Serenity’s Owner Goes Head to Head with Town Monday Night at Planning and Zoning Meeting

This article was published on: 08/9/16 3:33 AM by Mike Minarsky

phillips serenitys

Monday night’s Planning and Zoning meeting in Griswold had a little extra flair to it since it housed the ongoing battle between Keith Phillips and his mobile food truck, “Serenity’s and the town. The battle has been whether or not Phillips should be allowed to put up a tent or shading on his lot that he rents space which is adjacent to the AmericINN Hotel and Suites. Phillips has stated in the past that he needs shading because there is absolutely no shade at his location and it’s simply too hot to eat the food that he serves daily. Phillips had purchased a canopy style tent that covers 600 square feet. He was told to take it down. That led to some sour words between himself and the Town’s Planner, Mario Tristany. During one conversation between both Phillips and Tristany, Phillips asked to have Tristany show him in the regulations where he couldn’t have a tent/canopy on his location. Tristany had responded by stating, “Show me where it says you can.” Which, was a statement that was verified by both parties, and also led to Phillips filing a formal complaint with the town regarding Tristany. During the meeting last evening, Planning and Zoning Chairman Martin McKinney had mentioned that there are different interpretations in this, however, the town attorney advised that is a provision/regulation is not listed, then you should not do it. Concurring comments were also made by Vice Chairman Courtland Kinnie. As the meeting continued, Mario Tristany was asked to read the regulations regarding tents and canopy’s pertaining to mobile vendors. The fire code for the state of Connecticut says that you can utilize a canopy, which has no sides or walls, up to 400 square feet. You can have 2, but they would have to be 10 feet apart. Phillips’ structure again is 600 square feet. The town, who had no regulation did get a closer tonight in regards to mobile vendors outside the borough of Jewett City by adopting a regulation in line with the state fire code allowing the 400 square feet. The commission also voted to send this issue of Phillips’ structure to go to a public hearing at next month’s regular Planning and Zoning meeting. Phillips stated at the end of the meeting that he was going to put up his structure on Tuesday regardless of the outcome of tonight’s meeting.

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