Neighbors express concerns over application for oversized garage


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

PROSPECT — A plan to build an oversized garage on a lot on Tress Road elicited concerns and opposition from some residents.

John Muratori is seeking a special permit to build a 1,440-square-foot detached garage at 32 Tress Road, where he is building a home with his wife, Carmela. The lot is nearly 3 acres. The special permit is necessary because regulations limit detached garages to 800 square feet in a RA-1 zone.

The application states the garage is needed to store a boat, collector cars, yard equipment such and other items. The garage would also have a small second floor for storage.

About two dozen residents from Tress Road, Cornwall Avenue and Forest Ridge Road signed a petition in opposition of the application. Residents expressed concerns about the aesthetics of the garage, whether it could become a separate living residence or used for business purposes, and a lack of trees for privacy.

Muratori is president and owner of Swag Custom Rides, a New Britain company that restores cars. He’s also executive director of Turning Point Christian Center, a faith-based, substance abuse rehabilitation program.

Muratori said he has no plans to bring his business home.

Land Use Inspector Mary Barton said the zoning regulations do not allow accessory living units in a detached structure.

“They have to be in the main house,” she said. “So, this is not permitted as a residence.”

Lucia Venditti said she and her husband, Robert Molnar, who live on Cornwall Avenue, can see the house being built at 32 Tress Road through the trees now.

“The trees are only leafed out three months out of the year. The rest of the year we’ll be able to see this huge garage in our backyard,” Venditti said. “That to us affects our property value, what we value about living here in town.”

Muratori said some trees have been removed from the property during the construction of his home. He said he intends to plant trees on both sides of the property and toward the back of the yard.

“I, like everyone else, would like to have some privacy,” Muratori said.

Muratori said he would agree to build the garage door to match the house.

“The aesthetics would match the house,” Muratori said. “Look exactly like the house.”

The commission continued the hearing to its July 7 meeting, which is expected to be in person at Town Hall.

Chairman Gil Graveline recommended members take a ride by the site to “get a better perspective of what’s going on.”