lot they would have to be given access off Hartford Avenue.  He stated that he feels this scenario is safer for the residents.

Chairman Cable questioned the existing number of spots.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that there are currently seven parking spaces.  Chairman Cable noted that the proposal raises it to 16 parking spaces.

It was questioned whether the parking of patrons would be monitored.  Mr. Corto stated that they would post signage that indicates that the parking lot closes at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.  Chairman Cable questioned whether there was testimony last month that the lot would have an attendant.  Mr. Corto stated that they plan to have an attendant monitoring those that come in and out.  He indicated that the patrons would be allowed to park for the remainder of the day.  Mr. Corto stated that when someone comes to the beach for the day they may visit the shack several times during the course of the day for water and food.

Mr. Johnson stated that it may be better to have patrons enter and exit through the Town lot.  Mr. Corto stated that they would accept that as a condition of approval.  

Mr. Todd questioned whether the plans were discussed with the abutters.  Mr. Leonard stated that the two abutting properties are owned by the same person who just came back from Florida.  

Mr. Rosenfeld stated that the restaurant is a walk-up take-out restaurants and allowing this parking increases the scale of the property.

Mr. Corto stated that they are trying to keep their business viable with the loss of parking spaces in Sound View.  He stated that the additional spots will not change the dynamics of the property and will not change how they do business.  

Chairman Cable questioned whether the lot would have lighting.  Mr. Corto stated that because they are not open at night they did not plan to have lighting.  He indicated that the lot would be chained when they are not open.

Bonnie Reemsnyder stated that the alleyway cannot be blocked because it is for the use of emergency vehicles.  She stated that she is concerned about the plan.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that she feels paid parking is a hardship for employees but she is concerned that this will be another paid parking lot.  She noted that customers will not be there for nine hours.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that many businesses charge for parking in their lots without a permit for a parking lot, which is allowed as the Town cannot tell them they cannot charge their customers to park.  She noted that the entrance to the Town lot is closed when the lot fills.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that she feels this is additional beach parking.  

Mr. Corto stated that when the Town lot closes there is still access to exit.  He noted that this parking lot will not impact pedestrians.  Chairman Cable questioned the number of employee parking spots; Mr. Corto stated that there will be six or seven.

Hearing no additional comments, Chairman Cable asked for a motion to adjourn.

A motion was made by John Johnson, seconded by Jane Marsh and voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing on the expansion of a parking lot under Sections 13.A and 13.B of the Zoning Regulations on property located at 83 Hartford Avenue.  

2.      Special Permit Application and Municipal Coastal Site Plan Review       Application for construction of a 40’ x 60’ garage to store and repair paving       equipment, also an office and bathroom will be in the garage as well on         property located at 224 Shore Road, J. Robert Pfanner, applicant, Peter         Lodi, Sr., owner.  

Mr. Rosenfeld read a letter from J. Robert Pfanner representing the applicant and owner requesting that the Public Hearing be continued to June.

A motion was made by John Johnson, seconded by Jane Marsh to and voted unanimously to continue the Public Hearing to the June 13, 2016 Regular Meeting per the request from the applicant for construction of a 40’ x 60’ garage to store and repair paving equipment, and an office and bathroom on property located at 224 Shore Road.

Ms. Marsh read the legal notice for the next two Public Hearings as published in the New London Day on Tuesday April 26, and Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

3.      Special Permit Application for construction of an expanded boathouse at Hains Park under Section 5.53 of the Zoning Regulations, which will be approximately 96’ x 66’ to store equipment for the Region 18 high school and community recreational rowing programs on property located at 166 Boston Post Road, Town of Old Lyme applicant.

Ms. Marsh read the exhibit list for the record; she read exhibits F and G for the record.  Paul Gianquinto and Paul Fuchs, co-chairs of the Hains Park Commission and Bonnie Reemsnyder, First Selectman, were present to explain the application.  Mr. Gianquinto stated that the plan is to increase the storage for the equipment they own and would like to own.  He stated that he does not feel the use of the boathouse will change.  He explained that the school district owns and insures all of the equipment.  Mr. Gianquinto stated that there will be an agreement of how it will be run between the school district, the rowing association and the Town, but it will remain as it is currently.  He explained that they would potentially be able to store 50 boats inside the building.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that as she understands it will allow flexibility of the program, i.e., one, two and three-man boats.  She noted that this does not necessarily mean more people, just more flexibility.  Ms. Reemsnyder noted that they will not be adding a bathroom.  Mr. Fuchs stated that the previous proposal which had a second floor had men’s and women’s bathrooms and changing rooms.  He explained that when they learned it had to meet school codes, they found that because it was two-story they would need to put in a sprinkler system and an elevator.  Mr. Fuchs stated that they reduced the size from 7900 square feet to 6050 square feet.  He noted that they received a code variance that let them not build bathrooms as long as they did not have plumbing.  He noted that the footprint of the building has increased but the overall square footage has been reduced.  Mr. Fuchs stated that the septic work has also been eliminated due to the fact they will not have plumbing.  

