SOUTHBURY — The Zoning Commission hesitated during its meeting on Thursday, November 12, but then agreed to a proposal to allow construction of three patios to continue at 775 Main St. South, Southbury Green, even though the work requires a text change and site plan modification.
Agreeing to the plan to remove the cease-and-desist order and to take up the application at its next meeting allows the developer to continue construction while the weather is still warm enough. It also allows the applicant to move forward with plans to lease out the space to restaurants who are now demanding patio space prior to signing any leases.
The property had been under a cease-and-desist order, mailed out Monday, November 9, to the property owner. Engineer Mark Lancor, representing the applicant, explained there had been a misunderstanding about what type of work could be done without obtaining further permissions.
He said the developer had a restaurant ready to sign, but could not proceed with the cease-and-desist order in place, and the restaurant would not sign without a patio to use for outdoor dining.
Town Attorney Jeffrey Tinley, who was there to comment on proposed sign regulations, agreed to the compromise that would allow the construction to continue, saying the commission would still review and potentially approve the application at its next meeting, while “suspending” enforcement of the violation.
Both Mr. Tinley and Chair Gary J. Giroux made clear that the applicant was moving forward on the project at its own risk, and there was a possibility the work would not be allowed, in which case, the applicant would have to remove the patios.
Commissioners reviewed the plans in detail and agreed they would likely vote in favor of the text change and modifications. “Frankly, I wish the owner had come to use sooner,” Mr. Giroux said.
The project still has to go to the Planning Commission for its review. Mr. Tinley said he would attend that meeting to explain the situation to that commission.
In other action, commissioners reviewed proposed sign regulation changes. They also noted the receipt of a zoning permit application for a directional sign at the corner of Heritage Road and Hillhouse Road.
There is a definition for directional signs in the current zoning regulations, but use of a directional sign is usually for safety purposes, commissioners noted.
Mr. Giroux questioned the safety purpose of the Heritage Village sign, as it was likely anyone approaching the intersection already knew where they were and where they were going, unlike in other locations where it may not be clear and confused drivers might attempt unsafe turns to get back to a business, for example.
Due to the likelihood the December meeting might end up being by remote access, commissioners agreed to delay holding a Public Hearing on proposed changes to the sign regulations and to use the additional time to incorporate changes for directional signs.