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Minutes posted at this web site have not been checked for consistency with the printed minutes that are available in the Wilton Town Offices. If you need the definitive minutes of a ZBA meeting, please obtain the printed minutes from the town offices.

May 12, 2009

BOARD MEMBERS: Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Joe Poisson, Carol Roberts and Bob Spear; alternate member Andy Hoar.

AgendaDonnie and Daniel Kelley – special exception

Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m..

Minutes — April 14, 2009

Motion(Roberts/Poisson) To accept the 4/14/09 minutes as written. Three were in favor and Faiman and Spear abstained.

Faiman said that this is usually the meeting when officers are chosen for the year, but since the selectmen have not made appointments yet, he suggested waiting until the May meeting. Bob Spear has tendered his resignation from the board and so his seat may be filled also. Faiman then introduced the board members and explained the procedures for hearing a case.

Case #5/12/09–1 — Donnie and Daniel Kelley

Donnie and Daniel Kelley have applied for a special exception under the terms of section 6.6.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit an in-home pet boarding facility and photography studio as a home occupation on Lot A–10, 12 Tighe Farm Road.

Donnie Kelley explained that she and her husband would like to operate a small dog boarding facility that would house no more than 10 dogs at one time. They plan to build 4 – 5 suites in addition to a recreation area for the dogs in their basement. They have a walk-out basement that would lead to an outdoor area for the dogs. Their property is about 4 acres in size. They plan to erect a privacy fence on the property lines that are visible from Burton Highway and Tighe Farm Road. She said that the dogs would not be allowed outside without supervision. She also wants to move her pet photography business from the Pine Valley Mill downtown to her basement at home. She said she usually has one to two clients a week.

They would like to erect a small sign on their property. They will offer drop-off and pick-up services for their boarding clients, but pet owners will want to come and see the facility before they leave their pets there.

Faiman read sections 4.4, 4.6 and 5.3.1 from the Wilton Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Kelley said they would have no employees. She said the nearest neighbor is the property across Tighe Farm Road that abuts Burton Highway. She said the area of the two businesses will take up about 20% of the livable space in the house and 2 acres of yard space.

Bill Mahar, Wilton Conservation Commission, had concerns about how the dog waste would be handled and if there would be any chemicals involved in the photography business. Ms. Kelley said that her photography work is all digital and that the dog waste would be taken to the recycling center.

Spear wanted to see something in writing that would guarantee that some certain amount of dog waste would be accepted.

Grenville Clark, 29 Stiles Farm Road. said that he is not an abutter but lives about 1/8 of a mile away. He said that the requirement of 6.6.1a is that the home occupation shall not be evident from the road or other public right-of-way. He thought that both the sign and the 6’ high fence will make the home occupation visible from the road. He also had a concern about the noise made by barking dogs. He did not have a problem with traffic generated from either business.

Ms. Kelley said that they want to use vinyl or cedar stockade type fencing so that the dogs inside the yard won’t be able to see, and bark at, anyone passing by on the road.

Ms. Kelley said that any off-street parking will happen on their driveway, which is very long. She said her photography studio takes up an area of 10’ x 10’. She said the proposed kennels will be 3’ x 6’ each.

Faiman said that he was most concerned about the noise factor and he asked what would happen if the Kelley’s took a dog for a month while its owners went to Europe and it turned out that the dog had a barking problem. Ms. Kelley said that in addition to the application that the owners must fill out, the dog also must pass a temperament test that will show how the dog gets along with the Kelley’s dogs and any other dogs that are on site. The dog also must be safe around the Kelley’s young children.

Hoar said that his experience has been that his own dog becomes stressed and barks much more than usual when he is in a boarding situation. Ms. Kelley said that she has a background in dog training and has found that when dogs are kept busy and active and not isolated from people and other dogs they are usually. Dan Kelley said that if dogs are going to be in their basement, they must be quiet and well behaved.

Faiman summarized the case so far: The proposal is for a home occupation pet boarding facility for up to ten dogs in the basement of the home as well as about two acres of the yard. The dogs would not be in the yard unsupervised, privacy fencing will be installed on the road-facing portions of the yard. There would also be a small digital photography business in the home involving client visits. Concerns that have been raised are: waste disposal, noise, the appearance of the fencing and a question has been raised as to whether a sign is permissible under the terms of 6.6.1a. About 1/3 of the basement would be used for both businesses as well as half of the property outside. Roberts added that Mr. Kelley’s painting business also involves some storage.

Roberts felt that more exact measurements were needed such as a sketch of the basement showing the locations of the different facets of the businesses. Spear suggested a site visit so board members could see the basement area as well as the part of the yard that will be used and fenced. He also reiterated his desire to see a waste disposal plan and he also said he would like to see pictures of the type of fencing the Kelley’s are proposing.

Faiman listed the things that board members still want to see:

• Written commitment from whoever will be accepting the dog waste.

• A to-scale sketch of the property showing the lot size, the exterior boundaries of the lot, the location of the house, driveway and garage on the property and the dimensions of the house.

• A sketch of the basement with precise dimensions of the area that will be used for the businesses.

• An interest by board members in visiting the property with flagging or markings of some kind to show where the fence will be placed.

• Photos of the proposed fencing.

The Kelley’s agreed to a site visit and it was scheduled for Tuesday, June 2nd at 7 p.m.

Motion(Spear/Hoar) To continue the case to the June 9th meeting of the zoning board; to schedule a site visit for Tuesday, June 2nd at 7 p.m., and to request that the applicant bring to the next zoning board meeting the above listed items. All were in favor.
Motion(Hoar/Spear) To adjourn the meeting. All were in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted May 18, 2009