WATERTOWN — The Planning and Zoning Commission, meeting Wednesday, May 6, closed three Public Hearings and later took action, approving all three applications.
The commission also reviewed and approved a site plan modification for Ten Acre Mall and denied a text amendment to allow organic composting facilities in the IR (Industrial Restricted) zone.
Attorney Thomas Lynch joined the virtual meeting as a representative for Grillo Services LLC, which had requested the text amendment change for organic composting in the IR zone.
The Public Hearing on this application had been closed January 8, when several members of the public had spoken against the application, including an property owner adjacent to the land that would have been used for the operation if the text amendment were approved and if the commission then approved the use of that specific property in a separate application.
Administrator for Land Use/Zoning Enforcement Officer Mark Massoud reminded commissioners that in addition to the general public who had spoken out in dissent, the commission had also received a dissenting opinion from the Economic and Development Commission.
The adjacent property owner also submitted a lengthy report on several of the issues surrounding the proposed use as submitted by the law firm Carmody and Torrance.
During discussion of the proposal, commissioners expressed concern that the text amendment would apply to the entire IR zone, although Mr. Lynch pointed out commissioners could approve the use in the zone while still having an opportunity to deny the specific location.
At the time of the vote, there was some initial confusion over whether or not the commission could vote to deny the text amendment.
Mr. Massoud said the guidance of the town attorney was that the commission would have to motion to approve, and then vote no on the resolution and, with that cleared up, the commission voted against the amendment, with six voting no and one voting yes.
Earlier in the meeting, the commission closed two Public Hearings that had been held over from the previous meeting, then held a third Public Hearing and closed that one as well. They swiftly voted to approve all three applications.
The first was a request from Blasius Motors for a site plan and special permit to utilize property of less than five acres for a new and used automobile dealership, to permit new automobile sales and to approve a site plan modification for the property, located at 669 Straits Tpke.
The second was a text amendment to zoning regulations in the B-O district, section 21.4, to amend the maximum impervious surface coverage from 40% to 70%.
The third was a resubdivision of an existing subdivision lot on Loop Road.
Milton Grew was present to represent R&D Associates of Stamford requesting a site plan modification for Ten Acre Mall, located at 639 Straits Tpke. The plan is to subdivide the former Kmart building into smaller retail spaces, to add a covered walkway on the plaza’s west side and to add a loading dock on the rear of the building.
Mr. Grew explained there has been no interest for leasing the space as it currently is, with 40,000 square feet on the main level and another 12,000 square feet in a partial basement. There has been interest expressed by smaller retailers.
The plan presented shows the larger space subdivided into six tenant spaces, with three larger spaces and three smaller spaces. Each would have its own entrance and the covered walkway would allow shoppers to move more freely between the six spaces.
A potential larger tenant who might occupy the space near the north side of the building did express interest in having easy access to the north side parking lot, which has traditionally been under-utilized when the site was a Kmart.
The site plan modification was approved unanimously.
In other action, the commission moved to a Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 3, a new application for a zone change for property located on Munson Road. The application is to change that portion of the property zoned R-90 to R-70 to conform with the remainder of the property.
Commissioners also approved an application from Attorney Franklin Pilicy to add parking at 235 Main St. to meet zoning requirements for 16 spaces.
The commission also approved an application for a site plan modification to construct a two-story addition to Theraplant LLC, 856 Echo Lake Rd.
The addition will consist of a 15,000-square-foot addition, two floors and a basement, for a total additional area of 45,000 square feet.