The Town of Stratford Planning Commission

Conducted a special meeting on Monday October 4, 2021 via GoToMeeting

First discussion was the petition by the Stratford Economic Development Commission seeking to amend Section 7.1.7.2 of zoning regulations on outdoor dining.  Susmitha Attota, Town of Stratford Planning, explained that the proposal meets the POCD’s placemaking objectives. Maureen Whelan, Environmental Supervisor from the town Health Department, explained that the cmTent noise ordinance prohibits loud music being played between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7a.m. She noted that noise ordinance complaints are handled by both Health Department. and the Police Department.

Mary Dean, Economic Development, stated that Zoning. has been contacted with complaints by only a handful of residents. Harold Watson, Chairman, suggested that the Police Dept. be given decibel monitors.

Dean explained that the plan is to have various Town departments work with businesses regarding the noise levels.  Joseph Gerics stated that he did some research and found that neighboring communities do not allow it (outdoor dining with music). Ms. Dean replied that she called the Economic Development directors in those same communities and got a very different response: they are silent on it, but none prohibit it.

Jim Benson noted that the Economic Development Commission spent a great deal of time on this, and determined that a majority of restaurant owners in Town would like controlled entertainment in their establishments. Aurelia expressed concerns regarding the enforcement of noise ordinances.  Debra Lamberti noted that sometimes music is too loud in a restaurant for diners to converse.  Whelan noted noise monitors need to be checked at the address of the complainant – NOT the location of the restaurant.

Attota stated that the Planning & Zoning office maintains a log of telephone calls for enforcement related complaints.  Chairman Watson accepted a motion by Dan Senft to approve the proposal and send to Zoning.Commission a favorable recommendation with the condition that it be re-visited in one year. Lamberti seconded the motion, which carried 4-1, with Gerics opposed.

Petition of 24 SurfAvenue LLC seeking to amend the zoning regulations by creating a new Section 30 titled “Surf Avenue Housing Zone” (SAHZ) and seeking a change of zone for 24  Surf Avenue property from RM-1 to the proposed SAHZ.

Attota explained that this project is consistent with the objectives of the POCD. Attorney Tim Hollister, from 24 Surf Avenue LLC, gave a brief overview of the project, noting the property is not in a flood zone.  Attota stated she and Town Engineer John Casey questioned evacuation in case of flooding . Attorney Hollister discussed parking space allocation, with Lamberti stating the need for more parking spaces.  Aurelia questioned the project density and expressed parking concerns.  Chairman Watson suggested an expert be hired to determine density and parking. Per Mr. Rose, the building height is 50′. Upon discussion, Chairman Watson accepted a motion by Gerics to recommend to the zoning commission hire an expert regarding traffic, stormwater, and public safety. Aurelia seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Next on the agenda was a Petition by Bal Harbour, LLC and Bal Harbour, II LLC (a property management company from Bal Harbor, FL) seeking to amend Section 8 of zoning regulations 011 “Waterfront Business District” (WF).

Attorney Paul Sobel gave an overview of the project and parcels in waterfront (WF) zoning.  Attota explained that she, along with Planning & Zoning Administrator Jay Habansky, Enviromnental Conservation Superintendent Kelly Kerrigan and CT DEEP, question changing the distance of impervious area from 75 feet to 50 feet of coastal resources.

All agreed the current standards should remain. Per Attota, §5.3.2 gives more clarity on the layout of units. Anthony Salce stated in 2008 the building was designed to tie-in with the existing structure, adding the current plan does not extend beyond the existing pavement. Upon discussion, Mr. Watson accepted a motion by Gerics to send this application with a favorable recommendation to the Zoning Commission with the following conditions:

  • Reject the language changing buildable acre to 40,000 square feet
  • Reject the change of distance of impervious surfaces from coastal resources from 75-feet to 50-feet
  • Consider a 10% affordable housing component
  • Reject the language change in Section 3 that redefines “residential use” to “mixed use development with a residential use”
  • Minimize impacts to natural resources by considering the inclusion of zoning guidance by Connecticut Coastal Management Act (CCMA), as indicated in the staff

Mr. Aurelia seconded the motion, which carried 4-0, with Mr. Senft absent for the vote.

2 replies
  1. Bridget White-Scheu
    Bridget White-Scheu says:

    I am opposed to changing the zoning in Stratford to allow music outside with no boundaries. At the very least we need a time perimeter. This is a sleepy neighborhood with families and children. Reasonable exceptions must be made by restaurant owners. They knew the vibe of the area they invested in. To override that is a money grab and disrespectful to the customers that I assume they hope to keep.

    Reply

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