The Planning and Zoning Commission voted Wednesday night, February 6 to deny the application of Kurt Karpavich for a residential wind turbine proposed for his residence at 60 Farm Circle.
At the last meeting held regarding the subject of Mr. Karpavich’s application, Joe and Kim Guerrera, who reside on an interior lot bordering the property of Mr. Karpavich, hired lawyer Robert Kolesnik of Kolesnik & Norris of Waterbury, as well as real estate appraiser Douglas Lampert, who alleged the depreciation of the Guerrera’s property value as a result of the potential wind turbine could be as significant as $100,000.
During last month’s meeting, Attorney Kolesnik stated that the “windmill shouldn’t be put up on the property of Mr. Karpavich for aesthetic reasons.” Attorney Kolesnik was referencing the zoning regulation 52.51, which discusses “the likely impact of the proposed development on the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood; addressing such issues as harmony with the surrounding area and overall neighborhood stability.”
In light of the issues raised by the Guerrera’s and their attorney and real estate appraiser, P&Z Chairman Dave Minnich said he was opposed to the approval of the application, based on section 52.51 of the zoning regulations. Mr. Minnich said he saw the issue as a “neighborhood dispute.” He added that what Mr. Karpavich was proposing was not what the neighbors wanted, although Mr. Minnich emphasized that the issue “isn’t a matter of a popularity contest.”
Mr. Minnich justified his decision on the basis of regulation 52.51 and the fact that Mr. Karpavich had ample time to refute the allegations of property devaluation alleged by the Guerrera’s and he did not. Mr. Minnich added that “no appropriate or convincing argument” was offered by Mr. Karpavich.
Mr. Minnich said he was not voting against the approval of the wind turbine because he was opposed to windmills. Rather, Mr. Minnich said he believed “we [P&Z] should modify our regulations.”
Carl Mancini agreed with Mr. Minnich, claiming that P&Z “had missed the boat” when the regulations for the use of residential wind turbines were approved. Mr. Mancini said he was voting against the approval of the wind turbine because “the character of the neighborhood is not going to be the same.”
Ray Rondeau disagreed, believing that as a neighbor, “there are a lot of things which can happen in a neighborhood which you may not like and don’t have control over.” Mr. Rondeau also refuted the belief that the appraised value of the property was $100,000, describing the figure as “subjective.”
Mike Masayda agreed with Mr. Rondeau, noting that although “the proposed windmill location wouldn’t have been good, it could have been located in a non-obtrusive area.”
Mr. Minnich believed that the duties of the P&Z were being confused as a result of the conflict created by the precedence of the windmill issue.
“I think we’re mixing up our legislative function and our administrative function,” said Mr. Minnich. “There certainly isn’t anybody who is going to review this issue who will disagree that the heart of my issue with the wind turbine has to do with its potential affect on surrounding property values.”
The motion made by Mr. Minnich prior to the vote whether to approve or deny the application was based on the fact that the application “doesn’t comply with section 52.51 of the zoning regulations.” On a vote of four in favor of the application’s denial, and three against, Mr. Karpavich’s special permit for a residential wind turbine was denied.
Those voting against were Mr. Minnich, Mr. Mancini, Ken Demirs, and Gary Martin, while Mr. Masayda, Mr. Rondeau and Ron Russ voted to approve the wind turbine.
By Tom Burns
14 February 2008
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