Owner of New House on Hemlock Hill Road Seeks Permission To Build Pool House in Side Yard Setback

The owner of a 2016-built custom home on Hemlock Hill Road is seeking permission to construct a fully outfitted pool house within a side yard setback.

A rendering of the pool house (northern elevation) proposed for 183 Hemlock Hill Road.

The 25-by-11-foot pool house—renderings show a living room with vaulted ceiling, bathroom and outdoor shower and kitchen—would sit near the southern property line at 183 Hemlock Hill Road and southwest of the 9,266-square-foot home built there last year, according to an application scheduled to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday night.

The application—parts of it are available in the dropdown menu here—appears to seek a variance from a subsection in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations that allows detached accessory residential structures by special permit (see page 53 here).

Specifically, under the zoning regulations, a detached guesthouse or accessory dwelling unit must comply with setbacks for a principal structure in the zone. In the two-acre zone, the minimum side yard setback for such buildings is 35 feet.

“The subject property has a large wetland to the rear of the property and it is served by an on site septic system and well,” according to a narrative that formed part of the application, filed Nov. 4 with Planning & Zoning. “As a result a small pool house can logically only be placed within the side yard.”

The ZBA is scheduled to take up the application at its regular meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall.

According to the applicant, the pool house rises to meet New Canaan’s criteria for special permits—in other words, the variance would have no adverse impact on property values, health, safety or the welfare of the neighborhood.

The neighbor who appears to be most directly affected by the proposed pool house—Michael Canoro, of 183 West Road—wrote a letter to the town in support of the application.

According to tax records, Canoro himself had sold the Hemlock Hill Road property to its current owner—a Farmington-based custom home builder who also lives up there—for $1,650,000 in April 2015.

“We are fine with Fore Group’s application, as the new structure would be placed in a way that creates privacy for both properties,” Canoro said in a Dec. 2 letter.

5 thoughts on “Owner of New House on Hemlock Hill Road Seeks Permission To Build Pool House in Side Yard Setback

  1. The regulations and restrictions put on private land in this town are insane. To have to jump through so many hoops and require variances for someone to do what they’d like on a TWO ACRE property? it has always bothered me that someone can own a huge parcel of land, but if the majority of it is wetlands, they may not be able to have accessory structures. However, they get taxed on the land as if it is buildable!

  2. This building has gone too far. Pretty soon there won’t be an inch of property left. We used to live at 183 west rd and tried to keep things authentic looking. They have ruined the property and the look of an old farm house. All respect for the land in this town is gone. It is really a shame!!

  3. The original (and very historic) parcel at 183 West Road should never have been permitted to be subdivided. That is the root cause of the current problem here, with the responsibility lying on the shoulders of the former owners and the town. The current owners of 183 West Road clearly could not afford to buy their historic home with its nearly 6 acre grounds, so they had to sell off the subdivided 2 acre parcel, forever changing the look and appeal of the whole area. This has been going on around town with increasing frequency for years now, and the issue is becoming alarming. In fact, the New Canaan Land Trust should be focused more on buying up properties in residential areas, and where appropriate tearing down structures that are not historic and letting the land revert to the natural pastoral landscapes that were the hallmark of New Canaan for over a century, up until recently. Frankly, it is much less important for New Canaan Land Trust (with town financial support!) to continue to add to large nature preserves (like the pending “Fowler” purchase) than to buy pockets of two, three or 4 acre parcel’s throughout various neighborhoods and on many key historic town streets that will be forever held in trust by the town for the benefit of all, aesthetically as well as extracurricularly. This will also augment property values substantially. Do so few people in town really understand this?!

    The size of the “house” on 183 Hemlock Hill Road is not appropriate given the size of the parcel and the general situation of the parcel. To make matters worse the builder and architect or unimaginative, lazy, and greedy and that they sacrificed property detail and variation in the roof lines, etc. to make the house look more distinguished and appropriate to the town and it’s history. In fact, when builders put up homes – – of any size frankly – – that are monolithic blocks without an appropriate aesthetic appeal they end up looking like cheap structures or in this case a large condominium complex – simply embarrassing for New Canaan.

    • The size of the “house” on 183 Hemlock Hill Road is not appropriate given the size of the parcel and the general situation of the parcel. To make matters worse many builders and architects are unimaginative, lazy and/or greedy when they sacrifice property detail and variation in roof lines, etc. to make homes look more distinguished and appropriate to our town and it’s history. In fact, when builders put up homes – – of any size frankly – – that are monolithic blocks without an appropriate aesthetic appeal they end up looking like cheap structures or in this case a large condominium complex – simply embarrassing for New Canaan.

  4. I say go ahead and build it. Grace Foundation has demonstrated already that special permits don’t really matter anyway. Hire a good lawyer and eventually you get what you want anyway.

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