MIDDLEBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission, meeting Thursday, September 5, approved an application for a zone change at the corner of Park Road and Straits Turnpike, creating a homogenous CA-40 zone.
The commissioners had held the public hearing open from its August meeting, unable to act at that time because 35 days had not passed since the application was filed.
Then, they had heard Attorney James R. Strub, Secor, Cassidy, & McPartland, P.C., explain how the boundaries as described in the regulations bisect the property into two different zones and the intent would be to designate the whole lot as a commercial zone.
The applicant, Straits Crossing LLC, had been in contact with the Middlebury Land Trust, which owns neighboring acreage as open space, and would leave specific features such as a stone wall as they are during development.
Mr. Strub also highlighted wetlands areas that exist on the lot.
As was the case during the August meeting, there were no comments or questions from the public or commission.
The commission also approved an application for non-conforming signage at Westover School, 1237 Whittemore Rd.
As part of work being done on campus, the school would like to update way-finding signage and add two new signs to welcome people to the school.
The proposal is to steer people into the campus using signage, then using interior signs on campus; the latter is not an issue for consideration by the town.
The look of the sign combines the existing architecture of the school with a forward-looking appearance, using stone and aluminum, located at intersections along Whittemore Road at Library Road and South Street.
The signs would be back-lit with acrylic material to create a soft glow.
Terry Smith, chair, confirmed that the signs would be positioned out of the state right of way.
Finally, the commission also approved non-conforming signage at 835 Straits Tpke.
Representatives of Fiduciam Financial Group, the company that will occupy the new building, provided descriptions of the signs and asked to use hook lighting to illuminate the lettering.
Mr. Smith said that the lighting must be fully shielded.
In other business, the commission considered a referral for accessory earth excavation at the town line, at the end of exit 17 from I-84.
Zoning Enforcement Officer Curtis S. Bosco said that an 18-unit housing complex is proposed on the approximately 19-acre lot in Waterbury, within 500 feet of the Middlebury town line.
Commissioner Erika Carrington noted that the site is dominated by solid rock and Mr. Bosco agreed, pointing out that the project would take almost two years, involve blasting and requiring 108 trips per day to remove material.
“This would have a major impact on people,” the ZEO said, noting a similar proposal had been disapproved by the wetlands commission in Waterbury and that decision had been overturned in court for lack of a reason.
That matter is again before that commission and Waterbury’s planning commission.
“This is our one chance [to comment],” Mr. Smith pointed out.
The commission resolved to oppose the application approval until the following were submitted and reviewed: a traffic study, a detailed proposal for blasting and protection of neighboring property and dust control, and a complete site plan proposal for the housing project.