P&Z looks at recycling and junk yard regulations

The Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) followed the recommendation of the city attorney’s office in rejecting one proposed change to the zoning regulations, and adopting a modified version of a second proposed change at its Sept. 4 meeting.

The board’s Regulations Subcommittee had recommended adding language to its zoning regulations, stating that recycling plants would be required to comply with certain provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes.

In an administrative summary to the board, City Planner David B. Sulkis wrote that the city attorney’s office recommended that the regulation not include a reference to state statutes. This is because junkyards and other scrap metal processing facilities are not subject to the statute numbers listed in the proposed regulation change.

Based on a recommendation from Sulkis, the board made a motion to approve the language change, and then voted against it, rather than making a motion to reject the change. The result was that this portion of the regulations remains unchanged.

The only public comment came from Tatiana Murphy, treasurer of Caswell Cove Condominium Association, who said the association was concerned about the former recycling plant located adjacent to the condominiums. Murphy said the association wanted regulations that follow state statutes, “so we don’t have a recycling plant there anymore.”

In a related motion, the board adopted changes to its regulations regarding the location of junk yards to bring the city regulations into compliance with state statutes. This proposal received no public comment.

Sulkis said the state statutes have shifted responsibility for determining the location of junk yards from the Planning and Zoning Board to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). He said when the board adopted its current regulations, the authority rested with the P&Z, but several years ago, the state changed that responsibility to the ZBA.

In its draft motion, the subcommittee had recommended adding the numbers for sections of state statutes that it believed applied to this regulation, while also retaining the P&Z board in the wording.

Sulkis said when the city attorney’s office reviewed the proposed wording, it determined the ZBA had current authority. The city attorney also recommended not referencing state statutes, since the board does not enforce them.

The revised regulation has been shifted from Section 10.1.4 to a new section 9.2.5 with this wording: “The Zoning Board of Appeals shall determine whether a proposed junk yard location is suitable.” The new section retained existing wording that specifies the factors the board should take into account in making its decision, such as “the nature and development of surrounding property.”