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.
“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.