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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.

June 9, 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 7:32 p.m..

Minutes — May 12, 2009

Roberts suggested that the words well behaved be added to the unfinished next to last sentence in paragraph four on Page 2.

Motion(Spear/Poisson) To accept the 5/12/09 minutes with the above addition. All were in favor.

Case #5/12/09–1 — Donnie and Daniel Kelley (Continued from May 12)

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.

Faiman said that board members heard a description of the proposed use at the May 12 hearing. At that meeting board members requested a continuation. A site visit was held on June 2 so that attendees could view the yard, the proposed location of the fences, the inside of the basement with the proposed location of kennels etc. The board also requested the applicants bring a written commitment from the Wilton recycling center or some other entity that would accept the dog waste from the boarding facility; that they provide a plan to scale that shows the lot, house and yard area to be used by the dogs; that they provide a basement plan to scale showing the proposed location of the kennel area, play area, cages and studio; and that they provide documentation with pictures showing the fencing material which they propose to use.

Spear noted for the record that the flagging done on the property for the site visit was extremely well done and made it easy for the attendees to see what is being proposed.

Donnie Kelley provided to-scale drawings of both the property and the basement. On the property sketch Ms. Kelley had added a second driveway that ended at the exterior entrance to the basement, which would be convenient for dropping off and picking up dogs. Faiman noted that although it is not a zoning ordinance, he believed that it is the policy of the town to allow only one curb cut per lot therefore only one driveway per lot.

Ms. Kelley said that the total square footage of the dog area and studio in the basement is 724 SF and the total SF of the house and basement is 3600 SF. She said she requested written commitment from the Wilton recycling center regarding the dog waste but was directed to the selectmen. One of the women in the selectmen’s office told her that the selectmen had signed off on it and would provide a letter in writing. Unfortunately, the letter was not in the zoning board mailbox.

Ms. Kelley said that after conferring with her closest abutter, they wanted to install a split rail fence with black netting, and if barking becomes a problem, they would remove the split rails, keep the posts and install a stockade fence.

Board members discussed section 6.6.1(a) – The home occupation shall not be evident from the road or other public right-of-way. The question was whether a sign makes the home occupation evident or whether seeing kennels and/or dogs was more what this section is trying to say. Faiman read all of the requirements of section 6.6.1, 5.3.1, 4.4 and 4.6.

Roberts asked neighbor Grenville Clark if he felt that the proposal fit the spirit of the ordinance. Mr. Clark said he felt that it really rested on 6.6.1(a). If the home occupation is not evident from the road then he felt it was in the spirit of the ordinance. He added that he was concerned about the second driveway. That, added to a split rail fence where the dogs can be seen and in addition to a sign make the operation pretty visible from the road.

Ms. Kelley presented brochures showing split rail fencing materials and the black mesh that would also be used as well as the stockade-type fencing that could be used.

Faiman summarized the information relating to the case: The proposal is for a home occupation pet boarding facility for up to 10 dogs and a digital photography studio in the basement of the home with a fenced yard in the back part of the lot as shown on the plan and as observed by the zoning board during a site walk. The applicant is proposing split rail fencing backed by black plastic mesh to keep the dogs in the yard as well as a second driveway from Tighe Farm Road to the lower entry of the house and the proposal includes a sign by the road. Questions have been raised concerning the section of the ordinance which does not allow a home occupation to be visible from the road or public right-of-way and how that relates to the fencing that would show the dogs in the yard, the second driveway and the sign. The board generally is considering the many specific requirements for home occupations and special exceptions.

Motion(Hoar/Roberts) To close the public hearing in order to deliberate. All were in favor.

Roberts was concerned about the addition of the second driveway and the change in proposed fencing from last month’s application.

Hoar felt that the second driveway would be intrusive and is only being proposed because of the business; he felt that the sign would be in violation of the ordinance; he also felt that the split rail fence, although more esthetic than a solid fence, has two problems – you will be able to see the large number of dogs and it will not act as a partial sound block.

Spear thought it would be best for the applicant to provide a solid, privacy fence rather than a split rail fence in order to reduce or eliminate the noise from barking.

Hoar felt that 10 dogs were too many because of the potential for disturbing the neighborhood.

Poisson felt that the indoor and outdoor spaces were adequate for 10 dogs.

Faiman took a straw poll:

• Five felt that the second driveway should not be allowed.

• Five felt that the fence should be a solid, privacy fence.

• One felt that the proposed sign is inconsistent with 6.6.1(a).

• One felt that the noise from barking dogs would be disruptive to the neighborhood.

Board members discussed aspects of a motion that they could agree upon: allow a dog boarding facility for up to 6 dogs as well as a digital photography studio in the lower level of the home; not allow a second driveway; allow a sign that follows the requirements of the sign ordinance; require a solid fence on the front part of the property both for visual concealment and to minimize the noise of barking dogs and that the approval be contingent upon receipt by the ZBA of written confirmation from the selectmen that the Kelleys can dispose of the dog waste at the Wilton Recycling Center.

Motion(Roberts/Spear) To reopen the hearing in order to get feedback from the applicants. All were in favor.

Ms. Kelley said that she and her husband would be willing to install a solid, privacy fence and are willing to give up the second driveway but she felt that to limit the proposal to six dogs would be too much of a hardship and would not make sense business-wise.

Mr. Clark said that he is happy about the solid fence requirement and the deletion of the second driveway. He said he didn’t have a problem with 10 dogs because he wasn’t sure that 10 dogs would be all that much louder than 6 dogs.

Motion(Roberts/Poisson) To approve a dog boarding facility for up to 10 dogs and a digital photography studio with no photographic chemicals; there would be an outside exercise area as shown on the plan signed by Neil Faiman; the portion of the fencing facing the road will be a solid privacy fence and the portion of the fence to the back of the house facing the woods will be a wildlife fence as described by the applicants; the second driveway shown on the plan is not part of the approval and is not permitted; the proposed sign is permitted, subject to the requirements of the zoning ordinance pertaining to signs in the General Residence and Agricultural District with its location subject to approval by the planning board. The approval is contingent on and becomes effective upon receipt by the ZBA of written confirmation from the selectmen that the Kelleys can dispose of the dog waste at the Wilton Recycling Center. Four were in favor and Hoar voted no.

NEW BUSINESS

Elections: Board members agreed to defer 2009 elections until such time as the selectmen have chosen new members or affirmed present members.

Motion(Spear/Roberts) To adjourn the meeting. All were in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 10:03 p.m.

Submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted June 16, 2009