Grace Farms

Recent Articles

Grace Farms Sues Town Over Conditions of P&Z Approval

Saying its rights as a religious organization are being violated, Grace Farms on Friday sued the town in connection with conditions included in recent approvals from the Planning & Zoning Commission. The Grace Farms Foundation “is statutorily and classically aggrieved” by P&Z’s Sept. 26 heavily conditioned approval of its application to amend its zoning permit and is appealing the town’s decision because it is “specially and injuriously affected,” according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Lukes Wood Road organization by Attorney Diana Neeves of Stamford-based Robinson + Cole. “The Resolution is illegal, arbitrary, capricious and constitutes an abuse of discretion for a variety of reasons,” including that it “imposes conditions on activities and events of the [Grace Farms] Foundation that are not reasonably supported by substantial evidence in the record before the Commission about the [Grace Farms] Foundation’s operations and how they protect the health and safety of visitors and the neighborhood,” according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court and received Oct. 20 in the New Canaan Town Clerk’s office. Continue Reading →

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Grace Farms’ Neighbor Files Lawsuit Seeking To Reverse P&Z’s Approvals

Saying the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recent approvals of Grace Farms’ closely followed applications will hurt them financially and threaten residential zones in New Canaan, a neighbor of the Lukes Wood Road organization on Monday filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court seeking to reverse those decisions. According to complaints filed on behalf of Smith Ridge Road residents Timothy Curt and Dona Bissonnette by attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury-based Moriarty, Paetzoid & Sherwood, the neighbors are “aggrieved by the action of” P&Z, because their property “is adversely affected by” changes to New Canaan’s zoning regulations. The lawsuit refers to amendments to the regulations that allow an applicant to seek multiple principal uses for their properties—something Grace Farms wanted in order to be categorized not only as a religious institution but also as a philanthropic agency and club. “The amendments allow applications for multiple principal uses in residential zones and encourage the expansion of commercial and institutional uses in residential zones, to the detriment of established residential uses,” according to the complaint. Further, the complaint says, the plaintiffs are “aggrieved” by P&Z’s decision because they’ve “suffered and will suffer economic damage as a result of the regulation changes and their implementation on the abutting property of Grace Farms Foundation Inc.”

The neighbors are seeking for the court to reverse P&Z decision on the text changes—as well as to nullify the commission’s approval of Grace Farms’ amended special permit application—and to be awarded costs and “such other relief as the court deems appropriate.”

P&Z by a 5-4 margin approved the text amendment application at its July 25 meeting. Continue Reading →

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Grace Farms Cannot Host Revenue-Generating Events, Must Remove ‘Sound Sculpture’ from Pond Under Draft Conditions for Approval

Grace Farms may not host revenue-generating events, must remove the “sound sculpture” from a pond on its property and may not advertise its food service establishment as a standalone amenity, according to conditions now under consideration by the town as part of the organization’s closely followed application. At the same time, the Lukes Wood Road facility may expand the operating hours of its “Commons” cafeteria, as well as its “Tea Room,” may sell books, souvenirs and other items, can let outside groups use its gym and may continue as a religious organization while also calling itself a club or philanthropic agency, under some of the 25 findings and 99 conditions now in draft form before the Planning & Zoning Commission. P&Z is scheduled to take up the application, again, at its regular 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at Town Hall. Commissioners in their deliberations since closing the public hearing on Grace Farms have said that the organization is unlike any that’s come before P&Z in the past. That said, if approved, the revised permit expected to set a new standard for what’s allowable with respect to institutional uses in residential zones in town. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

The “Welcome Home” New Canaan video above is the 30-second version of a production that started making the rounds last week, a public-private collaboration that included the town, Board of Realtors and Chamber of Commerce. ***

New Canaan dog owners on the “delinquent list”—those who had dogs licensed in the past but haven’t done so in this licensing year (which started July 1)—can expect to get a reminder soon from the Town Clerk’s office. There are about 500 dog owners on that list and, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, the list includes all 15 dog owners who had been cited and fined last year for failure to license their dogs. ***

The Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday night approved an application to re-subdivide into four lots a combined 10.14-acre parcel on Greenley Road. The 5-acre parcel at 291 Greenley already includes a 6,300-square-foot home that was built in 1927 (the same year that New Canaan High School and Karl Chevrolet were founded), tax records show. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Grace Farms Has Helped ‘Full Court Peace’ Operate Year-Round

Over the past two years, the nonprofit, Full Court Peace, has grown financially and in its outreach. This would not have been possible without the support of Grace Farms Foundation and facility of Grace Farms.

Five years ago, I initiated a program to unite locally disadvantaged youth with their more affluent neighbors in Fairfield County through basketball. At first a once-per-year event, Grace Farms helped make this a year-round occurrence. Their administration made for a smooth, professional and thorough application process for the kids to use the facility, and their staff supported me as I put together various programs that worked toward our mission. Grace Farms is indeed a shared space for all to enjoy. Continue Reading →

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