FARMINGTON — While the Farmington Village Corp. and the town code enforcement department have historically worked well together, and plan to continue to do so, what would happen if there was a conflict in their governing rules?

That was the question that prompted the Board of Selectmen to seek a legal opinion from town attorney Frank Underkuffler and invite Jane Woodman, business manager for the corporation, to give a history of how the it developed, adopted its zoning ordinance and planning and appeal boards.

“There are two entities doing the same thing,” Steve Kaiser, code enforcement officer, told the board. “But I can’t report any problems.”

But there’s only one code enforcement officer and that’s Kaiser, Town Manager Richard Davis said.

The town could trump a decision made by the corporation that conflicted with the town ordinance, Kaiser said, noting the potential for any issues that could develop from the corporation denying an application that’s acceptable to the town.

While the town adopted a zoning ordinance in 1998, the Farmington Village Corp.’s zoning plan dates back to 1955, Woodman said.


It only covers from Horn’s Corner to the north, Fairview Avenue to the east, Tannery Brook to the south and the river to the west, she said.

The corporation was created by a legislative act in 1850 to provide services for townspeople that rural homeowners didn’t have and didn’t want to pay for, she said. Those services included fire hydrants, night watchmen, street lights and maintenance of streets.

The corporation’s zoning plan developed from a Sun Oil plan in 1955 to build a gas station next to the Congregational church. Members didn’t want it and turned to the corporation for help. The corporation approved a plan that limited uses in residential, business and industrial zones of the corporation.

A board of five reviews any applications to the corporation and there is an appeal process for decisions, she said.

There aren’t many applications. Of the 130 permits reviewed in the past 30 years, eight were denied for nonconformity, she said. Most dealt with change of use, a few for building.

The last appeal occurred this summer when University Credit Union at High and Middle streets sought a permit to raze the house next to it and create a parking lot. It withdrew its application when it realized it couldn’t get a permit on a property it didn’t own, she said.

Selectmen questioned the need for a resident to go to both places and pay the $25 permitting fee charged by the corporation but agreed the clarification helped.

The history of the corporation helped build the foundation for what the town has, Kaiser said.

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