P&Z Denies Plan for Roger Sherman Inn, Developer Vows To Appeal

Saying the proposed redevelopment of the Roger Sherman Inn is wrong for its neighborhood and that changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations would need to undergo to allow it are too site-specific, officials on Tuesday night by a 7-2 vote denied a plan to replace the Roger Sherman Inn with six single-family homes. Though changing the use of 195 Oenoke Ridge Road from a business to a residence normally would make it more conforming to the regulations, the plan as proposed isn’t “a good trade here, for a lot of reasons” beyond its excessive density, according to Planning & Zoning Commissioner Bill Redman. “One is, it is certainly not like the Maples Inn from years ago, it’s not the same look and feel,” Redman said during a regular meeting of P&Z, held at Town Hall. “Things have changed around town in terms of the types of housing that have gone in. I don’t want to give false hope by saying, ‘Come in with something different.’ I don’t feel that way.

Divided P&Z Disagrees on Whether Roger Sherman Proposal Meets Seldom-Cited Zoning Provision

The hopeful developer of the Roger Sherman Inn site has a strong track record as a builder, the chairman of the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission said last week, and turning down his application to create six new homes on the highly visible 1.8-acre property could open up the town to an even denser re-development. Yet New Canaan already is slated to see smaller dwellings—for example, for seniors seeking manageable “in-town” quarters—through mixed-use developments and the Merritt Village apartment-and-condo complex, according to P&Z Chairman John Goodwin. “I am a little worried about do we continue to allow non-single family housing to push its way outward?” Goodwin said at the Feb. 28 P&Z meeting, held in Town Hall. “And I am worried that it potentially could set a precedent that other developers could use.”

He referred to proposed additions to a section of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations under which developer Andrew Glazer of Rowayton-based Glazer Group has applied to create six dwellings where the old inn and restaurant now stand (including converting the oldest part of the Roger Sherman into one of those units, though physically moving it closer to Oenoke Ridge Road).

‘Protect Us from Turning into Greenwich’: P&Z Adopts More Flexible Regulations for Gates and Columns

Seeking more flexible and legally defensible rules, town officials last week voted to expand a section of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations that pertains to the allowable heights of gates and columns, such as those found at the ends of residential driveways. Until now, homeowners in any residential zone seeking to install fences or freestanding walls higher than four feet above finished grade—when in the front yard and located between the front property line and front yard setback line—applied to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a special permit to do so. The across-the-board rule, while ensuring that New Canaan’s larger residential zones don’t appear sealed from the public roadway in a cold and distant way, have brought on “a number of issues,” according to P&Z Chairman John Goodwin. “It just brings us to a point where we are trying to over-regulate a very difficult area,” Goodwin said during the group’s regular meeting on Jan. 31, held at Town Hall.

P&Z Approves 110 Units for Proposed ‘Merritt Village’ Development

With mixed feelings and in the most heavily conditioned approval in memory, the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday night voted unanimously in favor of allowing up to 110 units for the planned redevelopment of the Merritt Apartments property on the edge of downtown New Canaan. Though the proposed ‘Merritt Village’ complex came down in the total number of units since an application was filed in June—from 123 as originally planned and 116 as later offered—some parts of its townhouse-style buildings will reach four stories. Despite multiple adjustments from the applicant, M2 Partners LLC, which brought down the height of the development in some of its most conspicuous street-facing areas, the new allowable height—which is to be specific to the Merritt Village development—concerned much of the commission. “I am not happy with it,” P&Z Commissioner Jack Flinn said of the decision. “I really, really wanted to see it stay at the 3-story level and not break the 4-story ceiling with this.

P&Z Denies Grace Farms’ Bid To Host Other Organizations’ Sports Programs

Saying it would be a slap in the faces of concerned neighbors and citing the awkward timing of the request, officials on Monday night turned down Grace Farms’ bid to host other organizations’ multiple youth and adult sports activities in its own gymnasium over the next six months. Grace Farms already had applied to amend its operating permit in order to allow for wide-ranging activities that have been taking place on its Lukes Wood Road campus, and OK’ing the use of its gym by other organizations—in this case, the New Canaan YMCA and St. Luke’s School—would be very bad timing because that application is pending, according to members of the Planning & Zoning Commission. Though P&Z may, under Grace Farms’ current permit, make special allowances for such a use, “if there was ever a time you would not want to do it, it is now, while we are considering altering a special permit for Grace Farms,” P&Z commissioner Jack Flinn said during the group’s special meeting, held at Town Hall. “I think it is not incidental.