Planning and Zoning Commission

Recent Articles

Latest Plan from Hopeful Developer of Roger Sherman Inn: Move the Historic Building [CORRECTION]

[Editor’s Note: The first version of this article state incorrectly that the oldest part of the Roger Sherman Inn would be razed rather than moved. The developer has since clarified that it will be moved only but preserved in the plan described below. We apologize for the error. See more here.]

For the third time since an initial application came in last fall, the hopeful developer of the Roger Sherman Inn property has filed a new proposal for the 1.89-acre Oenoke Ridge Road property. Under an application filed last week on behalf of Andrew Glazer of Norwalk-based Glazer Group, six single-family dwellings would be built on the property where a 135-seat restaurant and 17-room inn now stand. Continue Reading →

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‘Take a Big Step Back’: Neighbors, Residents Voice Opposition to Plans for Roger Sherman Redevelopment

The proposed redevelopment of the Roger Sherman Inn is too dense for its neighborhood and flies in the face of the documents that govern and guide zoning in New Canaan, an attorney representing opponents of the plan said Tuesday night. Creating seven single-family homes on the 1.8-acre lot at 195 Oenoke Ridge Road where the historic inn and restaurant now stand “really is not in keeping with the properties you see along Oenoke Ridge Road,” according to Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. She represents six neighbors of the inn, on Holmewood and Hampton Lanes. “I think you really need to take a big step back and really make sure that this is something you want to encourage in town,” she told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission during the first public hearing regarding the Roger Sherman Inn proposal, held at Town Hall. “I was hoping to come here today that I would hear something from the applicant about how this plan does conform with the Plan of Conservation and Development, how it does conform with existing New Canaan regulations, because I think that is an essential part of your analysis. Continue Reading →

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‘It Seems Like It’s Overkill’: P&Z Denies Application for Tall Pillars and Gate Proposed for Jonathan Road Driveway

Calling the taller-than-allowed pillars and gate proposed for a second entrance to a home in northern New Canaan excessive, planning officials on Tuesday night rejected a homeowner’s application to install them. The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 7-2 to deny an application to allow 6-foot-high pillars and a slightly smaller gate at 76 Jonathan Road. That property had been purchased (the ranch-style home there razed) and combined earlier this year with 65 Barnegat Road, now a 9.2-acre parcel whose main driveway already has a similar set-up. Making the two entrances match is a major reason for the property owners’ application, according to the attorney who represented them at P&Z’s regularly monthly meeting, held in Town Hall. Yet there’s “no reason for it,” commissioner John Flinn said by way of making a motion to deny the application (P&Z members Dick Ward and Claire Tiscornia cast dissenting votes). Continue Reading →

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‘I Have Let It Go in the Past’: Attorney for Silver Hill Calls Out P&Z Member (and Neighbor) at Public Hearing

After the neighbor of a Valley Road hospital who also sits on the Planning & Zoning Commission wrangled with an architect over a multi-faceted application during a recent public hearing, an attorney representing the nonprofit institution called out the commissioner, objecting to the way he participated in the proceeding. Thanks largely to open communications with Silver Hill Hospital President and Medical Director Dr. Sigurd Ackerman, members of the Silvermine River Neighborhood Association—a group that formed following a long-running legal battle involving the psychiatric facility—issued no objections to a new plan to rebuild an admissions building and make some other changes, attorney Michael Sweeney said during P&Z’s most recent meeting. “Dr. Ackerman called a meeting with the group, worked through the application with the group, there were comments, and he also reached out to other sections of the various neighborhoods around the property, including up on the hill and to the side, had separate meetings with several neighborhood who called with questions and the silence from the room speaks to what a good job he did,” Sweeney told P&Z commissioners during their June 28 meeting, held at Town Hall. “The sad part about this is that Mr. [Kent] Turner never elects to participate. He has not joined the Silvermine River Neighborhood Association and has not reached out to the hospital, and we invite him to do so. Continue Reading →

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After Strained Meeting with Neighbors, Grace Farms Faces Questions About Transparency at Past Public Hearings

Though Grace Farms intends to “work” planning officials regarding complaints that its varied, robust and non-religious activities violate what’s allowed at its 80-acre site, the organization is failing to collaborate in earnest with its own next-door neighbors, according to records of a meeting the two parties held this month. Representatives from Grace at a June 16 meeting with the owners of six abutting properties said out loud that they wanted to understand the neighbors’ concerns, according to minutes of the meeting sent to the chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as the town attorney, town planner and first selectman. Yet, for example, when the neighbors “voiced concerns about the impact of the significant scale, intensity of use, and scope of Grace’s activities on their property values,” representatives from Grace responded “that they understood that Grace Farms was generally perceived as having a positive impact on New Canaan property values,” according to minutes of the meeting taken by a neighbor and sent June 20 to town officials. “The neighbors noted that visitors to their properties have likened the view of Grace Farms to that of an industrial park or an airport, depending upon the time of day, and noted the detrimental impact of regular and virtually unrestricted use of Grace Farms on their safety, security and privacy, which have resulted in a material negative impact on the value and salability of their properties. The Grace representatives continued to emphasize their view that Grace Farms enhances general public perceptions of New Canaan and property value generally in New Canaan, as if the points we just raised relative to our specific properties—all of which directly abut Grace Farms—had not registered with them.”

The discussion also touched on a looming 2-story structure originally depicted as a “shed” in site plans, as well as noise, lighting, long hours and volume of visitors—concerns that Grace personnel previously had dismissed, according to the minutes, obtained by NewCanaanite.com, making it seem “disingenuous for them to be interested in acting like good neighbors now.”

Based on past dealings with people at Grace, “we had not been interacting with an organization whose ‘tone at the top’ was focused on being a good neighbor,” the minutes said. Continue Reading →

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