Requested zone change elicits concerns

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NAUGATUCK — A proposed zone change to the property where the Crystal Room is located on School Street has drawn concerns from neighbors.

Attorney Michael McVerry came before the Zoning Commission July 15 on behalf of Crystal Room LLC and Polish Falcon United 65 to propose a zone change for the property at 98 School St.

McVerry said Edgar DeCampos, who is the principal of Crystal Room LLC, has expressed an interest in expanding the business on the site.

“He wanted to construct a non-denominational wedding chapel at the rear of the property so he could enhance his business on the site,” McVerry said.

The property is currently zoned as R-15, which prohibits DeCampos from seeking a special permit to construct the chapel.

McVerry proposed changing the zone to B-1, which is a business classification. McVerry said a B-1 zone is similar to the R-15 designation, but would allow for the chapel to be constructed.

“Many of the uses permitted in the B-1 zone are also permitted in the R-15 zone. Pretty much any additional use that would take place in the B-1 zone would require the applicant to come back for either site plan approval or a special permit. Rezoning it does not automatically allow him to do anything he wants with the property up there,” McVerry said.

Residents who spoke during a public hearing on the proposed change were less concerned with what DeCampos wants to do at the Crystal Room, and more worried with what the change could mean for their neighborhood in the future.

“Most of what I gathered, people do not object to having a church. I’m a justice of the peace and I’m all for love,” School Street resident Angela Rovinelli said. “What we object to is the actual change of the zone.”

If the Crystal Room were to close in the future, Rovinelli said, residents of the neighborhood don’t want to have to come before the commission to voice their opinions every time a new business is proposed.

“This is a tiny little neighborhood on a dead end street,” Rovinelli said. “More traffic and another kind of business would absolutely hurt our neighborhood.”

Holly Major, who has lived on School Street for over 20 years, said she is happy to have the Crystal Room there, but echoed Rovinelli’s concerns.

Major said if someone decided to put another business on that property, the developer would only have to inform residents up to 200 feet away, which would not include her house.

“If there was a special permit it’s a much smaller distance, and we would not necessarily be notified to be able to attend the meeting and be aware of changes that would be made to the property,” Major said.

School Street resident Harvel Brooks said he also has no issue with the Crystal Room, but wouldn’t want to see another business on that property. Brooks said when there is a large event at the Crystal Room, people sometime drive down the street to turn around in his driveway.

“I figure if the business gets bigger up there it’s going to affect me personally more,” Brooks said.

The commission continued the public hearing until its meeting on Aug. 19.