The Orange Town Plan and Zoning Commission met at Town Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Following is the REVISED Agenda and what took place.
1. SITE PLAN APPLICATION – Medical Clinic at Orange Promenade Shopping Center. 100 Boston Post Road (Former Staples Store). Change of use from retail to medical clinic. A SITE PLAN APPLICATION – ARCHITECTURAL STANDARDS SUPPLEMENT has also been submitted.
Discussion: Applicant was well-prepared. Unanimously approved.
2. Request by New Haven Hebrew Day School (261 Derby Avenue) for Extension of Special Permit for Existing Mobile Classroom Units. Also, request to locate an additional mobile classroom onsite.
3. Review of the Minutes from the May 17, 2016, June 7, 2016; and July 5, 2016 meetings.
4. Old Business.
5. New Business.
6. Report of the Zoning Enforcement Officer. – Inspections of Tractor Supplies, site work has been completed, drainage is good.
Former Recreation showroom parking lot completed (will be a medical office)
DOT made changes to driveways of new Child Center on Lambert/Boston Post Road
A sweep of the tow
-Review of Zoning Activities Log.
7. Request by Home Depot, 440 Boston Post Road to extend the Special Permit for Outdoor Storage and Display.
Discussion: no problem with the store this season, unanimously approved.
8. SITE PLAN APPLICATION – ARCHITECTURAL STANDARDS SUPPLEMENT – for property known as 550-560 Boston Post Road. Proposed façade improvements to retail center occupied by LL Bean and Trader Joe’s.
Discussion: The changes would not exceed 7%, complies with the town regulations and therefore the applicant did not have to appear before the Commission. — But thank you for coming!
PUBLIC HEARINGS *(2) Route 34 Winery discussion and decision
* 9. PETITION TO AMEND THE ORANGE ZONING REGULATIONS – -Submitted by Stellato Realty L.L.C. – To amend the Orange Zoning Regulations to provide Special Standards for a “Farm Winery.” (Continued from the June 7, 2016 meeting.)
*10. APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTION, PERMIT OR USE – Submitted by Stellato Realty L.L.C. For property known as 403 Derby Avenue. The proposal is for a Farm Winery including the growing of grapes and other fruit products and the manufacturing, storing, and selling of wine products. (Continued from the June 7, 2016 meeting.)
Discussion: The Fire Marshal allows 132 occupancy, which includes the entire building (offices, tasting area etc.) and all staff.
Attorney Brian Stone speaking for the applicant. He doesn’t agree with the regulations with respect to the parking.
An engineer from a firm in Shelton said the septic could handle 2.5 times the needs of the operation.
Fire Marshal also wants the turn-in to be wider and a fire hydrant moved.
John Ruffalo said people could be in the tasting area, touring the production area and on the rooftop (with employees included) and not exceed the Fire Marshal’s occupancy rate.
Public commentary: Bruce Lindsey owns a property abutting the vineyard. He feels the plans need to be scaled down and the hours should be cut down. A vineyard would be nice but this proposal seems to have a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Another neighbor, Mr. Gomez from Greenhill Road said the business would be in his backyard and the original plan was far more ambitious and he is afraid it will turn into something much bigger than this proposal.
Commission member Judy Smith asked what size the kitchen was [270 sq ft] what would they be serving?
Attorney Smith said food service would be limited and without a commercial kitchen they couldn’t even make meatballs on site. There would only be finger foods, cheese and crackers etc, but it also would be used to clean the dishes and glasses.
He said caterers would be able to bring in food.
Commission chairman Beau Clark said Attorney Smith did a great job putting together a regulation, but as Mr. Gomez stated, it seems to still appear to be more like a commercial operation, than an agricultural operation.
He said changing the regulation would not apply only to this property, but extend to the entire town.
Clark said the Commission is charged with the health safety and wellness of the town.
All of the commissioners participated in a lively discussion stating that special events would bring in a lot of people and a wedding party with band, noise etc would not be fair to the neighbors.
Clark said the vineyard should be more like a farm stand. Stop by sample a sip of wine, buy it and go, not make it a destination where you come and stay for the experience. “I don’t think this is compatible with a residential zone.”
In the Plan of Conservation and Development the Route 34 (south) area is more residential, and the Post Road (north) area should be more of a business district.
Commissioner Ralph Aschettino said he thought they should evolve with the times. In a few years, I hope we aren’t looking back and wishing we were in these seats making this decision.
Clark said the artists rendering is very attractive, but what is the difference in this business and a restaurant?
“Little things become big things when they are put in a residential area,” Clark said.
Commissioner Paul Kaplan said the operation is just too intense for a residential zone.
Commissioner Ozzie Parente said residents did not come out to the meeting to speak in favor of it.
“Would you be comfortable with this USE throughout the town?” Clark asked. “My concern is not necessarily THIS scene, but this scene in other areas of town.”
The Commission DENIED the application.