Subdivision: 3. Parcel and Lot Requirements

3.01          LAND SUITABILITY

1.     Land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health and public safety.

2.     Land which the Commission finds to be unsuitable in its present condition for building purposes because of flooding, inadequate drainage, steep slopes, depth to bedrock, erosive soils, utility easements or similar features which might pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare shall not be approved as a building lot unless adequate provisions are made by the applicant to mitigate the unsuitable conditions in a manner satisfactory to the Commission.

3.     Unless not required by the Commission, any application for a subdivision shall include a site inventory / analysis map prepared, signed and stamped by a landscape architect, civil engineer, or surveyor licensed to practice in Connecticut and such site inventory / analysis map shall identify:

Primary Conservation Areas
  • Watercourses and waterbodies
  • Any area designated as 100-year floodplain
  • Coastal wetlands
  • Inland wetlands and vernal pools
  • Steep slopes (15 percent or more)
Secondary Conservation Areas
  • Areas within 200 feet of a watercourse or waterbody
  • Any area designated as 500-year floodplain
  • Areas within 50 feet of an inland wetland or coastal wetland
  • Areas within 100 feet of a vernal pool
  • Natural diversity database sites or wildlife corridors
  • Resources listed on the National or State Register of Historic Places
  • Archeological sites
  • Scenic views / vistas and stone walls
  • Notable individual trees (>18 inches DBH) and/or mature woodlands
  • Possible open space and trail connections between conservation areas on the site and adjacent protected and unprotected open space.

 

4.     The overall lot / roadway layout plan for the subdivision should reflect the site inventory / analysis map:

 a.     Areas of the site which are considered Primary Conservation Areas shall be considered for permanent protection which may include preservation as open space deeded to the City, a land trust or other conservation organization, or a homeowners association if acceptable to the Commission.

 b.     Areas of the site which are considered Secondary Conservation Areas should be considered for conservation or integration into the design of the subdivision.

 c.     Areas of the site which are not considered Primary Conservation Areas or Secondary Conservation Areas may be considered potential development areas and lots, streets, trails, and other improvements may be sited in these areas.

3.02          PROTECTION OF IMPORTANT FEATURES

1.     Every effort shall be made to locate streets, building lots, and open space in a manner that is in harmony with the landscape and results in a minimal disturbance to the natural terrain and vegetation.

2.     All subdivisions shall be designed and arranged and provision shall be made to:

 a.     Preserve natural features and similar resources;

 b.     Preserve and enhance scenic features, significant trees, and similar community resources;

 c.     Preserve and enhance archeological sites, historic sites, and similar cultural resources; and

 d.     Comply with flood management ordinances and regulations adopted by the City.

 

3.     During the review process, the Commission may require:

 a.     The preservation or enhancement of features identified in Section 3.02.2, and/or

 b.     The submission of additional information that demonstrates the applicant’s proposals (such as a conservation restriction and/or the deeding of open space) for protecting the types of resource(s) identified in Section 3.02.2 of these Regulations.

3.03          FLOOD PROTECTION

1.     All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage and the Commission shall determine that any proposed subdivision is reasonably safe from flooding.

2.     When a subdivision is proposed for land in areas of special flood hazard the Commission shall require written confirmation from the Zoning and Building Official that utilities, water, and sanitary sewer systems are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage or infiltration.

3.     Any proposed subdivision involving any land within a special flood hazard area shall:

 a.     Have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood hazards;

 b.     Include the base flood elevation data for the property,.

 c.     Provide assurances, such as an approval of the application by the Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission that the flood-carrying capacity is maintained within any altered or relocated portion of any watercourse.

 

4.     In areas of special flood hazard as identified on Flood Insurance Rate Maps and in the Flood Insurance Study, and in other areas contiguous to water bodies or subject to tidal flooding, proper provisions shall be made for protective flood control measures including, but not limited to, the following:

 a.     Water supply and sewage disposal systems shall be designed and located so as to avoid impairment or contamination from flooding, erosion or related circumstances.

 b.     Gas, electrical equipment, and transmission lines shall be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage.

 c.     Storm drainage systems shall be designed to reduce exposure to flood hazards;

 d.     Streets shall be of such elevation or shall be suitably protected so as to allow emergency access during flood conditions;

 e.     Streets, drainage and other improvements shall be safe from flood damage;

 f.     Public and private improvements shall be designed to minimize flood damage and shall be capable of use without danger from flooding or flood related damages;

 g.     All utilities and similar services shall be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage.

3.04          LOT LAYOUT

1.     All lots in proposed subdivisions shall conform in all respects to the requirements of the Zoning Regulations for the zoning district in which the lot is located in terms of lot size, frontage, lot access, and other requirements.

2.     Lots shall be generally square or rectangular in shape, except where other design criteria make it impractical or undesirable.

