County halts business development to address zoning issues

by Dennis Sharkey

Outside of municipalities economic development will cease for six months in Jefferson County.

Commissioners voted 3-0 on Monday to put a moratorium on the issuance of any conditional use permits in the commercial/industrial zoning districts.

The resolution says it will allow the county the time necessary to consider the matter further and adopt regulations.

The move comes five days after commissioners voted 3-0 to deny a CUP for a sexually oriented business(SOB) for a property along K-4 Highway outside of Meriden.

After the hearing on Feb. 23 First District Commissioner Lynn Luck said that the county needed to address these types of businesses in the county regulations when asked to comment.

When asked why the moratorium was being put in place Chairman Richard Malm said “We’ve got some things we need to straighten up.”

County Planning and Zoning Director Eloise Tichenor presented the resolution to commissioners. Tichenor had asked for a moratorium at the commissioners Jan. 10 meeting but was told to wait.

“We’re going to have to let this thing run its course,” Malm said at the Jan. 10 meeting.

The resolution was passed with little discussion. Malm asked attorney Mike Hayes if he had read the resolution. Hayes said he had and had no issues with the wording.

Malm was asked when commissioners directed Tichenor to draft a resolution. His only response was that the commission has been working on it for about a month.

Former County Economic Development Director and current Meriden City Councilman Jim McGrath was interviewed in January about the proposed CUP after his name was brought into the conversation. McGrath said that eventually regulations would be changed but not anytime soon.

“It’s something I think you can count on down the road,” McGrath said in January. “I don’t think you would see anything right away because it would look like a knee-jerk reaction.”

Proposed SOB operator Zach Snyder attended Monday’s meeting but declined to comment at this time about the matter.

In other actions:

An issue with a subdivision and a new road that has carried on for nearly two years is back to square one if not further set back.

Residents of Northwind Drive in the county’s southeastern corner have been attempting to get their road paved for nearly two years.

Last year county Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard halted the subdivision’s project when he looked at the specifications and determined they did not meet county regulations.

Commissioners issued bonds totaling more than $170,000 on the project last year before the issue was raised.

Now new issues are being raised from the county’s hired engineer Joe McAfee. He told commissioners on Monday that the bid that Northwind Drive submitted was a minimal bid that did not include at least $8,000 in ditch and culvert work.

Furthermore, McAfee said that prices quoted for asphalt don’t add up to what the project requires. He figured from calculations that asphalt would cost about $50 a ton.

“That’s very economical for asphalt,” McAfee said. “We haven’t seen $50 a ton for four years.”

McAfee said the price currently is closer to $90 a ton and estimated the project at $250,000 or about $80,000 short of the issued bond amount.

Hubbard said the subdivision can construct the road to any specs but the county will not take over maintenance of the road if it is not built to county standards. Part of the agreement between the county and the subdivision is for the county to take over maintenance after construction.

Commissioners instructed McAfee to draft a letter that will be sent to homeowners in the subdivision.

County Clerk Linda Buttron said on Monday that the first interest payment bills on the bond were sent out on Monday.

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Posted by on Mar 8 2011. Filed under County, County Commission, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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