Land-use regs in review

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Board of Selectmen has accepted a recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals and hired a consultant to perform a comprehensive review of the town’s land-use regulations and procedures.

The decision follows months of disputes over a lakefront property that has sparked at least one lawsuit.

The selectmen voted to hire Don Poland of Connecticut Planning and Development LLC of Hartford. The decision was made at their regular monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 2.

Poland’s proposal includes the following:

• A review of the job description for the  zoning enforcement officer (ZEO) including a comparison with other similar job descriptions. Salisbury’s ZEO is Nancy Brusie.

• A review of zoning regulations, with special attention to definitions, non-conforming uses, development provisions, and administration (including interpretation, applications and permitting), and a general review of the subdivision and wetlands regulations.

• Meetings with members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals to discuss the administration of land-use regulations, procedures and recent concerns.

• Meetings with town staff who work on land-use administration and permitting.

• Meetings with individual members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals — and others who might want to meet with the consultant.

Poland will deliver a report no later than Dec. 7. The report will cost no more than $4,265.

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Jeff Lloyd attended the selectmen’s meeting.

“We’re not really happy with the outcome at 144 Millerton Road,� he said, referring to the lakefront property. “It’s time [for a review]. There’s been thousands spent — needlessly, I think — and it’s time it got straightened out.�

Selectman Bob Riva said, “This is a great chance to get everything back in line.�

Planner Martin Connor of Goshen did a similar review for the town of  Washington in 2008, recommending establishment of a chain of command and changes in office procedures.

“My understanding is that the office is functioning at a higher level as a result.â€�  

The selectmen also heard from Planning and Zoning Vice Chairman Cristin Rich, who submitted a three-and-a-half page job description for the zoning enforcement officer, crafted by the commission over the last year.

“We started working on it last December when we realized there wasn’t one,� Rich said, adding that Poland has already seen it and made three recommendations for minor changes.

The commission “never really had the ability to review or comment on the ZEO’s performance� said Rich. “But we’re not looking to change the staffing.�

First Selectman Curtis Rand said, “ It should be clear that the ZEO is a two-part job — one part as town employee and the second, more complex part  involving the administration of zoning regulations.â€�

The selectmen voted unanimously to adopt the new job description, effective immediately.

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