MONROE — What is the definition of a stockpile and when can it be allowed on a parcel without a permit?
That is the question that seemingly plagued the Planning and Zoning Commission at its Thursday, June 3, meeting. It may be a subject that commissioners will be returning to in the coming weeks.
The issue was raised during correspondence when a letter from Attorney Stephen Finn was read into the record. Mr. Finn, who represents Astro Landholdings, owners of 64 Cambridge and 4 Independence Drs,, wrote that clean fill was available and the company would be accepting such fill and stockpiling it on 64 Cambridge Dr. for future use at 4 Independence Dr.
Mr. Finn referred to a regulation that appears to allow such “temporary” stockpiling as permissible without a permit for filling or excavating.
Chairman Michael O’Reilly said he had spoken with the town’s land use attorney that day, and she told him the regulation was “ambiguous.” She said it was up to the commission to interpret whether or not it applied to this situation.
Commissioner Leon Ambrosey immediately took issue with the assertion that temporary stockpiling is permissible, saying that he knows of specific instances where the town took landowners to court for stockpiling materials without a permit.
He said he wanted to see a written legal opinion before he takes any action on the matter.
Town Planner Rick Schultz agreed the regulation was not well written. He said it was something the commission might want to address at a future regulations subcommittee.
Mr. Ambrosey wondered if something was missing from the regulations, if something had been missed or not transcribed when regulations were updated at some point in the past.
Commissioner Bruno Maini said he was less concerned about stockpiling in this particular instance, as it would be done to store material that would be used to fill a hole the commission wants filled.
He questioned if there was more to the story behind any court cases involving stockpiling; for example, if the material was being stockpiled and then sold, but without any business permit or if it was in excess of the 500 cubic yards of material permitted in a residential zone.
This case, at 64 Cambridgev Dr. and 4 Independence Dr., is special in that the town wants the big hole in the quarry filled as soon as possible with clean fill.
Engineer Kevin Solli, also representing the owners, said the company is currently before the Inland Wetlands Commission with a remediation application. He said he hoped that application would be closed with a favorable ruling in the next few weeks, thus allowing the owner to file a formal application for filling with the Planning and Zoning Commission.
He explained the letter was written to the commission in the hopes of preserving transparency.
Mr. O’Reilly stressed to commissioners that the company is of the opinion that it may stockpile clean fill as of right. No vote would be taken.
In other action, the commission closed a public hearing on a proposed text amendment that would establish a new Route 25 Main Street Design District. One part of the text amendment would allow parcels of two acres or more to apply for a design district; the other part allows parcels of 15 or more acres to apply for multi-family housing.
One such parcel is owned by the applicant, who said it would likely be developed as luxury apartments.
The developer, Continental Properties, agreed to a 10% affordable housing component prior to the meeting. During the meeting, the developer also agreed to reduce the maximum number of two-bedroom units from no more than 65% of the total to 60% of the total.
Gregory Kamedulski explained those parameters would need to stay in place and that the project would not be feasible from an economic standpoint if any additional restrictions were added.
Following the closing of the hearing, the commission agreed to wait until its next meeting before deliberating.
Mr. Schultz said he would create a presentation for commissioners that would explain any potential alternatives. He advised commissioners that he has heard from property owners on Route 111 that they would like to be included in the regulations.
Commissioners have also heard from owners of parcels smaller than two acres that they would like some consideration for the design district part as well.
The commission also learned that the developers of a commercial car park facility at 10 Victoria Dr. may wait to construct an office building on the property until 2023, but would be willing to post the full bond for the entire project.
The developer plans to begin site work on the property within the next few weeks and will construct the smaller guard house, which includes bathroom facilities.
The commission asked that the developer return to the commission to explain the reasoning behind the delay.