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 2020.
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.”
In a previous interview with The Winsted Phoenix, Picard threatened legal action against the town if the commission did not approve the special permit.
The permit application has been subject to opposition by several neighbors of the ECAD property.

Also on the agenda is an application by ECAD requesting a change to zoning regulations that would allow for a bonus of 5 percent impervious surface coverage when Low Impact Development (LID) techniques are employed in the Rural Residential (RR) Zone.
According to a letter from the Northwest Hills Council of Governments [NHCOG], the staff at NHCOG reviewed the proposed amendment and found no conflict with regional plans or policies, and that the proposed amendment is consistent with the Regional Plan of Conservation and Development’s goals to protect water quality in the region.
However, residents Alan and Deirdre DiCara, who live at 244 South Road, filed a letter with the commission opposing the amendment.
“This is to register our opposition to any changes in our Zoning regulations and to also oppose any granting of any Special Permits regarding the ECAD proposals to do so ‘within 100 feet of our property’ or which would violate existing buffers and setbacks found in our current zoning laws and regulations because we believe any such granting of same would violate the letter and spirit and intent of our local laws and regulations, infringe on our property rights, reduce the value of our property, and be the possible source of unwanted noise, pollution and peace of mind on our property,” Alan and Deirdre DiCara wrote in their letter. “While we certainly respect the good work ECAD does and perhaps their need to expand, we submit that any expansion needed should be done elsewhere and in zones that allow such activities as ECAD’s without needing to upend the letter and intent of our zoning laws and regulations.”
Also on the agenda is a discussion of a special permit application for a landscape and construction yard at 100 New Hartford Road by James Koczko.
The location was for many years a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and has been vacant for several years.
Another special permit application up for discussion is an application submitted by Sharon Hines, owner of a building on 450 Main Street.
The application is a proposal to have two small shops on the first floor, and nine apartments on the second and third floors of the building.
Over the years, the building has been the location of several antique stores and a vape store.
As of press time, a copy of both special permit applications are not available on the town’s website.