Thursday, January 07, 2010

Anne Giddings gives an ORC update

Councilwoman Anne Giddings provided this update on Tuesday's Ordinance Review Committee meeting:

PBC--a small committee will be established to draw up guidelines for town administration to use to recommend that the Town Council provide the PBC with waviers of some steps of the process. Jim McKenney was at the ORC meeting and agreed to serve. A Council member will be asked to serve and a rep of the town. (Since then Mr. Milone has informed me that Joe Michaelangelo will be that rep.)

Parking tickets--referred to the Town Attorney for paperwork so that the Hearing Officer can refer those who do not respond or pay fines to court and civil action can then be taken.

Patton Drive--ORC recommends no change.

Massage parlor--due to a change in state law this is now a moot point. Police do not need any additional laws/ordinances.

Noise ordinance--ORC recommended no change. Jerry Sitko will continue to work with the businesses involved.

Building permit fee--Approved and sent to Town Council.

Elderly tax freeze--Approved and sent to Town Council.

Elderly tax credits--Approved and sent to Town Council.

Historic District fees--referred to Town Attorney for wording of ordinance. (I recused myself from this, since I am a member of the Congregational Church and of the Board of Trustees; I was at an HDC meeting last summer as a representative of the church when 3 applications for work on the church and the parsonage were presented. By the end of Jan. I'll no longer be a Trustee.)

Tim White


Anonymous said...

What happened with Alarm User Fees?

Breachway said...

Historic District Fee: does this mean that not only did you lose the rights to treat your property as you see fit...but they are now going to charge you a fee to live in your house?

Anonymous said...

Joe Michaelangelo?????? he can't handle his primary responsibility and the TM gives him another task?

Anonymous said...

RE: PAtton Drive

How could the ORC ecommend "NO CHANGE"??? The folks on Patton Drive have suffered for years with CHS Student Parking on their street & cutting across yards to get to CHS...The Town responds by insituting a "NO PArking Ban" for EVERYONE--Even the longstanding Town residents of Patton Drive!! How assinine is that?????
As Forrest Gump would say "Stupid is as stupid does.."

Anonymous said...

It's a public highway under state statutes - either everybody parks there or nobody parks there.

Anne Giddings said...

Alarm user fees were treated with the parking fines--if unpaid or contested, the Hearing Officer would handle under changes in the ordinances and after the requisite paperwork is drawn up.

The wording of the ordinances will be done by the Town Attorney.

Alarm fees are not as big a problem as parking, according to the police, since they originate at Cheshire property. Parking violators could be Cheshire residents or anyone else and can be difficult to track down.

Basically, a relatively small investment in legal time now should result in much improved collections for the foreseeable future, and be fairer--everyone will be held accountable (as much as we can), rather than just the people who presently pay their fines.

Anne Giddings said...

I felt compelled to recuse myself from the Histroic District fees section, although I am concerned about the fees.

The reason for the fees is that some requested changes to buildings in the district will require a public hearing and that means a paid newspaper notice. The fee will cover the notice.

I understand charging for the newspaper notices, but these would not be necessary if the bureaucracy of the Historic District Commission did not exist. Property owners in the districts have to jump through more hoops than other property owners in town. This is a concern to me.

tim white said...

I'm uncertain of the Town's perspective on the Patton Drive parking. But it seems to me that the Town could create a parking zone, similar to New Haven, and define it as the roads near CHS.

Of course, there'd be an administrative cost. But I'm not convinced it'd be that big of a deal. For instance, the Tax Collector is obviously busier at certain times of year. So give that office some some hangers for rear view mirrors. If a resident shows up with a tax bill for a car listed on certain roads, then they get a hanger for their car to permit roadside parking during school hours. The hanging permits can be distributed during a limited time offer - say two weeks.

Maybe color code it so it's only good for one or two years, etc.

Just a thought though. Again... I haven't heard from the police on this. I've only heard the story from one resident about it.

Anonymous said...

why not just put a list of unpaid ticket people in the Herald

Anonymous said...

Great- so now the tax payers have to support the Historic District.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why the town can't institute a street residents-only parking district on Patton Drive. Street residents are issued placards for themselves and any guests who park on the street. Beyond the new signs, it will cost a minimum of time and money.

Anne Giddings said...

The proposed Historic District fees ordinance would insure that taxpayers do not pay the cost of any newspaper notices needed if a HD property owner wanted to make a major change which would require a public hearing. (When owners have just done maintenance, no hearing is necessary and the fee that must be paid with the application is refunded.) When the HD Commission can meet and consider an application--no hired experts or advertising needed, just the volunteers who serve on the Commission--no fee is collected.

I wondered about the system of putting parking scoflaws' names in the police blotter in the Herald, but these include non-residents for whom this is not effective.

