“No testimony” was allowed at last night’s meeting, poor communication from Bethel town caught residents off guard about cancellation of ability to comment.
Report by Paula Antolini
Jan 14, 2015 8:57AM EDT
Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission Crematorium Meeting Postponed Last Night, Disappointing Many Residents
Last night, Tuesday January 13, 2015, disappointed many residents as they arrived to attend the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting to observe the meeting and/or give their comments, regarding the proposed Bethel crematorium. Residents were met by a paper sign on the double doors leading to Room D, where the meeting was to be held in the Bethel Municipal Building at 7:00 p.m., a sign that read that the meeting was “extended” to January 27, 2015, and that “no testimony” would be taken. (See photos.)
Most everyone who arrived to attend that meeting was then surprised to learn, mostly from town official Director/Town Planner Steve Palmer, (Land Use Dept – Planning and Zoning, Inland Wetlands) that there was a notice previously posted previously (3 layers deep) on the town’s website, only 4 days prior to this meeting. If you check the agendas for the P&Z on the Bethel town website you will see that notice listed on the postings BEFORE the notice for the meeting (although dated later), but not labeled “crematorium” as in the meeting notice (and so, easily missed). See: http://www.bethel-ct.gov/filestorage/1190/83/10494/10545/2015-01-13a.pdf As you can see it is a group notice referring to many “extended” meetings and listed under the agendas as “2015-01-13a.pdf.”
The Jan. 9, 2015 extension notice lists the applicant “B. Shawn McLaughlin” and also says “site plan/special permit crematorium” as the topic, along with “public hearing will be continued to 1/27/15, no testimony.” I just spoke with Palmer this morning and he clarified this, saying that the “no testimony” meant testimony would not be taken LAST night but testimony WOULD be taken at the 1/27/15 meeting.
Interesting note, as you scroll down the second notice about the meeting extensions, under “other business” you will see “Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Facilities.” Did you know Bethel was discussing this?
Getting back to the crematorium issue, an original notice was received and posted by the town of Bethel on Dec. 30, 2014, about the public meeting to occur on Jan. 13, 2015, concerning the approval of a site plan permit and crematorium permit for the proposed crematorium in Clarke Business Park in Bethel, CT. See: http://www.bethel-ct.gov/filestorage/1190/83/10494/10545/2015-01-13n_public_hearing_%28crematory%29.pdf
The reason for last night’s meeting “extension” (and basic cancellation of anyone being able to give comments) was the P&Z claimed they had to still do a “site walk,” which is to occur this Saturday, Jan. 17, at 10:00 a.m.. The public is invited. The proposed location of the crematorium is in the Clarke Business Park off Grassy Plain Street (Route 53), at the same location of the applicant’s present business, Mono-Crete Step Co. LLC, 12 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT 06801.
Wouldn’t you think that at that time the P&Z planned the Jan. 13 meeting notice, the P&Z KNEW they would need to do a site walk beforehand? Why was this just decided 4 days before the public meeting was to take place, preventing residents from giving comments at the Jan. 13 meeting? As previously mentioned, most residents were very surprised to find this out upon arrival last night.
So basically the only procedure the P&Z did at the meeting last night regarding the crematorium was to read the Dec. 30, 2014 notice again and decide on a time and day for the site walk, then the meeting was adjourned for that part or the crematorium procedure.
Please do not get frustrated by these meeting postponements, and plan on attending the January 27, 2015 meeting to voice your opinion about the crematorium, or ask questions, of the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Regarding the crematorium, the resident numbers are growing as far as those who are opposed to the crematorium, as more people become aware of this issue. I am pleased to report interest in researching more about the crematorium topic is also growing. Realization that this is a real threat to the health and welfare of our community, along with a threat to our real estate values, is also being realized.
Residents signing the petition is also growing and comments on the petition are very revealing of common sentiment in opposition.
Petition is still ongoing. Please sign it if you have not done so and encourage others to sign.
SIGN PETITION HERE: