December 12, 2019

Deep River ZBA Approves Variance for Expansion of Grove Street Industrial Building

DEEP RIVER— The zoning board of appeals Tuesday approved a variance that should pave the way for an 8,400-square-foot expansion of an existing industrial building located at 16 Grove Street in the town’s north end.

The variance approval, on a unanimous vote of the board, will allow Raymond Galeotti, owner of Eve’s Addiction/Centerbrook Sales, to proceed to a public hearing before the planning and zoning commission Thursday on a special permit application for the proposed business expansion. The commission’s public hearing begins at 7 p.m. in town hall.

A variance was needed because new village district zoning regulations approved by the commission last November impose a 2,500-square-foot limit on the size of buildings in the village district, which includes the area in the vicinity of Grove Street and Bridge Street that had previously been a light industrial zone.

The ZBA had opened a public hearing on Galeotti’s variance appeal on June 19, but postponed a decision until Tuesday amid questions about the extent of requirements in the new village district regulations. David Royston, the board’s attorney, opened the session by confirming the board had the legal authority to grant a variance on the new building size limit, despite language in the new regulations which implied the requirements were not subject to a variance.

John Bennet, a Chester lawyer representing Galeotti, said Galeotti purchased the industrial building that had been vacant for several years in 2007 with the hope of eventually expanding his business that involves the manufacturing and sales of jewelry items . Bennet said the new regulations with the 2,500-square-foot building size limit impose a legal hardship on a pre-existing non-conforming use. “A few months ago we wouldn’t even have to be here for this,” he said, adding “this is the kind of business that every community would like to have.”

First Selectman Richard Smith, speaking in support of the variance, said he had urged Galeotti to open his business in the 16 Grove St. building five years ago, and last year urged him to pursue a building expansion after neighborhood complaints about tractor trailer trucks that were remaining on the property while waiting to be unloaded. Bennet said the planned expansion would eliminate any need for large delivery trucks to linger on the property.

The expansion project, which has received a required permit from the inland-wetlands commission, calls for an 8,400-square-foot expansion of the existing 6,600-square-foot building on the 2.5-acre parcel at 16 Grove Street, a dead-end street located off Bridge Street.

In approving the variance, the board determined the new regulations imposed a hardship on a legal; non-conforming use, and that the planned expansion conformed with the existing building on the parcel.