|Board Members||Vice Chair Carol Roberts, members: Joe Poisson, Bill Carnduff, Andy Hoar, alternate Joanna Eckstrom, and Minute Taker Heather Loewy Nichols.|
|Agenda||1/17/12- 1 Pine Hill Waldorf School|
Vice Chair Roberts opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. and introduced the Board Members present.
A MOTION was made by Mr. Carnduff and SECONDED by Mr. Poisson to approve the minutes of November 8, 2011 with the following corrections:
- Change "Jacob Brown" to "Jared Brown" throughout
Voting: 4 ayes; motion carried with Ms. Eckstrom abstaining.
Ms. Robert explained that Mr. Faiman has recused himself from this case and that the Pine Hill Waldorf School has applied for a Special Exception under Section 5.3.6c of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to allow the construction of a new building to house an Early Education Center that expands the existing school on lot F-99-1, Pine Hill Drive.
Robert Todd, of Todd Land Use Consultants, appeared before the Board for the applicant and explained that in 2005 a 7 acre lot was created out of a northwest portion of the property for use by the Center for Anthroposophy, however this annexed lot is currently not in use. He further explained that the main school is in the northeast corner of the property and there is also a shop and a caretaker's office. He also noted that the Early Childhood Education classroom building was installed in 2003 and the main school building was put into use in the late 1980's. Mr. Todd stated that the school is accessed by a paved driveway coming off from Abbot Hill, almost directly opposite the entrance to the High Mowing School, which includes a drop off area at the main school and a secondary drop off further away from the school. He explained that there is a fire pond and associated wetlands in the southeast of the property and an acre and a half of wetland in the south west of the property which accepts drainage from the main section of the site and then drains offsite. He also noted that the whole property is 40 acres and includes a large forest area. Mr. Todd stated that the applicant is proposing putting in a driveway with turnaround and parking off the existing Pine Hill Drive and two new classrooms which will take the place of the current Early Education rooms.
In response to a question from Mr. Poisson, Mr. Todd stated that Pine Hill Drive is a private drive and Abbott Hill is maintained by the state.
Mr. Todd stated that currently the property is used for a non public grammar school and preschool and the applicant is asking to expand the pre-existing use by 60 students and also add an adult education function. He further explained that the current buildings are non conforming because they were built before the applicable zoning, so the applicant needs a Special Exception now because they are expanding the non conforming use and also they are adding the adult education use which is only allowable by Special Exception.
In response to a question from Ms. Eckstrom, Mr. Todd stated that they could place the proposed building closer to the old school but the proposed placement keeps the younger children away from the older children and separates the traffic.
Mr. Todd then reviewed his arguments for granting the Special Exception. He explained that the proposed use is consistent with the use of the surrounding properties and contributes to the character of the surrounding areas. He stated that the proposed will pose no conflict with the surrounding areas; rather there is a supportive relationship between this site and the other school and the organic farm which has farm animals that will benefit the students. He also stated that the proposed use will not emit any negative environmental discharge, is not in an Aquifer Protected area, and all the drainage will be collected onsite and will be infiltrated.
In response to a question from Mr. Poisson, Mr. Todd stated that the proposed building will be about 550 feet from Abbot Hill Road and will be separated by a woodland buffer.
In response to a question from Ms. Roberts, Mr. Todd stated that he is in the Site Review process with the Planning Board.
In response to a question from the Board, Mr. Todd noted that there is plenty of separation from the existing wetland with at least 50 feet of buffer at all times.
In response to a question from Ms. Eckstrom, Mr. Todd stated that they estimate an increase of 42 additional car trips per day to the site.
In response to a question from Mr. Hoar, Mr. Todd explained that the plan currently includes 18 parking spots but they need to add one more, which will be a handicap spot, as required by the Site Plan Review.
The Board noted that the applicant will have to come back for a Special Exception for the second building.
In response to a question from Ms. Eckstrom, Mr. Todd stated that he is expecting that the parking spots will be enough for both proposed buildings but noted that parking is a site plan issue and the Planning Board is evaluating it.
In response to a question from Lynne Draper, of the Wilton Conservation
Commission, Mr. Todd explained that they are adding one culvert under the drive and increasing the size of another culvert which is only 12" currently.
A MOTION was made by Mr. Carnduff and SECONDED by Ms. Eckstrom to approve the Special Exception under Section 5.3.6.c to allow the construction of a single building, marked on the submitted plan dated 12/22/11 as Building #1, in order to house an Early Education Center thereby expanding the existing school which serves nursery school through 8th grade and to allow the accessory use of adult education.
Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried unanimously.
A MOTION was made by Mr. Carnduff and Mr. Poisson to adjourn the meeting.
Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried unanimously.
Vice Chair Roberts declared the meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Heather Loewy Nichols
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