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Land Use Comm Report -- January 2017

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Report of the RTM Land Use Committee - January 9, 2017--Final

The Land Use Committee met on Monday at Town Hall. All Districts were represented.

Item #1 – Serena Totman Bechtel – to be appointed an alternate member of the Historic District Commission, for a term expiring March 31, 2020

Ms. Bechtel noted that she had considerable experience with historic preservation issues, with her family being involved in the preservation of the New Haven train station

She said she had moved to Greenwich some 13 years ago and, since that time, felt that a lot of the character of the town had disappeared.

While she has not attended an HDC meeting, she has attended a number of P&Z meetings and has read HDC minutes and about some of the recent demolitions.

Ms. Bechtel lives in Brookside Park, near where a significant historic house had been recently demolished. She believes that the town should give much more advance notice, as well as better information and education on historic preservation issues.

The vote was 12-0-0.

Item #2 – Resolution to Amend Term Expiration Dates for the Flood and Erosion Control Board

John Eddy, Chair of the Appointments Committee, said that his proposal was not yet in order to be considered so would be postponed to the RTM’s March meeting. The Land Use Committee did not vote on this item.

Item #3 – Nicholas Macri – to be appointed as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, for a term expiring March 31, 2019.

Mr. Macri is involved with proposed changes to the R6 zone. He was grilled about the upcoming revisions to the POCD and questioned if the ‘new’ version would have more ‘teeth’. He was also asked about grade plane manipulation about which he expressed great concern, citing “unintended consequences.”

The vote was 11-0-1; District 1 abstained.

Item #4 – Elliott R. Benton – to be reappointed as a member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, for a term expiring March 31, 2021

Item #5 – Norma Kerlin - to be reappointed as a member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, for a term expiring March 31, 2021

Item #6 – Joseph E. Rogers - to be reappointed as a member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, for a term expiring March 31, 2021

Item #7 – Stephan Skoufalos - to be reappointed as a member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, for a term expiring March 31, 2021

The four candidates for reappointment to the IWWA were interviewed together. All were impressive with considerable relevant experience. Mr. Rogers noted that it was important to educate Greenwich citizens about the importance of wetlands. The state had passed wetlands legislation in 1972 (and Greenwich in 1973) but residents still do not appreciate the impacts from flooding, leaching from septic systems, etc. He felt that more effort was needed to educate the public on these issues. Mr. Skoufalos noted that because wetlands matters were first to be addressed in the land use approval process, the IWWA was frequently cited in media accounts. Mr. Benton said that Aquarion Water Company had not done an adequate job educating Greenwich citizens about water conservation. When questioned on the issue of fines, he said that the town needed to do a better job. Out-of-area contractors frequently pleaded ignorance. The level of fines, even at $1,000/day, was deemed inadequate in the context of a multi-million dollar project.

When questioned about the IWWA staff, the applicants were unanimous in their praise for the professionalism and cooperation of the IWWA staff. There was a discussion about when a homeowner might know there were wetlands on the property. Because the determination of wetlands is soil-based, homeowners need more information and education on this matter.

The vote on each candidate was taken separately. Each vote was 12-0-0.

Item # 8 – Peter Linderoth – to be appointed an alternate member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, for a term expiring March 31, 2020

Mr. Linderoth works with Save the Sound, previously at Bruce Museum, has been a Greenwich resident for 6 years, attended the November IWWA meeting and sits on a state committee with Pat Sesto, IWWA Director. He is very enthusiastic about becoming a member of the IWWA.

The vote on Mr. Linderoth was 12-0-0.