Boxed in by zoning designation

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Beacon Falls man approaches selectmen with offer for land

Charles Piwonski stands on his land at 74 Pent Road in Beacon Falls last week. –LUKE MARSHALL
Charles Piwonski stands on his land at 74 Pent Road in Beacon Falls last week. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Horses, a home business and farming. Those are just some of the things not allowed on Charles Piwonski’s property at 74 Pent Road.

Piwonksi, 77, owns 5.17 acres of relatively flat land that abuts the Pent Road Recreation Complex. His property is zoned as an Industrial Park Zone. This designation prohibits the property’s owner from doing certain things, such as having a home business.

“The house has been for sale on and off going on eight years. When we get a potential buyer they find out if they live here they can’t have a business here and if they have a business here they can’t live here. There are just no buyers for that property,” Piwonski said.

Piwonski has been trying to have his home designated as R-1, a residential designation. Piwonski said, if the property was zoned as residential, he would not have as much trouble selling it.

Piwonski came before the Board of Selectmen last month with three requests and asked the board if it could grant one of them. He’s seeking either a zone change from industrial to residential, for the town to purchase the entire property for $279,000, or for the town to purchase the back 3 acres, which abuts the recreation complex for $79,000.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the town has interest in Piwonski’s offer, but had to look into it further before deciding whether to pursue it. The Board of Selectmen referred Piwonski’s request the town’s land use attorney for a legal opinion.

“We need to make sure we are looking at this thing properly,” Bielik said.

Bielik said the town received a response this week from its attorney saying enough time has passed since Piwonski requested a zone change from the Planning and Zoning Commission, so he would be able to do so again.

Piwonski said it’s been at least 10 years since he last sought a zone change.

Having to wait for the town to make a decision is nothing new for Piwonski.

Piwonski moved to Beacon Falls nearly 40 years ago so his daughter could own horses. At the time, the property wasn’t zoned as an Industrial Park Zone, he said, and he owned horses. He no longer has horses on the land.

Piwonski doesn’t recall when exactly the property was changed to Industrial Park Zone, but said he has been fighting to get it changed to a residential zone for over 20 years.

There have been discussions with the town over the years about the land being used for a senior center, new library and possibly expanding the recreation complex, according to Republican-American archives.

Piwonski also tried to split the lot into three parts in order to build two other homes.
Although none of those projects came to fruition, Piwonski is still hoping the town will at least grant him the zone change to help him sell his house.

“People say they are not going to go down and fight with the town after they buy it. If it is not cut and dry when they buy it they are not going to make an offer,” Piwonski said.

Piwonski said he updated the furnace and the electrical throughout the house and, when he sells the house, he will move to a warmer location.

“I’m going to be 78 in May and I just can’t take this weather anymore. I can’t keep up the property. It’s just too much for me. There’s a lot of land. A lot of work here,” Piwonski said.

Piwonski said his house was on the market last year from January until October. Due to the lack of interest, his home is not currently on the market.

If the town denies all of his requests, Piwonski is unsure of what his next step will be.

“No sense in listing it if you can’t do anything with it. I don’t know at this point,” Piwonski said.