To the Editor:
Saturday May 13th marks one year since our neighborhood formally asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to investigate the stark differences between the activities taking place at Grace Farms and what their zoning permit allowed. Over the past year, we have been gratified by a groundswell of support. People are thanking us for protecting the values that New Canaan families want to teach their children: that the end does not justify the means; that rules need to be applied equally to everyone; that promises need to be kept; and that actions have consequences.
People have told us they can’t believe this is happening. They see the orchestrated campaign to highlight Grace Farms Foundation’s good deeds as an effort to change the subject. They recognize that Grace Farms is breaking the promises it made to the town and to neighbors when they got permission to build a church with activities that would be “very normal in relation to what churches do.” And, meanwhile, they see Grace Church-sponsored events being held at other facilities in town to make room at Grace Farms for Foundation events.
Now, with the news that Grace Farms is asking for an unprecedented change to zoning regulations to allow multiple principal uses on a single property, people understand that Grace Farms’ past assertions that it complies with existing zoning rules couldn’t possibly have been true. They see Grace Farms’ credibility eroding with each new version of their story.
Many people tell us they fear the impact on property values if zoning rules are changed to accommodate Grace Farms. If Grace Farms is let off the hook, where will it end? Why should anyone comply with the zoning rules if they can be changed at will?
With the growing support from the community, we expect the rule of law will ultimately prevail. The Grace Farms facility was built under a permit for a religious institution. Control of the property should be given over to Grace Church where it belongs—complying with the existing zoning rules and completing the gift its founders promised.
Timothy Curt & Dona Bissonnette
Michael Buczkiewicz & Jennifer Buczkiewicz
Paul Ostling & Danita Ostling