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Notes In A Nutshell: September Police Commission

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Sep 292017
 

A new subdivision was on the agenda during the Traffic Authority portion of the Orange Police Commission meeting this month.

Traffic Authority

Brian Baker presented plans for 205 Indian River Road, the old Cuzz Acres Golf Course, for a 4 lot subdivision. The area that used to be a driving range has a lot of frontage space. It’s flat on Edison Raod and slopes down on Indian River across from the Christmas Tree Shops building.

Baker explained that Lot 1 would be used for an office building where 240 parking spaces are required by town regulations, but it will have 302 spaces, therefore satisfying the requirements that will come up at a future TP&Z Commission meeting.

He showed schematics of what could go in on Lots 2 and 3 and told the commission that they were going to submit the plans to the TP&Z for a spot on an upcoming agenda.

The Police Commission discussed the plans and approved them after agreeing that there were no sight line issues, no new roads would be required and they would have no impact on the town infrastructure.

Police Commission

During this portion of the monthly meeting, the commissioners heard Chief Robert Gagne’s report on department expenditures, which included maintenance issues and monies spent for new recruits.

Budget

Gagne said there are no concerns with the department’s budget, adding that the environmental service unit in men’s locker room needed fixing to take care of a humidity issue.

Carbon Monoxide in Police SUVs

He also discussed the fact that the Ford Patrol SUVs across the country that were having Carbon Monoxide issues, sickening officers and causing accidents was due to holes that were drilled in the vehicles where they didn’t belong.

He was happy to announce that the Orange PD’s vendor did not do this, so it was not a problem here, adding that C/O detectors were installed in the department’s vehicles as a precautionary measure to keep our officers safe.

Pistols

The Chief reported that the Sig Sauer guns that every officer carries were discovered to have a design flaw.

According to a memo, if the gun was dropped on the ground in a specific way, it was in danger of going off.

The gun manufacturer found that the trigger was too heavy and could fire if it fell on the ground.

Gagne said, “Of course we tell our officers not to drop their guns, and it has not been a problem in our department.” Still, all of the pistols will be replaced this fall with the same model gun that has been modified to take care of the issue.

Charcoal Uniforms

Gagne shared some good, money-saving news as well.

The Orange Police Department has a unique color choice for its uniforms and no other department uses charcoal colored uniform pants.

For many years, Orange purchased its uniforms from Horwitz Uniforms in West Haven.

Recently, the owner notified Gagne that he had many pairs of charcoal pants in stock that were not selling. He offered the Orange PD his remaining inventory of these pants free of charge, asking only that the officers come to him to have them striped.

Notes In A Nutshell: April 4 Plan & Zoning Commission

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Apr 042017
 

The Town Plan & Zoning Commission met at Town Hall on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.

  1. APPLICATION FOR MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS AS PER 8-30G OF THE CT GENERAL STATUTES – Submitted by Sixty Five Marsh Hill Road, LLC for property known as 65-69 Marsh Hill Road and 0 & 15 Salemme Lane.  The mixed use development has underground parking, commercial and residential components.  Sixty apartments are proposed.  There will be 18 Affordable Units.  A SITE PLAN APPLICATION has been submitted. (Continued from the February 21, 2017 meeting.)

(Definition of an 8-30G development)

This is a controversial proposal because there is disagreement whether or not it is ok to submit/pursue affordable housing in this zone.  It would be part of the TODD (train station) overlay but it IS a separate project.

A traffic engineer was first to take the podium. He read a list of traffic concerns that had previously been discussed and, in short noted that many factors depended upon what would happen when the Orange Train Station was up and running, which would change the timing of traffic light cycles etc. The Orange Police Traffic Commission would have to approve or deny right turn on red changes at existing business driveways on Marsh Hill Road.

Commission Chairman Beau Clark said he did not feel that there was enough information to consider the traffic study “complete.”

Jeff Gordon planner and engineer for the project then spoke on his area of expertise. He argued that the Commission’s take on Light Industrial and residential zones make it impossible for anyone to build in Orange. “We think this project stands on its own merits,” Gordon said.

Commissioner Ralph Aschettino said the building rendition says “Welcome to Manhattan,” to him. “That’s not Orange.”

Judy Smith said the building should either be residential with no retail, or Gordon should go through the TODD process if he want s to include retail in his plan.

The discussion on this project will be continued to the next TP&ZC meeting. The Commission considers the area a Light Industrial 2 Zone which would prohibit this type of development.

Clark said, “This commission works hard on its regulations and protecting the Light Industrial area. We learn from our experiences.”

He added that Orange is not against affordable housing.

