Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Garden Barn to expand

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
March 8, 2008

VERNON - June will be busting out all over at the Garden Barn on West Street this year, now that owners Dennis and Kathy Gliha have won a zone change allowing them to grow more flowers and landscaping plants on a neighboring plot.

The Gliha family, owners of the local nursery for the last 25 years, requested the zone change from subdivision to garden zone for 7.74 acres they recently bought from the Ogden Brook Estates, adjoining the 228 West St. nursery on its northerly border.

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the change two weeks ago, and workers have been busy clearing the land of brush, trees, and stumps and making it ready for planting this spring.

Plans call for using the cleared land for crop production of nursery stock, such as flowers and plants for landscaping.

According to Craig W. Perry, town wetlands agent, an inland wetlands permit is not needed for a zone change.

The Conservation Commission did raise concerns that the expansion could mean runoff from fertilizers and pesticides would enter the Ogden Brook, and eventually drain into the Hockanum River.

Dorian Famiglietti, lawyer for the applicants, said this should not be an issue, however, as the property historically has been used for agricultural purposes.

Before it was the Garden Barn the property was part of the Doherty farm, where corn and hay was grown long before the adoption of zoning regulations in 1965.

As a result, "run-off and the impacts they may have on Ogden Brook are not solely attributable" to the zone change, Famiglietti writes in a Feb. 12 letter to the commission.

Still, the Glihas family is respectful of the natural resources surrounding their property and have consulted and worked with town staff, as well as state environmental officials, to put safeguards in place and protect the brook, she said.

The Garden Barn is enrolled in a pest management program with the University of Connecticut in which experts conduct bi-weekly site visits and monitor the use of fertilizers and pesticides in order to limit chemical use, Famiglietti says.

The Glihas also sought advice on erosion and sediment control from engineers and land surveyors, Tolland-based Gardner & Peterson Associates LLC.

The parcel is sloped from West Street, heading west to Ogden Brook in various degrees of gradient.

Town staff recommended erecting a sediment barrier downgrade of the construction site, and also vegetation filters and swales to redirect runoff.

©Journal Inquirer 2008