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Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting Summary 04/23/24 PUBLIC HEARING, MAY 28TH, 7:30 PM TOWN HALL

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Goshen’s Planning & Zoning Commission welcomed the town’s new Town Planner Janell Mullen and Zoning Enforcement Officer Spencer Musselman in April / Eric Warner
Eric Warner

New members were welcomed aboard Goshen’s Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC). Jared Dennis, a Vice President of the Goshen-based Fay & Wright Excavating Inc. rock crushing company, was welcomed as the PZC’s new alternate. Janell Mullen was welcomed as the new Town Planner and Spencer Musselman was welcomed as the new Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO). Mullen, a Sharon native, previously served as the regional planner at the Northwest Hills Council of Governments in 2019. She currently serves in five municipalities including Cornwall, Goshen, Falls Village, Morris, and Warren in various planning roles. Musselman, a Goshen native, additionally serves as the Land Use Administrator for Litchfield.

Chairman Jonathan Carroll noted that the PZC, Inland Wetlands and Water Courses Commission, and other commissions requested to be involved with the candidate selection process for the Town Planner and ZEO with the Board of Selectmen. Carroll claimed this request was not listened to and expressed disappointment with not being involved in this process. First Selectmen Todd Carusillo later claimed in Public Comment that Carroll’s comments were inappropriate and that selectmen did respond to Carroll’s emails for the candidate selection. “The Planning Zoning, Inland Wetlands, and [Zoning Board of Appeals] were notified about interview meetings and the only chairperson that responded was Dan Kobylenski from ZBA,” Carusillo explained. “Both Inland Wetlands and PZC did not respond for three weeks… Just to protect the selectmen, Dexter and Scott and my office, I don’t appreciate you smearing my office or the selectmen.” Carroll claimed he did respond and requested a meeting but Carusillo denied this. Carroll hopes to create a better system for boards and commissions to better cooperate. “We all want to work together to achieve the common goal for our town,” said Carroll. “I just think that open communication and actually listening to somebody and, whether you agree or you disagree, being able to have that conversation and not get upset or heated and elevated or talk down to people or whatever it might be is not the appropriate thing to do. It’s not benefiting us as a town or us as individuals.”

Sculptor Sabin Howard requested to use two barns at 777 North Street as artist studios. However, he couldn’t submit a home-based business application to the town since he lives in Kent and doesn’t want to construct a residential home on the property. Additionally an art studio wasn’t allowed in the zoning area the property is located. Connor suggested Howard and his attorney Charles Ebersol Jr. propose an amendment change to Article 3, Section 3.3.2 of the zoning regulations in order to allow the art studios to be constructed via special permit. PZC Vice Chairperson Lu-Ann Zbinden motioned to accept the proposed amendment and set a public hearing for the art studios on Tuesday, May 28th. This was unanimously approved.

Connor met with Public Works Supervisor Garret Harlow to review a new proposed storage facility site application at 190 Sharon Turnpike. The new facility is 35 feet smaller than the original 160 feet long design , It would be still be equipped a septic tank, pole lights on the asphalt driveway, flood lights on the building, and a row of evergreen trees to block the facility visually from the road. Lights would be motion censored. Zbinden motioned to host a public hearing for the proposed storage facility on Tuesday, May 28th. This was unanimously approved. Multiple residents expressed disapproval regarding the storage facility. Sarah Leonard believed the application shouldn't have been discussed since it wasn’t listed in the meeting’s agenda and no public works needs assessment has been received yet. Marissa Wright additionally expressed disapproval with the storage facility due to the lack of prior notification. Carusillo claimed that the board of selectmen voted on April 19th to have the new site plan at 190 Sharon Turnpike discussed with the PZC. That meeting, Harlow suggested moving forward with the permitting process for the 190 Sharon Turnpike property and to discuss the smaller facility during the PZC meeting. “I honestly think we should move forward with that just so we get our approval,” said Carusillo during the April 19th selectmen meeting. “It makes the property more valuable for the future when, if in October, we sell it to a third party or to the land trust after it’s appraised… I think, the town’s interest we should get it approved so it’s better for us.” A feasibility study will be conducted on the backend of the Goshen Fire Company to determine if it’s viable to construct the proposed storage addition to the building. The 190 Sharon Turnpike facility is a back-up plan in case the feasibility study doesn’t work out. Both selectmen Dexter Kinsella and Scott Olson agreed to this plan.