Proposed ECAD expansion on agenda for Jan. 25 P&Z meeting

Winsted Town Seal
Winsted Town Seal

WINSTED — The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. for a special permit application by Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD).
The organization, located at 149 Newfield Road, is a 501(c)(3) is operated by Dale Picard and the Director of Programs Lu Picard.
According to the organization’s website at, the mission of the organization is to train dogs to help people with disabilities.
In a previous interview, Dale Picard told The Winsted Phoenix that ECAD has been trying to obtain the special permit since February.
In the previous special permit application, a representative from ECAD wrote that the project is Phase 3 of a site plan that was previously approved in April 2016.
The building would allow for the housing of adult service dogs in training and would be located proximal to the existing training facility.
In the updated special permit application, which was submitted to the town on Dec. 14, the plan now includes “…appurtenant parking that was deferred under the original approval, a septic system, stormwater management facilities, and site grading.”
“The proposed plan further enhances the existing stormwater quality management on the property, including treating the water quality volume from impervious surfaces,” Dale Picard wrote in the application. “The methods employed include the use of stormwater quality basins and infiltration through pervious pavers.”
Picard added “As part of the special permit application, the applicant is requesting up to a five percent bonus for impervious surfaces allowing the impervious surface coverage area to increase from 15 percent to 20 percent. The existing conditions impervious area is 14.58 percent. Under the proposed conditions, an additional 4.51 percent will be added, bringing the total impervious coverage to 19.10 percent. It should be noted that the 4.51 percent increase must be offset by employing LID measures on the property.”
ECAD’s neighbors views
The Newfield Road property has been owned by ECAD since 2003.
According to the town’s property database, there are currently three buildings on the five-acre property: a 3,669 square foot building built in 1928, a 2,132 square foot building built in 2004, and an 8,670 square foot canine education and wellness center that was built in 2018.
According to the town’s zoning map, ECAD is located in an RR Rural Residential district.
However, the town’s zoning regulations state that certain uses for properties are allowable with a special permit, including training kennels.
For the original special permit application submitted earlier this year, several residents submitted their objections, including neighbors William Pozzo, who lives on 149 Newfield Road, and Amy Reeve, who lives on 147 Newfield Road.
Both Pozzo and Reeve told the Winsted Phoenix that the construction of ECAD’s canine education and wellness center in 2018 has had a significant negative impact on both their properties and their lives.
They said that, if approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the additional building planned by ECAD would have an even further negative impact.
“ECAD operates every single day and there is quite a lot of traffic,” Reeve said. “From our property, we have a clear view of the education and wellness center’s parking lot, along with the handicapped parking signs. We also have a view of the space where they are proposing to build this second building.”
Reeve said that both she and her husband, Daniel Reeve, own horses and were both planning to have an outdoor riding arena on their property, but she said: “The fact of the matter is that we are limited to what we, or what any future person could do with this area.”
Reeve added that she feels that ECAD is infringing on her family’s rights to privacy.
“Since the center was constructed, the volunteers and staff come and go into the center and they all look right into my yard every time they drive to the parking lot,” she said. “It’s a clear view between our property and their property, along with all the going-ons of their business that runs 365 days a year. We would like our way of life and our privacy to be protected. So far, it has not even been considered, much less protected.”
Pozzo, who has owned his property for 29 years and was living at his residence before ECAD moved in, gave similar statements to The Winsted Phoenix.
“Originally when ECAD opened, I was told that it was going to be a couple of volunteers and a couple of dogs in a training facility,” Pozzo said. “Now I have traffic going up and down the road and it feels like I’m living next to a Wal-Mart. There have been 20 to 30 cars at a time up at the center.”
Pozzo said that a new building on ECAD property would increase traffic.
“There’s going to be more volunteers and more help driving up there,” Pozzo said. “His road adjoins my property, the whole length of it. This year my biggest problem was the dust from the road. We had such a dry year and when you have six or seven cars flying up to the center, one after another, the dust becomes brutal when it comes off of that road. It covered everything in my yard. I have livestock out there breathing it in, and I also have grandchildren playing in the yard and breathing it in.”
Pozzo added that he’s concerned with the water flow and drainage from the center and any potential water flow problems from any new building.
“We’re not opposed to what he is doing, it’s how he is doing it,” Pozzo added. “The bottom line, he’s a tough neighbor to deal with.”