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Planning & Zoning Considers Art Studio Special Permit, 190 Sharon Plan Withdrawn (Again), Public Hearing June 25th “Distasteful” Art

The Goshen News - Staff Photo - Create Article
AI-generated image of storage building on wetlands. Plans to build one at 190 Sharon Turnpike have been withdrawn.
Eric Warner & Staff Writer


A public hearing was held to consider a proposed amendment to Goshen’s Zoning Regulations Article 3, Section 3.3.2 and to add a new section This amendment would allow for special permit applications for art studios. Torrington Attorney Brian McCormick introduced the proposal and spoke on behalf of his client, Sabin Howard. He explained that Howard is looking for a property in town with an existing building to use as an art studio only, not a home. Howard previously requested to use two barns at 777 North Street as art studios. McCormick clarified that the studios would not be used for retail use, “We’re not talking about retail use here. We’re not really talking about having an art store. Rather a place where they can create art and perhaps have customers come and look by invitation to look at the work that they’re doing.” McCormick explained that the barns at 777 North Street would be large enough to house an art studio and referenced the existing art studio in West Goshen owned by Danielle Mailer for comparison. Board of Finance member Scott Tillmann suggested that the wording in the amendment be updated to prevent people creating “distasteful” works that can be seen by the public. Following a brief discussion on how the art studio would be addressed once a special permit application is submitted, Shilo Garceau motioned to continue this public hearing to Tuesday, June 25th’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. This was unanimously approved. The PZC will seek a referral on the proposed amendment from the Northwest Hills Council of Governments.

A public hearing was scheduled for a proposed storage facility on 190 Sharon Turnpike this day but Public Works Supervisor Garrett Harlow withdrew the Site Plan Application for this building on Monday, May 13th. After a lengthy discussion on the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development from 2016, the PZC will plan on reviewing other POCD pages in separate special meetings in the future. “I think I’d like to meet before we meet with the public,” said Lu-Ann Zbinden. “This group [should] meet in a special meeting before we even go to public because a lot of what I’m reading here, you wonder what was the public thinking sometimes.” This is intended to ensure the regular PZC meetings won’t go over their scheduled time constraints and will allow review of the POCD in depth. The PZC will further discuss this prospect in the June meeting.

Land Use Enforcement Officer Spencer Musselman suggested improvements for agenda review and distribution. He will send an email to Chairman Jonathan Carroll on the Tuesday the week before monthly meetings with a list of items expected to be on the agenda. He will then send a draft of the agenda to Carroll, Town Planner Janell Mullen, and Land Use Commission Clerk, Lori Clinton, on the Thursday before the monthly meeting. The completed agenda will then be sent to PZC members and be uploaded on the town website later that day. Musselman requested applicants submit forms and other documents in PDF form for a more efficient distribution and upload to the website. This would allow people working out of town to review everything the PZC has.

Justin Watley of the Goshen-based J W Tractor Repair, LLC requested a site plan permit extension to construct a new building on 97 Sharon Turnpike (their current address) to June 15th, 2031. This permit was originally issued in 2017 but was previously extended during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Patrick Lucas motioned to approve the requested extension. This was unanimously approved.

Former member of the Broadband Advisory Committee Gary Stango submitted a zoning permit application for an accessory apartment and a new building on his 54 Bare Hill Road property. “It will be another pole barn that will be going up that will eventually likely be used for my father-in-law…,” Stango explained. “It’s going to match our barn.” The less than 1,200 square foot pole barn will be made from sheet metal, utilize Stango’s existing driveway, won’t impact any wetlands, and will have no additional utilities. The proposed building already has certification from Torrington Area Health. Lucas motioned to approve Stango’s application. This was unanimously approved.

Finally, Musselman conducted his first Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO) report for Goshen. Four zoning permits were issued in May. Musselman experienced some IT issues that caused him to fall behind on getting back to messages. He will answer these messages as soon as he can.