3.     All corner lots shall have at least a 5 foot radius at street intersections.

4.     Double frontage and rear lots shall be avoided except as provided for in the Zoning Regulations.

5.     All lots must be capable of receiving emergency and regular City services.

6.     Insofar as practical, lot lines shall be laid out:

 a.     Such that side lot lines shall be at right angles to the street and radial to curves, unless a variation from this provision would result in a better street or lot layout; and

 b.     So as not to cross municipal boundary lines.

 

7.     In the case of lots on sloping land, the lot shall be laid out so that:

 a.     A driveway can service the property with the driveway slope not exceeding fifteen percent (15%) slope at any point nor exceeding a total average of twelve percent (12%); and

 b.     The finished floor of the principal structure shall, wherever practical, be higher than the grade of the street on which its fronts.

 

8.     The shape, size, location, topography, character, and arrangement of a lot shall be such that there will be no foreseeable difficulties, for reasons of topography or other conditions, in:

 a.     Securing permits to develop the lot in compliance with applicable regulations, codes, and ordinances;

 b.     Occupying and using such lot for building purposes without danger to the health and safety of the occupants or the public;

 c.     Providing safe and convenient access to principal buildings on such lot; and

 d.     Providing for grading and drainage without adversely affecting abutting or downhill or downstream properties.

 

9.     The Commission may determine that any parcel of land, regardless of size, shall be unsuitable for building if it:

 a.     Does not meet the minimum zoning requirements;

 b.     Is found unsuitable for occupancy or building by reason of lack of provision for sewage disposal, lack of adequate water supply, topography, water, flooding, or other conditions; or

 c.     Does not conform to the requirements of these or other applicable codes and regulations.

 

10.     No parcel of land shall be created with the notation “not an approved building lot.”

11.     Unless designated and preserved in perpetuity for open space, municipal, conservation, or agricultural purposes, no parcel, reserve strip, or any other remnant of land unsuitable for building shall be left in any subdivision.

12.     No land or building lot shall be configured in such a way that, in the opinion of the Commission, it could control access to other property or would landlock an adjacent property unless the control of such land or building lot is placed within the jurisdiction of the abutter, the City, or other entity acceptable to the Commission under conditions approved by the Commission.

3.05          OPEN SPACE

 Since reservation of open space, as provided in CGS Section 8-25, may not be appropriate in all situations or may be modified by the Commission, applicants are encouraged to meet informally with Staff and/or the Commission prior to submitting a formal application.

1.     Unless modified by the Commission in accordance with Section 3.05.7, every subdivision shall provide for open space in order to provide for:

 a.     Active recreation including parks and playgrounds which shall be suitable and conveniently accessible for their intended use;

 b.     Passive recreation in the form of land in its undisturbed or “natural” state;

 c.     Protection of wetlands or watercourses and the buffering of the same;

 d.     The preservation of outstanding natural or historical features and the like; or

 e.     Implement the open space and other recommendations in the Plan of Conservation and Development.

 

2.     This open space requirement may, with approval of the Commission, be met through:

 a.     Deeding of land within the subdivision in accordance with Section 3.05.5;

 b.     Deeding of land elsewhere in the City of Groton in accordance with Section 3.05.5;

 c.     A fee-in-lieu-of-open-space donation in accordance with Section 3.05.6;

 d.     Deeding of land and a fee-in-lieu-of-open-space-donation in accordance with Section 3.05.5 and Section 3.05.6; or

 e.     Some other arrangement that shall be found by the Commission to be acceptable (such as a trail easement, a conservation restriction, or similar proposal).

 

3.     If the applicant proposes a fee-in-lieu-of-open-space donation or other open space arrangement which does not involve land within the subdivision, the applicant shall still submit a map showing where the open space land could be located within the subdivision if the fee-in-lieu-of-open-space donation or other open space arrangement were not to be accepted by the Commission.

4.     The Commission may solicit comments from the Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission, the Beach and Park Commission, the City Council, or any other person or entity regarding the best method of preserving open space as part of the subdivision.

 5.     Deeding of Land

 a.     Where the open space requirement shall be met through the deeding of land, at least ten (10) percent of the total area of the subdivision shall be set aside for open space.

 b.     Such open space shall be shown on the subdivision plan or on another suitable map if located elsewhere in the City of Groton.

 c.     In determining the appropriateness of an area proposed for open space or other public purposes, the Commission shall consider:

 i.     Recommendations in the Plan of Conservation and Development;

 ii.    The presence or absence of any existing open spaces in the area;

 iii.   The opportunities to interconnect existing, proposed, and potential future open space reservations into a comprehensive greenway and trail system;

 iv.   The opportunity to preserve or protect significant natural features; and

v.     Comments from City departments or other agencies or persons regarding need, resources, connection to the open space system of the City, and preferred ownership.

 d.     When a subdivision abuts an existing open space, the Commission may require that the lot lines of the land to be dedicated form a continuation of the existing open space to provide a single, unified area.

 e.     Open space shall not include power line right-of-ways.

