- The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously on November
7 to approve the change of use application for the former Sacred
Heart Church rectory at 68 Georges Hill Rd. which the Southbury
Ambulance Association plans to buy as its new headquarters.
came after 45 minutes of concentrated deliberation on the merits
of the use change from residential to a not-for-profit, community
service organization's offices and outbuildings in an R-60 neighborhood.
hearing had been closed at the October 3 meeting and Chairman
Lem Johnson made it clear that, "This is our time,"
and that only board members would be permitted to speak. No
one in the sparsely attended hearing room demurred.
attorney, Thomas P. Byrne, was unable to attend the meeting,
but Mr. Johnson read his opinion into the record.
Byrne wrote that the use change is permissible, once the board
grants a special exception, when the business is conducted by
a non-profit corporation.
"The documents which I have reviewed clearly indicate that,
for federal and state of Connecticut tax purposes, the Ambulance
Association is a non-profit corporation and is not conducted
as a business or for profit."
the issue of whether the association is a philanthropic and/or
a charitable institution.
determination, Mr. Byrne turned to Webster's New Universal Unabridged
Dictionary for a definition of "Philanthropic," "Philanthropy,"
"Charity," "Charitable" and "Need."
He put it
to the board that their task was to decide two things.
was whether the association is either a philanthropic and/or
a charitable institution. The second was to determine if it
satisfies the standards set forth in the zoning regulations
which take into account the requirement to be in harmony with
and conform to the appropriate and orderly development of the
town and the neighborhood, "and will not hinder or discourage
the appropriate development and use of adjacent property or
impair the value thereof."
those who spoke at the public hearings in disbelief that the
association could be described as either "charitable"
or not-for-profit, although it is recognized as such on both
the state and federal level.
given that the asking price for the 4.28 acres and the house
with its standing accessory buildings is a cool $875,000, could
it truly be categorized as such.
also checking dictionaries, agreed that the service is provided
by a volunteer corps and is a bona fide community service. The
town would not be better off without the Southbury Ambulance
As far as
issues raised in the public hearing, board members had walked
the property and concluded that existing and planned structures
would not affect adjacent properties visually.
generator is a type used in many home situations that creates
minimal noise and would only be used to produce electricity
in an emergency situation. It will be located on the side of
the house away from neighbors.
be used minimally and far less than at the present address on
Main Street South.
Hill traffic is not seen as increasing to any extent and the
impact is considered probably less severe than at the Main Street
width of the driveway is seen as adequate, but at the suggestion
of attorney Gail McTaggart, representing the Ambulance Association,
an area of two feet on either side is to be reserved in case
the need for a 20-foot width is demonstrated at a later time.
circumstances is a "for profit" event to be held on
board members checked the provisions of Section 6 of the zoning
regulations as they apply to special exceptions. Finding that
all stipulations had been met, they then voted accordingly.
becomes effective 15 days after the decision is published on
hearings followed. The first concerned an application for a
variance to allow reconstruction of a garage and additions to
an existing legally non-conforming house. The property is at
566 Flag Swamp Rd. in an R-80 zone.
was approved based on the hardship that no alternative course
was possible given the contours of the land. In fact, the feeling
was that the work proposed would actually reduce the non-conformity
of the property.
hearing concerned an application for a variance relating to
sideline setbacks to allow expansion of an existing garage for
storage and for a room on the second floor. The property is
located at 139 Horse Fence Hill Rd., zoned R-60.
found that a change in the zoning regulations in 1977 actually
created the non-conformity. The changes proposed were very slight
and in fact, "you had to go to the edge of the property
to see the next door neighbor's house," noted ZBA member
to approve was unanimous.