Zoning Approves Definitions; Drive-Thrus in Limbo

Zoning Commission approves definition of drive-thru facilities, but fails to add it to the table of permitted uses.

The Zoning Commission approved the new definitions for drive-thru facility and restaurant at their August 12 meeting, however a motion to add the new definitions to the list of approved uses was defeated. This leaves the future of drive-thrus in Brookfield in limbo, as they are not currently permitted in any of the town's zones.

Drive-thru restaurants was a permitted use in most of the commercial zones along Federal Road, however the new definition for drive-thru facilities includes restaurants and other eating establishments, effectively canceling the existing definition, according to Zoning Enforcement Officer Bill Schappert. After approval of the definitions, the Commission moved onto an amendment of the table of uses that would allow all drive-thru businesses in all of the commercial and industrial zones along Federal Road.

"I'm generally opposed to drive-thrus in the village business district [Town Center District (TCD)]," which was included in the amendment, Commission member William Mercer said. "I think that's foolish."

Mercer, Chairman Stanley Parker and voting alternate Matt Grimes voted against amending the motion, with Secretary Christopher Lynch and Fred Weisman for it.

"Now you have a problem," Schappert informed the Commission, "because it's not there in the table of uses.

Weisman urged the commission members to "get back on track and approve the uses to the table that we agreed to. We're nowhere now." Commission member Ryan Blessey, who recused himself from the discussion, as he owns property is one of the concerned districts, chimed in to echo Weisman's recommendation to settle the issue. "My generic comment is, regardless of what zone it is, it seems at this point the table of uses needs to correspond with the definitions in our regulations," he said.

The Commission moved to table the discussion until their  September 16 meeting.

Other Business

  • L.J. Edwards at 273 Federal Road applied to remove the traffic control island at the entrance to the store's parking lot. "When this was put in back when we approved this, the Zoning Commission really didn't want it because we knew there were going to be problems," Parker said. "I've been in this store a number of times and I think this island is not only a waste, it's a safety hazard." The motion to approve was carried unanimously.

  • Dunkin Donuts met with zoning officials last week and determined that the site-plan approved at the Commission's last meeting for the installation of a drive-thru lane does not meet the town's regulations. The Fire Department has waived the need for a fire lane behind the building and the majority of the other issues are being worked out by CCA, the local engineering firm handling the application.

  • The Commission sent an application for an elderly conversion at 11 Red Barn Lane to a September 16 public hearing. Parker suggested eliminating the public hearing requirement for these and even went so far as to offer that the Land Use Office handle the applications.

    Grimes and Mercer objected to taking away the neighbors' right to speak against projects or at least voice their questions and concerns. Mercer suggested requiring the homeowners to submit a certified statement with their applications that they informed their neighbors, giving any concerned residents the chance to be heard without delaying the project. The Commission agreed to put it to a public hearing at their September 23 meeting.

  • An application was sent in for 21 Elbow Hill Road for construction of a new house; the previous house was destroyed in a fire in February. "The reason we're getting a residential application is because they want to change the contours of the land," Parker explained. 



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