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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.

October 16, 2014

Board MembersChairman Neil Faiman; members, Carol Roberts and Andy Hoar and Alternates Bob Spear, John Jowders, and Paul Levesque.
Agenda
  • Minutes of 9/15/14
  • Case #10/14/14-1 Jonathan and Felicia Jones
  • Case #10/14/14-2 Peter and Pamela Clemens
  • Adjournment
  • Minutes

A MOTION was made by Mr. Hoar and SECONDED by Mr. Spear to accept the minutes of September 15, 2014 as written.

Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried with Mrs. Roberts abstaining.

Mr. Faiman introduced the members of the Board and noted that Mr. Levesque will not be voting on the first case this evening and Mr. Hoar will be recusing himself from the second case of the evening. Mr. Faiman further noted that upon reviewing the Board's decision from the last meeting he feels that the Board made the wrong decision and he would like to discuss this issue further with the Board at a later time.

Case #10/14/14–1 — Jonathan and Felicia Jones

Mr. Faiman explained that Jonathan and Felicia Jones have applied for a special exception under section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, or alternatively for a variance to section 5.2.3 of the Ordinance, to permit the construction of a garage on the property which would be closer to the street than would otherwise be permitted by the Ordinance on Lot L-039, 6 Chabot Way. He also reviewed the Board's procedure for the evening.

Jonathan Jones appeared before the Board and explained that his home is situated on a hill and the primary drive is very steep which, in the winter, makes it difficult to maintain and drive up, and they have had issues with vehicles rolling down the drive. He also stated that his secondary drive is no longer maintainable or navigable, in the winter, since they closed the Route 101/Island Street connection so he would like to put a drive near the bottom of the hill and the only feasible place to put a garage is near the road, however, he noted, the closest corner of the garage would need to be 15? from the lot line, not the 35? that is required. He stated that he does not think this will be an issue because his house is the last house on the road before it becomes discontinued and therefore they are the only ones who use that portion of the road, besides a few fishermen. He also noted that he is proposing a two story 28? x 28? structure.

All the Board Members noted that they have driven by the property in preparation for tonight's meeting, except for Mr. Spears who did his research via Google Earth.

In response to a question from Mr. Roberts, Mr. Jones stated that he would like to excavate into the hill which would lower the incline into the garage as the driveway is at a 90 degree angle to the road so turning into the drive one looses all momentum.

Mr. Jowders noted, and Mr. Jones confirmed, that the garage would stop the applicant from parking in the street when he cannot get into the drive due to weather conditions, and he noted, other than the excavation, it looks like the perfect spot.

Mr. Faiman asked for public comment and heard none.

In response to a question from Ms. Roberts, Mr. Jones stated that he will not be putting an apartment into the upstairs of the garage, rather he might make it into a shop, or office, or leave it unfinished.

In response to a question from Mr. Jowders, Mr. Jones stated that the front left corner of the garage will be 15? from the street.

In response to a question from Mr. Hoar as to the status of the discontinued portion of Chabot way, Mr. Jones explained that he has spoken to Road Agent and the Board of Selectmen and has received different answers as to if he or the town owns that portion of land but for this application he assumed that the town owns it.

In response to a question from Mr. Levesque, Mr. Jones stated that the fisherman park on the active portion on the road, not the discontinued part.

The Board thanked the applicant for a well done application and excellent pictures.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Jowders and SECONDED by Mr. Spear to close the hearing.

Voting: 5 ayes: motion carried unanimously.

After brief discussion, a MOTION was made by Mr. Spear, and SECONDED by Mr. Jowders to grant the requested special exception as allowed in Section 17.3, to allow the placement of the garage as shown on the application, no closer than 15? from Chabot Way, for the reasons presented by the applicant.

Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried unanimously.

Case #10/14/14–2 — Pamela and Peter Clemens

Neil Faiman explained that Judy and Leonard Peterson (owners) and Pamela and Peter Clemens (applicants) have applied for a special exception under section 6.6.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the use of a portion of the main dwelling and the barn structure on Lot C-79, 602 Isaac Frye Highway, to entertain and host private functions as a home occupation.

