NEW FAIRFIELD – The New Fairfield Zoning Commission held a public hearing to obtain feedback on a proposed primary care medical facility at 132 Route 37. Architects and attorneys representing New Fairfield Medical, LLC made a presentation outlining the design and placement of a 10,870 square foot building and grounds on the 2.3-acre parcel of land.
The plan outlined a brick and shingle facade in a colonial design. It included a false facade on the roof to hide mechanicals such as heating and air conditioning from view. The plan includes 54 parking spaces and the planting of trees and other landscaping items to offset the asphalt being added. It was noted that the plan calls for only three trees to be cut down on the property and that existing trees on the property’s perimeter would be used as a buffer for the nearby Dunham Pond residences.
Zoning member Dr. Stephen Hanrahan asked about lighting on the property, particularly the parking lot. He stated that the proposed height of the lighting (14 feet) might be too high. He asked if it would be possible to make the height of the poles 12 feet or less. The architect replied that it would be possible to achieve the desired lighting by adding a couple more poles and making them all 12 feet high.
The Commission will hold a special meeting on January 23 to make a final decision on the proposal. It is waiting to hear the opinion of the Town Engineer on the project.
The Commission then discussed the short-term rental issue. Commission Chair John Moran outlined the decision of the Commission on the issue of short term, or Air B&B, rentals. He noted that the Commission had outlined requirements for short term rentals as follows: short term is defined as rentals lasting between one and six days. The owner must be present on the property during the rental term or must own and occupy an adjacent property (could be one across the street). All potential landlords must make an application to the town for certification. The town, the fire marshal, zoning, and the health department will inspect each property and there will be a $500 annual fee. If a complaint is lodged against the landlord, the complaint would be reviewed by Zoning to determine if there was a violation. If a landlord were to accrue three violations, they would lose their right to rent. No on street parking would be allowed for short term rentals, but landlords will be required to provide enough off-street parking for renters. Homeowners must also maintain their septic systems and have tanks pumped regularly.
Dr. Hanrahan noted that the Commission had discussed no more than two guests per bedroom. Mr. Moran confirmed this and added this point to the list of stipulations.
Mr. Moran stated that the Commission would post these requirements and give the public a chance to comment on them prior to voting whether to adopt them.
The next regular Zoning Commission meeting is Wednesday, February 6 at 7:30pm.
By Greg Slomba