 

Notes In A Nutshell: Police Commission

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Feb 142017
 

Police Chief Robert Gagne

The Orange Police Commission met at Headquarters on Monday afternoon (Feb. 13).

There wasn’t much on the agenda, but the following information was discussed.

Expenditures

• Police Department roof repairs were made at a fair price.

• Policy software was updated

• Building improvements —minor repairs were made in the women’s locker room.

• New officer expenses — polygraph exams and new uniforms for recruits.

• Storage for body camera videos, which is reimbursable by the state.

Budget balances

• Administrative Overtime in Records while new employees are being trained.

NOTES:

Chief Gagne went before the Capital Planning Committee to present the department’s needs. He said all projects were accepted but he doesn’t expect all of them to pass by the Board of Finance.

He’s fairly confident that a generator and requested security package will survive the board.

Home Depot donated windshield washer fluid for the patrol cars for which the Chief and officers are grateful.

The Lions Club of Orange donated $1,000 for a K9 vest. This will be used with a generous donation from the Orange Juniorettes to outfit both Orange K9s with protective vests.

Asst. Chief Anthony Cuozzo delivered the monthly statistic report for January:

3,037 calls for service, 119 activated burglar alarms, 40 criminal arrests, 23 shoplifting/larcenies, 19 fights/disturbances, 4 DWI arrests, 86 traffic accidents, 146 Medical emergencies, 152 motor vehicle citations issued.

Notes In A Nutshell: Jan. 17 Town Plan & Zoning Meeting

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Jan 182017
 

There was one public hearing item on the Jan. 17 Town Plan & Zoning meeting agenda:

APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTION, PERMIT OR USE.  For property known as 273 Indian River Road, Orange, CT.  Submitted by Indian River Development, LLC – Michael Lipset, Member. The Tenant, Brian Johanson, d.b.a. Dark Side Performance, LLC, will be using a portion of the existing building for the fabrication and installation of performance automobile parts.  He is seeking to provide retail sales of the manufactured parts.

The Commission approved the application contingent on the Fire Marshal’s final inspection and approval.

 

Notes In A Nutshell: Nov. 9 Board of Selectmen’s Meeting

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Nov 092016
 

250px-Orange_CT_town_hallThe Orange Board of Selectmen met at High Plains Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Following is the business they discussed:

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Friday, Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Veteran’s walk in front of High Plains.

Friday, Nov. 18, Town Auction, Vehicles, equipment, 2 Kilns also will be available at the auction buy “as is”

Sat. Nov 19, Cub Scout Pack 922 food drive and Wreath Sale in front of High Plains Community Center

Sunday, Nov. 20, Interfaith Service at Orange Congregational Church

Thursday, Nov. 24 Thanksgiving everything closed. 8 a.m. Rotary Turkey Trot

Friday, Nov. 25 town offices closed transfer station open.

Sunday, Nov. 27, Lions Thanksgiving Dinner  at noon, call for reservations

Sunday, Dec. 4, 3-6 p.m. Holiday Festival

Tuesday Dec. 6, 6-8 p.m. Amity Referendum with ONE Orange polling place at High Plains Community Center, $2 million bond for repair, maintenance projects.

Remember to put up a protective barrier near your mailbox to keep it from being damaged by snow plow activity

Racebrook Road Northbound side is being completed, now, during winter, Left hand side work will begin.

Indian River, culvert near Chip’s will begin and a third (turn lane) will go in at Lambert and Route 1.

The new Dunkin Donuts near Citizen’s Bank will finally open this weekend and the one in the plaza near ELI’s will be closing.

NEW BUSINESS

To consider and act on the request to authorize the First Selectman to sign the Master Municipal Agreement for RIGHT OF WAY 

Unanimously approved

To consider and act on the request to approve the tax refunds totaling $13,616.04 

Unanimously approved

COMMITTEES

Pension BoardSelectman Goldblatt   There is a vacancy, if you are interested in serving, contact Town Hall

Capital PlanningSelectman Okenquist  Waiting for requests from department heads

Bond Construction OversightSelectman Goldblatt  working on plans for bridge over Derby Milford Road, looking into a bond amount.  Also projects at town pool, school etc. 

PersonnelSelectmen Zeoli, Okenquist, Davis

Charter RevisionSelectman Carangelo

Adjourn

FYI

Approved Minutes of September 14, 2016 Board of Selectmen Meeting

2017 Board of Selectmen Meeting Schedule

American Education Week Letter from OBOE

2016 Holiday Festival Flyer

Letter from Historical Society Regarding Bryan-Andrew House

Summary of 2012 Bond Issue for Road Improvements

Appointments/Reappointments

Revenue and Expenditure Reports

Notes In A Nutshell: Sept. 20 TP&ZC Meeting

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Sep 202016
 

tpzcThe Orange Town Plan & Zoning Commission met at Town Hall, Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. [The meeting began at 7:35 p.m.]