Pamela and Peter Clemens appeared before the Board and Mrs. Clemens explained that she is interested in hosting small events, like tea parties, that keep with the era of the building. She stated that she knows that parking will be an issue but there is a lot of land available and she believes that parking could be worked out. She stated that she could put in bathroom facilities and although she hasn't done a floor plan study, because they don't own the property yet, she would expect a maximum of 100- to 120 people.

Mr. Levesque noted one would need parking for 60 to 70 cars for that many people.

In response to a question from Mr. Levesque, Mrs. Clemens stated that there is a total of 18.5 acres to work with and she would want to preserve the look and function of the property. She stated that most functions would take place in the barn, but possibly she would also hold more intimate tea parties or kids parties in the house. She stated that she loves the outside look of the property and she would definitely not want to change it.

In response to a question from Mr. Jowders, Mrs. Clemens stated that she would not want patrons to park on the street and she would like to work to help alleviate the parking issue that she has seen created by Andy's Playhouse patrons parking on the street.

Mr. Spear noted that a significant portion of the land is probably in current use status.

In response to a question from Mr. Spear, Mrs. Clemens stated that she would not be having parties until 1:00 or 2:00 AM; rather parties would be in the afternoons.

Ms. Roberts noted how this type of facility can change the character of the neighborhood.

In response to a question from Jackie Kahle, an abutter, Mrs. Clemens stated that she works full time so the parties would just be filler right now and she would hopefully have an event most weekends. In response to another question she stated that she is hoping not to have to pave and if they had to pave they would hope to add it to the current paving or add plantings to hide the pavement.

In response to a question from Andy Hoar, an abutter, Mr. Faiman stated that he understood that this application was only for Lot 79 and therefore the Board could not grant a permit for Lot 83.

In response to a question from Gail Hoar, an abutter, Mrs. Clemens stated that they would put in decorative lighting if necessary, and fine crushed stone, something other than blacktop. She noted that as a resident she would want to maintain the current look as much as possible.

Marion Kearns, Wilton resident, questioned how the application meets the specific requirements in the ordinance.

Robert Keller, of 605 Isaac Frye Highway, noted that .25 acres would be needed for parking and that the applicant needs to consider that there is probably a leach field on that part of the property.

In response to a question from Mr. Levesque, Mrs. Clemens explained that she does not plan on doing many renovations to the barn other than septic work and bathrooms as the barn already has water lines and hardwood floors and she loves the look of the barn as it is.

In response to a question from an abutter from 203 Wilson Road, Mrs. Clemens notes that she would use caterers for food service items such as tea sandwiches and she would not be getting liquor license as the caterer would have their own.

Jackie Kahle noted that Section 5.3.1 of the Wilton Ordinance states that only two non family employees are permitted for a home occupation and questioned how many employees the caterers would bring.

In response to a question from Mrs. Hoar, Mr. Faiman explained that a home occupation is an allowed commercial activity in the residential/agricultural district.

In response to a question from Mr. Keller, Mrs. Clemens stated that portable toilets are just a possibility prior to installing bathrooms and they would be placed as far away as possible.

In response to a question from the abutter from 203 Wilson Road, Peter Clemens stated that the home in question is huge and requires a lot of money for upkeep so the income from the events would be invested back into the property and therefore would help keep the property in character and kept up.

In response to a question from Christine Keller, of 605 Isaac Frye Highway, Mrs. Clemens stated that additional bathrooms would be built in the barn or in the existing off shoot buildings.

Mr. Faiman read a letter submitted from an abutter stating that the size and scope of the proposal is too large and that even allowing events of a smaller size and scope may be inappropriate because it will leave the neighborhood to police the applicants.

Karen Demers, of Wilton Center Road, stated that the applicant needs to prove that there will be no issues with parking, lighting, drainage, noise, traffic, hours of operation, and she noted that Jim Spellman, a realtor, told her that if this application is approved it will have a negative impact on the value of the surrounding homes.

