By Elaine Jones
At its Sept. 22 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission heard and approved two applications for construction of barns-garages, and a special permit modification to expand operating hours at a farm store. It also discussed the possible transfer of land between the Granby Land Trust and a developer to improve access to land trust property.
James Wood presented an application for a special permit to construct a barn/garage in excess of 1,000 square feet at 97 Peterson Road. The garage will be 400 feet back from the street and 200 feet from the nearest home to the south. The pole-barn/garage will be of Morton design, painted to match the house, fully insulated with a 12-foot-high front door. Wood stated that the structure would be used for personal storage of yard and farm equipment, a personal tractor, snow removal equipment, recreation equipment, boat, camper, antique car storage, maintenance and shop area, and the storage of orchard produce.
Commission members expressed concern on the size of the barn and its impact in the residential setting. It was also a concern that the space could be used in a business capacity. After discussing their concerns, commission members agreed that a portion of the building would be used as a barn as defined by the zoning regulations and, by a 6-0 vote, approved the application with the following condition; the building shall be used for residential and agricultural purposes connected to and associated with the residential home. No business use is allowed.
Ed Lally, PE, representing owner Michael Budlong, presented an application for a special permit to construct a barn/garage in excess of 600 square feet on property located at 48 Cider Mill Heights. He proposed the construction of a 768 square-foot garage on a 1.5-acre lot in an FRD subdivision that will be 92 feet back from the street. The original application was for a building 32’ x 24’. At the hearing, Lally requested that the dimensions be changed to 34’ x 24’. The project had already received a side-yard variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals on Sept. 15 to allow the original placement that was based upon the location of the existing home, septic system and driveway. The side-yard setback will be adjusted to address the increased size of the building. The commission unanimously approved the application.
Becky Clark presented an application to modify an existing Special Permit to expand the days, hours and months in the use of an existing farm store located at Clark Farm at 29 Bushy Hill Road. The current special permit limits the operation of the store during the months of May through December, limits hours of operation from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. excepting Memorial Day through Labor Day when the farm store can remain open until 8:30 p.m. The Clarks have expanded their product offerings and now serve farm-to-table breakfasts, and may serve lunch on weekends. They wish to change the condition as follows: open year round, open no earlier than 8 a.m. close no later than 7:30 p.m., excepting Memorial Day through Labor Day when the Farm Store can remain open until 8:30 p.m. The application was approved for year-round operation and an 8:00 a.m. store opening.
The commission held an informal discussion with Ed Lally and Tom Fredo concerning the Cider Mill Heights subdivision. When phase four of the subdivision was approved, 12 lots were denied for an area of approximately 33 acres. Lally presented a concept for six lots ranging in size from two to eight acres. His proposal included preservation and conservation easements to buffer the lots from the street. He felt there was a market for these larger sized lots. The lots have Farmington Valley Health District approval. The commission appeared to favor the larger size and reducing the number of lots as suggested. The commission also sought assurance that the tree line ridge would be preserved. The land contains 37 acres on top of the hill. The re-subdivision would be designated as build-by-special-permit meaning that any construction would have to be approved by the P&Z through a special permit, public hearing process.
Director of Community Development Fran Armentano discussed access to Granby Land Trust property located along Old Messenger Road. The Land Trust owns 404 acres within the area and holds preservation easements on an additional 180 acres. The trust has been working to acquire improved access to the Old Messenger Road properties. Recently TFHB, LLC, owner of Cider Mill Heights, agreed to give the Granby land Trust one-half-acre of land that is an existing drainage right-of-way extending from Cider Mill Heights Road to the land trust properties. This will greatly improve access to the GLT properties. In exchange, the Granby Land Trust will transfer the existing access to TFHB, but the land will remain designated as preserved open space and building on the property is prohibited. Armentano provided this as information only and no commission action was required.