Zoning Enforcement Offier Paul Dinice was not in attendance.

Here are some notes from the meeting.

1. Review of the Minutes from the August 15, 2016 and August 16, 2016 meetings.

(Minor amendments were made to the Aug. 15 minutes and they were approved)

Aug. 16 minutes also were approved.

2. Request for release of Bond. Tractor Supply Inc. at 250 Indian River Road.

3. Old Business. (nothing)

4. New Business. (nothing)

5. Report of the Zoning Enforcement Officer. (nothing)

-Review of Zoning Activities Log. (nothing)

6. SITE PLAN APPLICATION – Submitted by Orange Land Development LLC For the construction of a mixed-use Transit Oriented Development. The subject property is an 8.091-acre site located beyond the eastern end of Salemme Lane. The subject property is shown as “0 Marsh Hill Road,” containing 8.091 acres, on Map #2369 on file at the Orange Town Clerk’s office, and is designated by the Orange Assessor as Map/Block/Lot 3-1- 1.

An APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF SOIL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL MEASURES has also been submitted in conjunction with this project.

Discussion:

Decorative elements added that gave the building more balance.

PUBLIC HEARING

*7. APPLICATION FOR RE-SUBDIVISION – Submitted by Orange Land Development LLC for property on Marsh Hill Road (Assessor’s Map/Block/Lot 3-1- 1) and Salemme Lane that comprises a total of approximately 8.091 acres. The property is located to the east of Marsh Hill Road and to the east of Salemme Lane. The application seeks to divide the property into five lots in connection with the construction of a mixed-use Transit Oriented Development.

For further discussion and adjustments to the plans click on Video on Demand (under OGAT) on this site and find the Sept. 20 TPZC  link. 

Notes In A Nutshell: Sept. 14 Board of Selectmen’s Meeting

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Sep 142016
 

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-03-35-pmThe Orange Board of Selectmen met at Town Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 14, which included a rather large audience.

Following are notes of what happened.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mitch Goldblatt gave a tribute to the late Wilda Hamerman, A former State Rep. and member of the Orange Board of Selectmen who grew his interest in politics.

Jim Zeoli spoke highly of the late Estelle Marren, stating she was a wonderful kindergarten teacher and a lifelong friend.

The Orange Country Fair is this weekend, starting with a pickup truck pull Friday night. The Satellite food tent will be open Friday night.

No Farmers’ Market this Thursday.

Town pool will be closed during the fair.

NEW BUSINESS

To consider and act on the request to hold Race Brook School’s Monster Bash and 5K Dash Theresa Fitol, RBS Race Coordinator

June road race was postponed and the Halloween fair are combined now to make a big and exciting Halloween event.

Oct. 22 event begins at 2 p.m.

Residents along the race route are asked to decorate their homes.

They also request a banner to be hung over Orange Center Road for 2 weeks.

Unanimously approved

To consider and act on the request to hold a block party in the South Greenbrier Drive and Burning Tree Drive neighborhood 

Sept 24th 2-8 p.m. (rain date Sept. 25)

Unanimously approved.

To consider and act on the request to hold a block party in the Rainbow Trail, Red Fox and Rail Fence neighborhood 

Unanimously approved.

To consider and act on the Board of Selectmen 2015-2016 Annual Report 

Unanimously approved

To consider and act on the request to use bond project contingency funds for the completion of road paving project – Robert Hiza, Town Engineer

The expenditures went a little over budget, so $110,000 is needed to complete the project in the Ridge Road area.

Roads that were earmarked for work had been approved and the bond oversight committee recommended it.

Approved.

To consider and act on the Governmental Entity Certificate of Resolution between the Town of Orange and TD Bank 

Unanimously approved

To consider and act on the assignment of lease from the Estate of Janet Livingston to Nicholas Campos and Kaetlynn Sobocinski concerning property know as 359 Sybil Street, Orange, Connecticut

Janet Livingston passed away, so the board has to consent to the reassignment of the lease of the land.

Unanimously approved

To consider and act on the request to approve the tax refunds for the month of September in the amount of $5,054.86 

Unanimously approved

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-12-05-pmTo consider and act on the request to approve New England Men’s Health Initiative 5K

Eli’s Mustache Dash will begin at Eli’s Restaurant up Old Tavern, Lambert, Wellington, Rolling Ridge, then return to Eli’s, etc. It will include a fundraiser for the Amity boys and girls cross country teams.

