MONROE, CT — Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Chapman issued two cease and desist orders barring the stockpiling of fill material on industrial property in the Pepper Street Business Park and at 10 and 36 Main St.
The actions stem from a disagreement in the interpretation of the town’s regulation on the issue. The developer’s attorney contended no permit was needed and, after obtaining a legal opinion giving them discretion, Planning and Zoning commissioners decided a permit application must be filed.
Chapman said he and Town Planner Rick Schultz visited the sites and found the developer was stockpiling fill, so he issued the orders to stop the activity.
The two letters, dated Sept. 16, were addressed to Arnold Karp, managing partner of Astro Land Holdings and Spacely Land Holdings, two LLCs that own the business park properties at 64 Cambridge and 4 Independence drives.
Please be advised that you are operating without a permit in Violation of the Monroe Zoning Regulations as determined by the Planning and Zoning Commission:
- Zoning Articles 4.3, 6.4.15, 7 and 8.
- Operating without a valid permit and in excess of authorized land use activities.
- Non-permitted import and onsite deposit of fill materials of unknown content and origin.
You are hereby ordered to immediately Cease and Desist the activities (import of material) identified as a Zoning violation.
Chapman also notified Karp of his right to appeal the cease and desist orders should he disagree with his decision. The Zoning Board of Appeals would hear any appeal.
On Monday, Karp declined to comment.
Failure to comply with the orders may result in fines, penalties or other costs. It could also lead to a referral of the matter to the Town Council with recommendations to initiate legal action.
History of the issue
According to minutes from the commission’s June 3 meeting, a letter written by Stephen Finn, Karp’s attorney, was read into the record. Finn said the developer could get clean fill and wanted to stockpile it on 64 Cambridge Drive, so once town land use approvals are obtained, work to fill a massive hole on the site could begin.
Finn said he believed a permit was not needed to stockpile materials on the site.
Commissioners said they believed the town’s regulation was ambiguously written. Attorney Barbara Schellenberg, the commission’s legal counsel, advised it was up to commissioners to decided whether a permit was needed.
But Commissioner Leon Ambrosey said he wanted the legal opinion to be in writing.
Kevin Solli, founder and principal engineer of Solli Engineering, was present on behalf of the owner.
“He explained they believe the regulations allow them to stockpile temporarily,” the minutes say. “He noted their goal is to be transparent with the Commission. He advised the sources of the clean fill would include Wilton, Fairfield University, and Sacred Heart University. He noted the material is being reviewed by DEEP to certify it is clean fill.”
“Mr. Solli explained a fill permit will be sought before any of the fill is used to fill the site,” the minutes continue. “The Commission was agreeable with the temporary stockpiling by majority.”
On Sept. 2, after the written legal opinion determined it was up the commission to decide whether a permit had to be applied for, the commission unanimously decided that a permit application was needed, according to those meeting minutes.
The commission also discussed updating the language of the regulation to make it more clear.