Anonymous said...

Why are Cheshire tax payer's paying for the clean up for the luminaries. I have seen Public Works employees doing this, with the economy the way it is this practice should be stopped and now!!

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Nothing wrong with the town occassionally helping out a local charity.

Anonymous said...

Patton drive a state highway under statues--everyone parks or nobody parks?? Are you a cop??

Anonymous said...

RE: Publlic building & Michelangelo:

It is unbeliveable with some of the missteps in recent years with regard to building projects that a change is being made to give the public building commission less Council supervision. Can you or Anne provide more information on this topic? It would seem to me that MORE Council oversight here is required, and this sure sounds like LESS.

Anonymous said...

"Patton drive a state highway under statues--everyone parks or nobody parks??"

I didn't say it was a state highway, I said it was a PUBLIC highway. The road is open to the public, and parking there is allowed unless posted for "no parking." But you cannot discriminate between parking allowed for residents and not for non-residents. Further, the town can't do something unless there is enabling legislation that says the state allows a municipality to do so.

This is somewhat similar to the issue of towns trying to keep non-residents out of their parks and beaches - the courts said that it could NOT be done.

Anonymous said...

New Haven does this now. Sign says " parking permit required". You must have a permit (issued to residence of that street) to park in order not to receive a ticket. Call them and see want legal authority they used to set up that program in certain areas of the city.

Anne Giddings said...

R.e., the PBC: Minutes of the 2/5/09 Ordinance Review Committee meeting indicate that this "has been under revision for 8 months. Mr. Milone explained there was an issue last year with a contract as a result of not being aware of the 45 day clause, and the project was re-bid. One issue was clear at the time...that the PBC's process and series of regulations is cumbersome and overly bureaucratic.

"The Town Attorney and his staff were asked to revisit the PBC process, and they are re-writing the regulations to streamline them and not compromise the checks and balances that are in place."

That's verbatim from those minutes, which are also on line.

Whatever the initiating reason, the lawyers came up with possible steps to take. Jimmy Sima expressed concern that the Town Council had to be involved at certain points and he and Jim McKenney, who was at the 1/7/10 meeting, discussed some of the necessary and perhaps unnecessary things.

The ORC did not choose to delete steps wholesale, but did request that guidelines (size of project, cost, familiarity, etc.) be drawn up. These would be used by town administration to RECOMMEND to the Council any projects that the Council could give variances on SOME of the required steps.

My position would be to insure that it is clear that the Council can always insist on all of the steps being followed on any project, but would also be able to exempt some routine projects from all of the steps, IF the Council decided that that was best.

So, the town administration would select one member of the small committee, the Council would select one, and the PBC would select one. Jim McKenney volunteered (sort of--he said he is on so many committees, what's one more?) and I emailed the Town Manager and the Council president for their selections.

Whatever the committee comes up with will still have to go to the ORC and then the Council.

Anne Giddings said...

And, while I am on line I will try to summarize the Patton Drive discussion.

I went to the ORC meeting thinking that the one resident who requested relief from the "no parking during school hours" posting could get a hang tag or 5 for his cars, and that would be the simple solution. I am familiar with resident parking zones in large cities, and with the need to prohibit student parking in residential areas near high schools. Easy, trivial cost, done. We can accomodate this one resident.

Not so easy.

The Town can enact a "residents only" parking zone; however, quoting the lawyer's memo, "the Town Council may wish to consider the myriad administrative and fiscal ramifications of creating, maintaining and enforcing such a well as the sentiments of the Patton Road neighborhood residents on the issue (as expressed in the survey, among other ways)." I probably have not remembered all of them, but here are some.

Other residents who requested would have to be accomodated with tags or stickers (whatever is used); residents of other restricted streets could request them; police (or someone) would have to check applicants' addresses, issue, and maintain records, more police time would be taken in enforcing (checking tags/stickers, rather than just eyeballing a clear street); new signage for Patton Drive and potentially 3 other streets. Cheshire is not a large city where the magnitude of the problem (and in many cases a fee) makes it feasible to set up the administration for this (and hire parking enforcement staff, rather than fully-trained police officers, to enforce).

When the needed changes are compared to the magnitude of the problem, and the magnitude of the problem that the residents had with high school students parking on both sides of Patton Drive, cutting through private backyards to get to school, and causing property damage, the committee, including me, felt that we would raise more difficulties, with a change.

Breachway said...

so if you live on Patton Dr you can't park on the street...crazyiness...

Anne Gidings said...

No one can park on Patton Drive while the high school is in session. The same is true for Elmwood and 2 other streets.

Not great, but it does solve the problem that residents had years ago--streets taken up by high school students and students cutting through yards and doing damage.