Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon PZC reviews West Street project

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
November 4, 2005

VERNON — The Planning and Zoning Commission got its first look Thursday night at a controversial subdivision proposed for a 42-acre parcel off of West Street.

Local developer Kenneth J. Boynton wants to subdivide the parcel and create 13 single-family homes on a new road to be constructed off Tracy Drive. He is also proposing to construct 60 units of age-restricted housing, which would be accessed via a driveway off of West Street.

But the proposed development has created concern among neighbors on Tracy and Kenneth drives, and three of them spoke out during Thursday's meeting.

Because of a 10:30 p.m. curfew, the public comment portion of the PZC hearing was continued to Nov. 17.

At the beginning of the public hearing on the project, local lawyer Dorian R. Famiglietti, who is representing Boynton, told commissioners that the developers decided to reduce the number of single-family homes in the plan from 14 to 13. Famiglietti also told the commission that the subdivision was designed to meet all of the zoning regulations that apply to properties in the West Street area.

An engineer also told the commission about Boynton's plan to control water runoff from the site while another engineer said traffic impact from the new development would be minimal.

But three nearby residents expressed concern that the development would harm their properties by displacing water runoff.

One resident, Mark Riley of 108 Tracy Drive, also expressed concern about increased traffic from the development and pointed to a stop sign in the neighborhood, which he said is frequently ignored.

Amarjit Buttar of 78 Kenneth Drive said he is concerned that the new development could aggravate drainage problems that once plagued his home years ago.

"I had three different people come to rectify and fix the problem," said Buttar, a member of the Board of Education. "I'd rather not let the landscape be bothered."

The proposed project already has resulted in one lawsuit being filed against a local commission.

Frederick M. Goff and Barbara J. Goff of 130 Tracy Drive have sued the Inland Wetlands Commission, saying the board acted improperly when it approved Boynton's plan in September. The couple also has argued that the developers don't have the right to construct the new road on a right-of-way that sits on land they acquired in June.

Meanwhile, the commission voted 4-2 to reject a proposal by a local developer looking to subdivide a 36.15-acre parcel at 242 Brandy Hill Road into six single-family residential lots.

Commissioners Terri J. Goldich, Mary Kelly, Pat A. Settembrino, and Lester G. Finkle III voted against the proposal.

Juanita L. Bair and Watson C. Bellows voted in favor of the application.

In rejecting the application, several commissioners said the application from T & S Investors was incomplete because it didn't contain a detailed narrative description of the project's sedimentation and erosion control plan.

But Town Planner Thomas J. Joyce Jr. and Town Engineer Tim Timberman told commissioners that such a plan is typically not required when a developer is not proposing to construct a new road.

All six of the residential lots would have fronted Brandy Hill Road.

But those explanations did not sway the majority of commissioners.

"I don't think the application is complete," said Kelly, who added that she doesn't have a problem with the overall plan. "The regulations clearly state that (a narrative) must be required."