 f.     The applicant shall designate which entity is, or entities are, proposed to own the open space to ensure its permanent protection as provided in these Regulations. The following is the order of preference for evaluating the ownership of open space:

 i.     The City of Groton.

 ii.    A non-profit organization, acceptable to the Commission, legally constituted to accept and maintain open space for conservation purposes (such as a Land Trust).

 iii.    A neighborhood association reviewed and approved by the Commission.

 g.     Such open spaces shall be deeded in perpetuity except that any open spaces deeded to a private organization or to a private association shall provide in such deed that ownership shall revert to the City or other conservation organization for recreational or conservation purposes if such corporation or association shall cease to exist or shall relinquish ownership.

 h.     If an applicant transfers land to the City for municipal purposes, such transfer may be considered by the Commission as a credit toward any open space requirements.

 i.     The Commission may require that any open space land have direct access to a City street or a State highway through a right-of-way dedicated to public use and that it be graded and improved to allow for pedestrian access.

 j.     Open space areas shall not be used as a depository for brush, stumps, earth, building materials, or debris.

 

6.     Fees in Lieu of Open Space

 a.     As provided in CGS Section 8-25, the Commission may authorize the applicant to pay a fee to the City, or pay a fee to the City and transfer land to the City or other approved entity in lieu of the requirement to provide land as open space.

 b.     The Commission may also request the applicant pay a fee to the City or pay a fee to the City and transfer land to the City or other approved entity in lieu of the requirement to provide open space where deeding of land as open space will not meet the purposes of this Section 3.05.

 c.     If payment of such a fee is proposed by the applicant, the Commission may refuse such fee if it determines, in its sole discretion, that there are areas within the parcel which merit preservation by one of the methods set forth in these Regulations.

 d.     Payments generated under the provisions of this section shall be placed in a designated fund account to be utilized for the purposes of reserving dedicated open space, acquisition of new public open space, for recreational or agricultural purposes or improvement of existing open space dedicated to the City.

 e.     Unless otherwise agreed to by the Commission and the applicant, fee in lieu of open space procedures shall be in accordance with CGS Section 8-25, as amended:

 i.     Payments or combination of both payment and land shall be equal to ten percent (10%) of the fair market value of the total land area prior to subdivision.

 ii.    The fair market value of the land shall be determined by a licensed appraiser jointly approved by the Commission and the applicant and the appraisal made part of the record except that, for subdivisions of 3 lots or fewer, the applicant may utilize the Assessor’s estimate of the market value of the property.

 iii.   The cost of any appraisal shall be the responsibility of the applicant.

 f.     With regard to payment of the fee in lieu of open space:

 i.     The fee in lieu of open space payment shall be provided to the City by the applicant in the form of a cashier’s check prior to the release of the subdivision mylar signed by the Chairman of the Commission.

 ii.    Such cashier’s check shall be held in escrow by the City and shall not be cashed or deposited by the City until the subdivision mylars have been filed on the land records.

 g.     In cases where there is a combination of both payment and deeding of land, the transfer of land shall occur when the public improvements are accepted by the City of Groton. If there are no other public improvements, the deed for the land shall be transferred at the time the subdivision plans are filed.

 

 7.     Modification of Open Space Reservation – The open space requirements of this section shall not apply if:

 a.     The transfer of all land in the subdivision of less than five (5) parcels is to a parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle or first cousin of the applicant for no consideration.

 b.     The subdivision is to contain affordable housing, as defined in CGS Section 8-39a, equal to twenty percent (20%) or more of the total number of housing units to be constructed in such subdivision.

3.06          SOLAR ACCESS

1.     These subdivision regulations are intended to encourage energy-efficient patterns of development and land use, the use of solar and other renewable forms of energy, and energy conservation.

2.     The applicant shall consider using solar energy techniques and site design techniques which would not significantly increase the cost of the housing to the buyer, after tax credits, subsidies and exemptions, and that have the potential to:

 a.     Maximize solar heat gain, minimize heat loss, and provide thermal storage within a building during the heating season; and

 b.     Minimize heat gain and provide for natural cooling during the cooling season.

 

3.     The site design techniques shall include, but not be limited to:

 a.     House orientation;

 b.     Street and lot layout;

 c.     Vegetation;

 d.     Natural and man-made topographic features;

 e.     Protection of solar access within the subdivision.

 

4.     As part of the application, the applicant shall demonstrate that these techniques have been considered.

3.07          SOIL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL

1.     An erosion and sedimentation control plan shall be submitted with any subdivision application.

2.     Such plan shall demonstrate adherence to the erosion and sedimentation control standards set forth in the:

 a.     City of Groton Zoning Regulations;

 b.     “Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (2002)”, as amended; and

 c.     “Connecticut Stormwater Quality Manual (2004)”, as amended.

 

3.     Such plan shall demonstrate proper provision to:

 a.     Minimize and adequately control accelerated erosion and sedimentation during construction;

 b.     Result in a stabilized development protected from erosion when completed; and

 c.     Utilize the best available technology for erosion and sedimentation control.

Groton