It was noted that erosion control measures are detailed on the site plan, addressing a comment of Mr. Rosenfeld. Mr. Fuchs stated that the existing footings, foundation and slab will remain, but the remainder of the building will be demolished.  He noted that they will be excavating a little between the building and the Post Road and the building and Town Woods Road.  

Mr. Fuchs stated that there are approximately 20 adults that row in the spring, plus the high school team.  He noted that they share the facility with Valley that has 25 girls and Old Saybrook has 15 to 20 boys and girls; he noted that 160 kids were served over the summer last year and the fall program has approximately 70 kids.  He noted that when the schools use the facility the students are brought by bus and dropped off, the bus leaves and returns to pick them up.  It was pointed out that the Statement of Use details the different programs that use the facility and the time of day they use it.  

Mr. Fuchs stated that they felt that keeping the boathouse tucked into the corner of the park left the remainder of the park open for other uses.  He explained that the basketball court is being moved closer to the restrooms to accommodate the Parks and Recreation Commission in light of the fact that the Tree Commission did not want either of the two existing large trees removed.

Mr. Gianquinto stated that he lives in Rogers Lake and his shop is across the street and he feels that the sight lines need to be corrected.  He also suggested that there be another exit for times when there are rowing meets so that all traffic does not exit onto the Post Road.  He noted that raising the grade would increase the sight line.

Mr. Gianquinto stated that their original plan had a dedicated entrance and exit and Parks and Recreation did not want to pursue that.  He noted that the STEEP grant has many conditions and what they have done is tried to separate the STEEP grant work from the other work in the park.  He indicated that because they have reduced the size of the building, they have reduced the cost and anticipate there will be funds to renovate the existing bathroom facility and perhaps adding a pavilion.  It was noted that the Town owns the land.  Chairman Cable questioned whether changing the entrance and exit would be a Town decision rather than Parks and Recreation.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that is something that has been discussed by the parties.  Chairman Cable noted that the sight line deficiency was addressed by Mr. Rosenfeld and suggested that any approval might be conditioned on the sight line being addressed.  Ms. Reemsnyder stated that both the Selectman and the Parks and Recreation Commission think that the sight line should be addressed but it was not thought that it was part of this project.  

JoAnne DeCamillo, Chairman of the Tree Commission, stated that they just did tree trimming and took down four decayed trees in the Park.  She noted that they did not want to take down the two big maple trees because they are a valuable asset to the park and are very healthy.  She noted that that is why they supported moving the basketball court.

Mr. Gianquinto stated that there are currently two gates into the park.  He noted one is by the boathouse and is now used for the boat trailers and coaches to get in and out.  Mr. Fuchs stated that this will be paved and widened.  Mr. Fuchs stated that the paving will be continued from the curb cut down into the property.  He pointed out two areas where they are installing reinforced turf to control erosion.

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Cable asked for a motion to close this Public Hearing.  

A motion was made by John Johnson, seconded by Jane Marsh and voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing on the Special Permit for 166 Boston Post Road.  

4.      Special Permit Application in order to purchase adjacent land at 31-2 Library Lane in order to expand existing cemetery under Sections 5.2 and 5.2.3 of the Zoning Regulations, for Old Lyme Cemetery Association Inc., 31-W. Alan Froggatt, Jr.

Ms. Marsh recused herself and Mr. Orzel was seated.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that he is in receipt of a letter from the applicant’s attorney requesting that the opening of this Public Hearing be tabled to the June Regular Meeting as the application is currently before the Wetlands Commission and the Zoning Commission cannot make a decision until the Wetlands Commission takes action.

A motion was made by John Johnson, seconded by Jane Marsh and voted unanimously to delay the opening of the Public Hearing to June 13, 2106 so that a decision can be made by the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission on the Special Permit for expansion of the Old Lyme Cemetery.

Chairman Cable adjourned the Public Hearing at 8:20 p.m.


Susan J. Bartlett
Recording Secretary

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

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