Charity offices approved in residential zones

The Planning & Zoning Commission approved a regulation change Tuesday that will allow charitable organizations to open offices in residential areas farther than 750 feet from Route 7.

The applicant for the regulation change was attorney Casey Healy, representing himself. It was made clear during proceedings, however, that the application was being filed, per se, on behalf of Fidelco — a guide dog training organization based in Bloomfield, Conn.

Fidelco hopes to open a business office on Cannon Road in the near future.

According to the regulation change — which was condoned by town planner Bob Nerney — organizations must be on a major or secondary road, and the distance from Route 7 will be measured from the road’s right-of-way to the nearest property line of a subjected property, applicant and attorney Mr. Healy said.

He also specified that organizations would be allowed to operate public merchandising facilities on the property only if those facilities represented ancillary uses.

Offering an example, he said a nonprofit “is not going to sell Gatorade or Dunkin’ Donuts to raise funds, but we did not want to prevent them from selling something like a Fidelco hat.”

Any organization wishing to reside in a residential zone, Mr. Healy said, would have to ensure the building’s site coverage matched that required of any other residential lot in town.