Business Parking Lot Faces Wetlands, Zoning Issues
Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members plan to inspect a parking lot for commercial vehicles at 40 South Main Street (Route 25), where its owner has proposed making some physical changes to bring the property into compliance with wetlands/watercourses protection regulations.Zoning Violations
Notably, the property's owner has been cited by the town for a variety of zoning violations at the site.
IWC members on July 27 discussed property owner Daniel J. Amaral's application to remove approximately 200 cubic yards of largely earthen materials from the lot as part of his proposal to restore the site's original grade and restore the former characteristics of a physically disturbed wetland and adjacent upland area.
The 2.09-acre site in a B-2 (General Business) zone holds Amaral Motors, Inc, which is an automotive repair garage. The commercial parking lot lies south of the garage.
As part of the proposal, two earthen stormwater control basins would be built at the site.
A map submitted to the IWC indicates a reconstructed parking area that would formalize the parking scheme for various large commercial vehicles.
Civil engineer Alan Shepard, representing Mr Amaral, told IWC members that his client has been working to clean up the parking lot.
As part of the plans, a barrier would be installed to prevent material from being deposited in the wetlands again, Mr Shepard said.
Mr Shepard said the applicant is now seeking approval for basic work on improving the site. If such an IWC approval is granted, the owner would seek Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval for redeveloping the parking area. If that approval is received, the applicant would return to the IWC for additional environmental review, Mr Shepard said.
If the various land-use approvals are received, the site would be repaved and striped to better organize the commercial vehicle parking that occurs there.
Earlier this month at a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) session, Mr Amaral challenged all five zoning violations that a town zoning enforcement officer lodged against the property.
In a June 17 notice of zoning violations, Rob Sibley, deputy director of planning and land use, had informed Mr Amaral that the uses occurring in the parking lot violated applicable town zoning rules concerning junkyards; the storage of unregistered motor vehicles; the accumulation of waste, and abandoned or used materials; commercial parking lots; and used car sales. The town then issued a cease-and-desist order to Mr Amaral regarding the violations.
That order stated that besides vehicles and junk, the site held an accumulation of wooden pallets, construction debris, and various construction equipment, listing more than 50 vehicles being kept there.
At a July 13 ZBA hearing, ZBA members upheld four of the five stated violations, excluding the alleged junkyard violation.
In a July 15 letter, Mr Sibley informed Mr Amaral that the violations needed to be corrected immediately or that fines would be levied against him.
"All materials and vehicles not related directly to the 'garage' use of the parcel must be permanently removed from the property," Mr Sibley wrote.
In response, attorney Robert Hall, representing Mr Amaral, submitted another application to the ZBA in seeking to overturn the decisions that the ZBA had made on July 13.
If the matter is not resolved through that ZBA application, Mr Amaral could file an administrative appeal in Danbury Superior Court to challenge the ZBA decisions.
Mr Amaral is a Democratic member of the Legislative Council.