Will raise money for the Initiative that raises the awareness for men’s cancer issues.

Police will keep 1 lane of traffic open for traffic.

They will notify residents in areas where they may be effected.

(I will find out the date and post it later)

Unanimously approved

COMMITTEES

Capital Planning – Selectman Okenquist — nothing really going on yet.

Pension Board – Selectman Goldblatt — Plan went up 1.6%, however the yearly valuation came out and there was a —.75% reduction. If the “assumption” rate is lowered the costs for the town and police department will go up. Pension plans have been closed for quite the past 16 years or more. 

Watch this section on OGAT Video on Demand for a better understanding. 

Bond Construction Oversight – Selectman Goldblatt — the Derby Milford Road bridge replacement will cost around $4.4 million. Around 50% will be reimbursed by the state. There is no money from the town in place at this time. Pool locker room repairs, School parking lots, and work at the library still need to be done. If everything pans out, the bridge work could begin in 2017 and last about 5 months.

Watch this section on OGAT Video on Demand for a better understanding. 

Close Regular Meeting convene into Executive Session

EXECUTIVE SESSION 

Close Executive Session and convene into the Regular Meeting

2016 – 2019 Proposed Labor Agreement between the Town and the Supervisors Union 

unanimous

2016 – 2019 Proposed Labor Agreement between the Town and the Clerical/Town Employees Union 

unanimous

2016 – 2020 Proposed Labor Agreement between the Town and the Highway Union 

unanimous

2016-2019 Proposed Labor Agreement between the Town and Police Union 

unanimous 

Proposed Memorandum of Agreement between the Orange Police Department and the Police Union related to pay and benefits for Lateral Hires 

unanimous

Proposed Memorandum of Agreement between the Orange Police Department and the Police Union regarding eligibility for Promotional Examinations, involving Police Officers including Lateral Hires 

unanimous

Discussion regarding the hours for the Assistant Director OVNA Position

from 37.5 to 40 hours

unanimous

To consider and act on the 2016 – 2019 Proposed Labor Agreement between the Town and the Supervisors Union  (enclosure)

Adjourn Regular Meeting

Aug 162016
 

TP&ZThe Orange Town Plan and Zoning Commission will meet at Town Hall tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Following is the agenda:

1. Review of the Minutes from the August 2, 2016 and August 9, 2016 meetings. (not yet available)

2. Old Business.

Buttonball property has shown no real progress. A fence is scheduled to be installed. All debris on property was cleaned up and put into a truck – the truck remains on the property.

3. New Business.

4. Report of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

Dunkin Donuts building is framed and moving forward.

Recreation Showroom building that will be an “eye care business” is going along very well. retaining pond came out great.

The Tractor Supply business is nearly finished. Landscaping was done. The sign on Indian River actually could have been raised another 15 feet making it more visible.

-Review of Zoning Activities Log.

TP&Z5. SITE PLAN APPLICATION – Submitted by Orange Land Development LLC For the construction of a mixed-use Transit Oriented Development. The subject property is an 8.091-acre site located beyond the eastern end of Salemme Lane. The subject property is shown as “0 Marsh Hill Road,” containing 8.091 acres, on Map #2369 on file at the Orange Town Clerk’s office, and is designated by the Orange Assessor as Map/Block/Lot 3-1- 1. An APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF SOIL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL MEASURES has also been submitted in conjunction with this project

Several representatives were available to speak about the application.

Very little changes have been made to the master site plan.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 7.42.20 PMSalemme Lane will be expanded to 28-feet wide. Water main will be brought in.

(See Orange Live’s Coverage from their presentation at the Police Commission meeting)

Plans include a Yale-Orange Campus pedestrian connection.

This project includes the total reconstruction of Salemme Lane at their cost.

Storm drainage … The retention pond will accommodate run off and storm water.

The presentation was interrupted when the public hearing session began at 8 p.m. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS *(2)

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 9.32.48 PM* 6. APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTION, PERMIT OR USE – Submitted by property owner West Haven-OAK St. L.L.C. For property known as 858 Oakwood Road. The application is submitted as per Section 383-26 I. (3) (a) and (b). The proposal is for the construction of a 40’ x 30’ barn to be used for storage and equipment to support an organic farm operation. A larger ground coverage and additional height is requested.

(This is George “Doc” Whitney’s former homestead)

Bill Berletti said his daughter Stephanie has experience working at Organic Farms and plans to open one in Orange.

Chairman Clark said the plans should be prepared by an architect and that was not presented.

Doc Whitney had a Garage that was destroyed by a tree that came down so all that remains is a cement slab. A new building would replace it.

