Monroe zoning commission denies amendment on excavation and filling permits

Monroe Town Hall is at 7 Fan Hill Road in Monroe. Photo by John Babina

MONROE, CT — The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously denied a petition to eliminate some waiver exceptions of conditions under section 6.4.23 of the town’s regulations for excavation and filling permits.

In April, Fairfield District Superior Court Judge Dale W. Radcliffe ruled that a commission approval of a permit for extensive site work at 64 Cambridge Drive was invalid, because the regulation provides no specific criteria to allow for waivers granted to the applicant, Astro Land Holdings LLC and Spacely Land Holdings LLC.

In response to the court decision, Solli Engineering LLC, which represents the applicant, had petitioned the commission to eliminate the waiver exceptions as conditions under section 6.4.23 of the town’s regulations.

In a meeting last Thursday, the Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission approved a resolution saying, “the Commission determined that a comprehensive review of Section 6.4 was the appropriate avenue to take at this time and does not support this amendment.”

Arnold Karp, managing partner of the LLCs that own the industrial sites at 64 Cambridge and 4 Independence drives, has said the site work to restore the damaged wetlands will address violations by the previous owner, making way for commercial buildings and providing positive tax revenue for the town.

When the petition to the zoning regulations text amendment came before the commission, Commissioner Leon Ambrosey said he believed the issue should have been taken up by the subcommittee before coming to the full commission.

The subcommittee scheduled a special meeting on July 17, during which Chairman Michael O’Reilly agreed with Ambrosey that a more thorough review by the town was needed.

Chris Pawlowski, a professional engineer with Solli Engineering, represented the applicant at the meeting. “I can’t say that I’m not disappointed, but I understand,” he said of the decision for the town engineer to do a review.

Judge Radcliffe had found that only the Zoning Board of Appeals could have granted the waivers when the zoning commission approved the excavation and fill permit, so aside from a petition to modify the zoning regulations, Karp also has an application before the ZBA for the permit waivers.

Joel Z. Green, the attorney for Peter Metropoulos, trustee to The Thomas C. and Stella Maganas 1988 Family Trust, the owner of 36 Timothy Hill Road in Monroe, who appealed the commission’s approval of the permit, leading to Radcliff’s ruling, had urged commissioners to do a thorough study of the regulations, rather than approve the text amendment.

The conditions Solli Engineering proposed eliminating were:

  • No artificial slope greater than twenty-seven degrees (27°) to the horizontal (or maximum two (2) feet horizontal to one (1) foot vertical) shall be created.
  • No change in contour shall be made within twenty-five (25) feet of any property line.
  • No artificial slope greater than fourteen degrees (14°) to the horizontal (or maximum four feet horizontal to one foot vertical) shall be created within fifty feet of any property line.
  • No artificial slope greater than fourteen degrees (14°) to the horizontal shall be created within fifty feet of any street line.

Under a section with restrictions on sorting, grading, crushing or other machinery for treatment or processing of material, the amendment would have eliminated the line: All permitted such activities regardless of permitted location shall not include, permit or involve materials from offsite locations.

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