A Wilton Center Road abutter noted that their home is their fortress of solitude and that they felt that approval of this application will negatively affect that.

Michael Dell'Orto, of the Wilton Heritage Commission, stated that the Commission would like to be able to consider and comment on this application if not approved this evening, especially if parking would be behind the historic town pound.

Michael Dell'Orto, speaking as an abutter of 21 Wilton Center Road, stated that he has an issue with the scale of the proposal and he thinks 70 cars is over scale for the character of the neighborhood. He stated that he thinks the project sounds overly ambitious.

Jackie Kahle stated that her house looks directly into the barn and she is concerned about her viewscape. She stated that she does not want to have to look out her window at people at parties and questioned how the scale would be policed if it was limited.

Mr. Hoar stated that there is a source of solitude walking through the neighborhood and he feels that the proposed would destroy the neighborhood.

Daniel Ross, of 20 Wilson Road, stated that he moved here for the historic charm and since he has seen Wilson Road incrementally dismantled. He further stated that he views this proposal as another brick in the wall of the demise of the character of the neighborhood.

Mrs. Hoar stated that she is not opposed to having small events, a daycare, or a bed and breakfast on the property but not something of this scale. She noted that she is not negative towards the Petersons and that Andy's Playhouse and the current churches are nonprofit organizations.

Mr. Dell'Orto stated that the abutters all cope with Andy's Playhouse which generates a great deal of noise and traffic and given the fact that the neighborhood already has that impact he cannot support this application.

Mike Bangor noted that the intent of Section 5.3.1.a of the Wilton Ordinance seems to be to allow for small incidental occupations rather than this full blown commercial enterprise. He also noted that Section 5.3.1.f allows for only a driveway and two additional parking spaces.

Mr. Keller, stated that to see the land be commercialized is painful and that the scale and frequency to the proposal is an issue.

Carol Beet, realtor for the Peterson's; owners of the property, explained that she had the opportunity to sell the property once or twice by splitting up the two lots but the owners would not do it and that the owners felt blessed to find these buyers because they can give the property the face lift that it needs.

Mrs. Clemens explained that she loves the charm and the environment of the property and she wants other people to be able to experience the property. She stated that there might need to be some larger functions to meet some budgets, for instance her daughters want to get married there, but her goal is to hold small functions and she noted that she wants to make decisions with the community, not just bulldoze her way through. She further stated that she also wants to preserve the Victorian traditions.

Judy Peterson, owner of the property, stated that the applicants are the first prospective buyers that have spoken about historic preservation of the property and that they see the property with their heart and value the setting.

Christine Keller, stated that the previous functions in the barn were not a business and questioned where it will end if this gets approved as the approval will continue to the next buyer of the property.

The Board summarized the issues presented including noise, traffic, sanitary conditions, drainage, and parking.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Spear and SECONDED by Ms. Roberts to close the public portion of the hearing.

Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Spear stated that he has heard lots of passion and he would like to see the applicants come back with a more complete application since they have now heard some of the abutter comments. He stated that he would like to give them the opportunity to amend their application.

Discussion ensued.

The Board stated that the application does not seem like a home occupation, specifically because it is not secondary and incidental in nature and because it does not appear that it could be accomplished with only two employees. The Board also noted that the ordinance only allows for two additional parking spaces and that traffic generation appears to be a concern.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Spear and SECONDED by Mr. Levesque to deny the application based on Sections 5.3.1.a, c., f., and g., and Section 4.4.b; and because the proposal is not sufficiently detailed.

Voting: 5 ayes; motion carried unanimously.

Adjournment

A MOTION was made by Mr. Hoar and SECONDED by Mr. Spear to adjourn the meeting.

Voting: 6 ayes; motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Faiman declared the meeting to be adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Heather Loewy Nichols
Clerk
10/16/14 Page 2 of 4
Wilton ZBA
Revision 1