Fish Truck Public Hearing Continued Until December

Anton Gnoch is seeking to move his fish truck to the Sherman Village Plaza.


No decision was made by the Woodbury Zoning Commission on Anton Gnoch's application to move his fish truck to the Sherman Village Plaza.

The November 13 Zoning Commission public hearing on Gnoch's application for a special permit was continued until the 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, meeting, taking place at the Senior Community Center.

There was some confusion in the beginning of the public hearing due to an e-mail sent to commissioners before the public hearing took place. Zoning Commission Chairman Martin Overton said an e-mail from the land use office contained 18 questions and/or concerns from members of the public. That e-mail was sent to commissioners and then retracted by land use staff, he said.

He said the e-mail was an attempt to get the commission to act on the information without being formally convened. Woodbury First Selectman Gerald 'Jerry' Stomski said he merely asked staff to send the e-mail as an "FYI" and asked that commissioners consider the points noted in the e-mail.

"And the correct way to do that is at the meeting, not before," said Overton, "during the hearing but not before it starts."


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The Application

Gnoch said if his application is approved, he will park his truck on the first peninsula of the plaza's parking area, near Ovens of France.

"It seems that the majority of my customers think it would be a more viable, safe place with the traffic light, and more parking," he said.

Overton expressed concerns over traffic and safety.

"The last thing we want is for a little child to be running around a truck and get hit by another truck," he said.

Gnoch said that could happen in any parking lot, to which Overton replied that he doesn't want to make a traffic situation worse.

Stomski said he received a lot of phone calls from residents about the fish truck. He shared 18 comments from people on the application, including questions on the pedestrian traffic flow, the availability of parking spaces for the other businesses in the plaza and how it will impact existing businesses.

"The traffic pattern is certainly a concern," he said. "I would request the Zoning Commission ask for a site plan that addresses this."

Gnoch said the other businesses in the plaza support him and his fish truck.

"We share a tremendous amount of customers," he said.

Kristin Ingersoll November 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM
I heard he doesn't need to leave now because that new cafe is not opening. Of course, that is through the town gossip, but is it true? Is he going through all of this for nothing? I am just getting into town politics and don't know the players that well yet, but is Overton just being a pain or does he valid reasons?
Seraleah Humphrey November 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM
This is exactly the kind of petty nonsense that drives businesses away. This has been on the docket for a while. If town administration can't get their act together here - what else are they dragging their feet on?
Jerry November 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM
This is not the Administration of the Town dragging their feet. The Town Administration has nothing to do with the land use process. This is a Zoning Commission issue making it's way through the processes as mandated by the CT State Status.
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The issue that forced this to be continued is where the fish truck wanted to park. There were concerns by the entire commission and a better plan was asked for. There were no objections to the truck moving, but to make sure that people would not be in danger.
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 01:11 PM
And were you in attendance in the meeting? I was and sit on the commission. As presented there is a major safety issue with where the truck wants to park and people will have to walk across lanes where cars drive. Had zoning just approved the application as is, and someone was injured, the town would be liable. Overton, Clarke, and the rest of the commission did their job.
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Martin Overton and Bob Clarke were the two that complained about the email. Jerry Stomski has a right to send whomever whatever he wants. Jerry did his job and asked important questions. Clarke is on the Democrat Town Committee and Overton ran for Selectman in 2011 and received 309 votes. This was a politically motivated complaint. Our town Planner Brian Miller confirmed that Jerry was okay. The application was presented to the commission in October and was not complete. (Something I found out after the fact). The map presented had the wrong parking location on it. That is a minor issue easily fixed. Zoning must have an accurate application, complete with certain legal requirements. The parking concern can be addressed and the Land Use Office will help Mr. Gonch. People have made irresponsible and inaccurate comments here. The zoning commission has a number of problems, but this one was done right.
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Other highlights of the night. 1. The Commission finally dealt with the Overturn Overton sign on the Arras property. The enforcement was dropped and rightly so. The current regulations on political signs are unconstitutional, as stated in a November 9, 2010 legal opinion. Given the selective enforcement of 7.5.10.I, restricting political signs, the commission did the right thing and dropped this. 2. Martin Overton was at it again, with his side kick Bob Clarke right with him. Overton told the commission that he never recused himself under Arras enforcement, yet did in fact recuse himself in April 2012. This is another in a long line of Overton statements to the commission that are just not true. The commission has lost complete confidence in Overton for all his antics. http://woodburyct.org/meetings/zoning/Zoning%20Comm%20Minutes%204-10-12.pdf You can see the reflection of Overton's recusal on page 6.
Brien November 16, 2012 at 02:55 PM
This is unfortunate that our town can't make an easy decision as to whether or not this can be moved to another location. Why aren't the applications reviewed prior to the town meeting to insure accuracy and to speed up the decision process?
Kirsten Stone November 16, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I believe Anton's last name is spelled "Gonch", not "Gnoch".
Jaimie Cura (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 05:25 PM
First Selectman Gerald 'Jerry' Stomski was kind enough to send clarification via e-mail, regarding the e-mail: "It appears that the part of the story that you misses (sic) is that it is OK to send written correspondence in prior to a public hearing, to be read allowed in public. In fact, it is encouraged that people who can't attend or make a meeting submit their comments ahead. This is not new. It happens all the time. It is a way for the public to input their comments without having to attend the meeting."
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 05:37 PM
State law requires all applications must be taken, regardless of being complete or not. If you attended the meeting you would know that had the commission gave the extra time to get the application in order. The map submitted had the wrong location, which is probably already fixed. In addition, there is a safety issue on where the truck wants to go.
Sean M November 16, 2012 at 05:43 PM
This whole issue is simple playing politics by Martin Overton and his sidekick Bob Clarke. Jerry's questions were all valid and pointed out a number of issues with the application, many of which had to do with how the process was handled. Jerry again served the town right by pointing these issues out.
Lorraine Evans November 17, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Why not let him park in the wonderful new shopping center since there is no one moving in there would not be a problem with traffic
Sean M November 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Zoning does not pick where people go. People have to fill out applications and come before the commission for approval or denial.


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