‘Orchards End’ Health and Wellness Organization To Seek Special Permit To Operate at Oenoke Ridge Residence

A special permit application will be filed on behalf of a new health-and-wellness enterprise on Oenoke Ridge Road, according to an attorney representing the organization.

Discussed at a Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday, Orchards End seeks to “to bring preventative and restorative lifelong health solutions to souls looking to enrich their lives through mind, body and spiritual enlightenment,” according to its mission statement. Services include personal and group training classes, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, nutrition counseling, massage and holistic health seminars.

Attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert Toohey & Rucci, LLC said Orchards End of 544 Oenoke Ridge road “is not an ongoing commercial enterprise.”

“Our special permit application will specifically describe the activities at the property as far as any nonresidential use,” he told NewCanaanite.com.

The applicant will file for a special permit as a “Major Home Occupation,” described in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations as follows (see page 24): “The use of a dwelling for a home-based business involve two or more non-resident employees or six or more patron, client or associate visits per week.”

A major home occupation is a permitted accessory use and requires a special permit, under Section 3.3.C.3 of the zoning regulations (see page 49).

According to its website, “Orchards End is a retreat-like environment that provides essentials for a healthy body, both on the inside and the outside, using only natural methods, teachings and products that set individuals on the path to greater fulfillment and responsibility for their health.”

Town officials say they’re planning a site visit to Orchards End next week.

Founder Elsa Sykes said a nonprofit organization has been established under Orchards End’s name, and that the organization launched in October with a free health-and-wellness “reboot,” offered as a gift to friends.

“What we are trying to do is something good for the community and for friends and in no way, shape or form is this a commercial business or spa,” Sykes said.

Asked about price points listed on the website, Sykes said some of the professionals who have offered one-off services at Orchards End collect a fee but that no money goes to the organization itself for those services.

With sessions held in a renovated cottage and barn on the 6.26-acre property, the October event was a success, Sykes said, focused on a program “where you eliminate toxic foods, inflammatory foods from diet.”

“You focus on getting healthy in mind-body-spirit,” she told NewCanaanite.com. “It was said that this is something the community really needs, so we did not do anything for the subsequent months. I once led a [session for a] group of women at no cost and we decided that in March we would launch another reboot program where they could do the diet and we would have a lot of educational talks and it would be very limited in the number of people participating, out of respect for the neighborhood.”

Sykes said she is pursuing a new entrance/egress driveway coming off of Oenoke Ridge Road that would serve the accessory structures used by Orchards End. Rucci confirmed that the new drive would be part of the special permit application, likely to come before P&Z in March.

5 thoughts on “‘Orchards End’ Health and Wellness Organization To Seek Special Permit To Operate at Oenoke Ridge Residence

  1. Oh Boy! My first reaction is you have to be kidding. Non profit? Always interesting. Is this huge structure now off our tax rolls too. Remember folks you have all these same services offered in Town. With people doing it the old fashion way of paying rent, paying Town taxes etc. If you ask me that’s the real holistic model. I’ll be interested in getting the details on this business model. Remember we just broke our zoning rules in a false dream of this is what will save our unique Town’s retail zone. Time will tell on this one.

  2. Jack, I agree with you. But look at it this way. At least they’re being required to get a special use permit. Now, if it was a for profit sober house operating out of a home in a residential neighborhood they wouldn’t even have to notify the town!

  3. At $995 for the month apparently expensive to focus on “mind – body -spirit” I find that a free daily walk around Waveny with my dogs does the trick for me. The northwest corner of New Canaan seems to be turning into a little self help enclave with the help of favorable zoning.
    Next up might I suggest a financial well being center.

  4. If the photos on Orchards End’s website are correct, it looks like they have already done a ‘tenant fit out’ of the place for business. To not apply for a building permit is a total disregard for public safety, not to mention zoning regulations set forth in this town. Building permits require licensed electricians, plumbers etc., that are also required to pull permits to work on said job in question. Building Inspectors and Fire Marshalls inspect work in progress to make certain that gas lines, wires, heating elements, ventilation systems, exit signs, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors and enough doors for exits (egress) are in place and installed properly. This is appalling.

    • To be clear, the property owner did obtain plumbing, electrical and HVAC building permits in 2016 to convert the three-car garage into a yoga studio. The discussion that’s underway between Orchards End and the town is about what additional health or zoning permits would be needed, based on the operation.

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