Stephanie would start out using 1.5 acres of open land for her farm.

Ground testing has been done and the soil passed the test for an organic operation.

The future involves selling to local restaurants and perhaps farm stands.

The application with one exception (the missing paperwork) was unanimously approved.

— Back to the Train Station Property —

tp&Z*7. APPLICATION FOR RE-SUBDIVISION – Submitted by Orange Land Development LLC for property on Marsh Hill Road (Assessor’s Map/Block/Lot 3-1- 1) and Salemme Lane that comprises a total of approximately 8.091 acres. The property is located to the east of Marsh Hill Road and to the east of Salemme Lane. The application seeks to divide the property into five lots in connection with the construction of a mixed-use Transit Oriented Development.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) involvement and requirements seem to be complicating the matters at hand as the Commissioners are questioning the reasons for dividing the land and why the buildings are being constructed as they are.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 7.45.30 PMUp to five individuals could own different lots within the development.

Chairman Walter Clark suggested Town Attorney Vin Marino look over the documents prior to the Commission making any decisions on the matter.

Attorney Steven Studer representing Dichello Distributors said he believes the subdivision plans meet the town zoning regulations, and the TODD portion also complies with the town’s requirements.

The 2 hour discussion became rather involved. — for the complete interaction, go to the Video on Demand link under our OGAT button — and look for the Aug. 16 TP&Z Commission meeting video.

 

Notes In A Nutshell: Orange Police Commission

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Aug 102016
 

Orange Police Headquarters

Orange Police Headquarters

The Orange Police Commission met on Monday Aug. 9 at Police Headquarters. 

Following are notes from that meeting.

Traffic Authority

Orange Train Station Complex — Tom Daley, Ed Crowley presenting. 

Daley showed the commissioners the the plans that were previously presented with minimal modifications. He said it received the Zoning Commission’s approval, and now they have to go before the Town Plan & Zoning Commission with the site plan.

He said there were no changes to the plan, but he needed the Police Chief’s signature before he could present to the TP&Z.

For our Orange Live readers who’ve been following this, the part of the train station plans he’s talking about involves a mixed use building with 200 1 and 2 bedroom (rental) residential units, retail area, parking for residents, a road that goes to Yale campus making it easier for Yale employees to access the future Orange Train Station. A portion of the 5-story parking garage also has a dedicated area for residents.

A circular driveway can be used for drop offs and pick ups. There also is a taxi area, and a 566 parking space commuter parking lot.

The developers are working with a property owner for the use of a tiny strip of land so they can add a two lane exit to the plans. 

Daley said he was going before the TP&Z next week and the Board of Selectmen this week.

He said the CT Department of Transportation now has an RFP (request for proposal) out and a consultant is doing an environmental impact study.

So, when will all of this building begin?

The State has to build the train platform before any of the residential construction can begin (Phase 1). Marsh Hill Road will be widened a little and the road will be re-striped.

He said they’ve been working on this since 2000 and hope to break ground by 2017, but with so many factors in play on the state side, he can’t give a definitive answer now.

The commission UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED the plans, and Chief Gagne signed the paperwork. 

Traffic Light

Gagne informed the commission that the state is working on a left turn on Route 34 East at Baldwin Road and a traffic light would be installed in 2018.

Former Staples Building

Fuss and O’Neil ran their plans by Chief Gagne which showed they would not make changes to the parking lot since the proposed medical offices will draw about as much traffic as the store did.

Crosswalk

A resident requested a crosswalk be put on Orange Center Road at High Plains Drive.

During the commission discussion, Chief Gagne said there’s not a strong pedestrian usage, there are no sidewalks and there is a crosswalk just 2/10 of a mile down the road. It doesn’t meet the state parameters and there isn’t a lot of demand for it, so the commission would not be recommending it to the state. 

Police Commission

Asst. Chief Tony Cuozzo presented the department’s activities for the month of July. 

He said in July several cars were entered and rummaged through. During this spree, ONE home was entered, a laptop was taken and the car stolen. (No locations provided for any of these incidents)

He added that on Sunday, Aug. 8, a car was stolen on Estelle Court. Luckily it was equipped with OnStar and quickly located.

income

A total of $293.55 was raised from the sale of reports, permits, fingerprints, etc.

Stop The Presses! Orange Plan and Zoning Votes On Route 34 Winery Application

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Aug 022016
 

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.00.21 PMThe 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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 9.27.32 PM6. 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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 9.24.40 PM8. 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

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.03.43 PM* 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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.08.25 PMFire 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 Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.39.17 PMproposal.

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.24.40 PMHe 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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 8.45.19 PMAll 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.