The Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting was held on Monday night. The commission unanimously approved a resubdivision of a half-acre parcel at 285 West Center, 21 Adams St South. The Catholic Church requested the subdivision which is part of a 5-acre lot on which sits the former Assumption Church, Assumption School, a convent, and a rectory. The rectory sits on the half-acre parcel and it will be put on the market.
The town requires 10% of any subdivision be designated as open space. Since 10% of a half-acre is not open space that can be utilized by the town the representatives from the church requested to pay a $2000 fee in lieu of open space. Town regulations allow this fee in lieu of for special circumstances.
In other news, the plan to fill sidewalk gaps and/or add new sidewalks was reviewed. Some of the highlights include adding a bituminous path instead of a sidewalk on the east side of Hillstown Rd which will complement the rural nature of the area, and adding sidewalks to Birch Mountain Rd., Wyllys St., Charter Oak St., and Sheldon Rd. There is no fixed schedule for these additions over the next five years and some will depend on funding from the state or other work being done by utility companies.
Good news for homeowners and bad news for pedestrians is the lack of a requirement to remove snow from a bituminous path.
One member of the commission, Mr. Stebe, who used to ride his bike on Birch Mountain Rd. expressed concern about the feasibility of adding sidewalks next to a narrow, curving road that may have granite close to the surface. Another member, Mr. Bergin, declared a preference for prioritizing the upgrade of sidewalks where children are walking to and from schools.
Over the last 5 years, sections of Avery, Spring, Charter Oak, Center and Edgerton have had upgrades or gap closures. In each neighborhood residents are surveyed to determine if they would prefer removing sidewalks rather than repairing them. Only one neighborhood in town selected removal. Sidewalks have been removed from one side of Wood Hill Rd.
The east side of Broad St. in front of Waddell School has sidewalks. The west side across the street from the school does not. There was a plan to add sidewalks to Broad St. Curiously, sidewalks will not be added to the west side of Broad St. This decision was made in order to discourage the practice of dropping off young children in the morning and having them cross busy Broad St to get to school. It might be a good idea to take additional steps to address this issue before someone gets hurt.
Finally, Raymour & Flanigan submitted a proposal to construct an addition to the warehouse at 61 Chapel Rd. The construction will be green and unobtrusive and the expansion will bring in a few new jobs. It was approved.