Planning and Zoning Commission

Recent Articles

Country Club of New Canaan Seeks To Expand Clubhouse, Relocate Pool

Saying major projects are needed to update its facilities and meet the needs of its members, one of New Canaan’s oldest organizations is applying to rebuild and reconfigure various structures at its 153-acre property. The Country Club of New Canaan last week applied to the Planning & Zoning Commission to relocate its pool and rebuild a pool house as well as to reconfigure and expand its heavily used main clubhouse. CCNC’s membership will not increase as part of the project, which is designed to “retain the feel of a residential estate in the 4-acre zone,” according to the application, filed on behalf of the club by attorney Steve Finn of Stamford-based Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky. “The Club recognizes its civic responsibility to provide an appropriate architectural presence for the area,” according to the application. “The plans are consistent with the original mission: a ‘club in the country.’ The submitted design recalls many of the architectural aspects of the original clubhouse of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is representative of southern New England architecture at the time.”

The project’s overall purpose is “to reconfigure the club facilities to better serve the membership,” according to a statement that accompanies the club’s Special Permit application, and “the functioning of many aspects of the club will be upgraded and enhanced, and circulation by members to the various facilities will be improved.”

“One of the major features of the proposed project is the relocation of the pool to the east, closer to Smith Ridge Road. Continue Reading →

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Officials: New Canaan Needs More Formal Way To Review Architecture of Proposed Building Projects Downtown

Saying that guidelines for maintaining and enhancing the village feel of downtown New Canaan need more teeth, planning officials are seeking a more formal way to review the architecture, scale and materials of proposed building projects in the business district. Members of a Planning & Zoning Commission subcommittee said at their most recent meeting that New Canaan must find a better way to ensure adherence to a 27-page document created in 2010 called the ‘Village District Design Guidelines.’

Though P&Z created that document, “we never put a tight set of regulations around it,” Jean Grzelecki of the Plan of Conservation & Development Implementation Committee said at the group’s most recent meeting. “We have a design manual which is something we recommend that everybody follows, and maybe we could strengthen that by adding it a as a special permit to the business district,” she said at the Nov. 28 meeting, held in Town Hall. “Some reasonable adherence to the design manual, because everyone once in a while we get some very strange-looking stuff. Continue Reading →

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P&Z Denies Aquarion’s Bid To Subdivide Indian Waters Drive Property

Saying a wooded property at the end of Indian Waters Drive is too narrow to subdivide and that a development proposal is out of keeping with the residential neighborhood at the end of a private access way, officials on Tuesday night denied an application to carve out two building lots there. The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to deny the closely followed special permit and two-lot subdivision applications, filed on behalf of Aquarion. Though the proposed subdivision would set aside 4.1 acres of open space, it provides no real access to it, according to commissioner Laszlo Papp. “I do not believe that the commission has the authority to waive that requirement [for accessibility to open space], either by Special Permit or otherwise,” Papp said during the commission’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “So that I see as a serious problem for approval. Continue Reading →

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Town Attorney Seeks To Address ‘Alleged Procedural Defects’ with Grace Farms Approval through Re-Filing

Seeking to address part of a lawsuit filed by neighbors of Grace Farms, New Canaan’s town attorney is asking the Lukes Wood Road organization to re-file its applications for an amended permit and changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations. The Planning & Zoning Commission approved the applications in September on a record-high number of conditions following months of public hearings. However, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith Ridge Road residents Timothy Curt and Dona Bissonnette, the post-hearing legal notices of P&Z’s decision were “defective, incomplete and misleading” and also failed to meet the requirements of state law or the town’s own zoning regulations. According to the complaint filed by attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury-based Moriarty, Paetzoid & Sherwood, P&Z also failed to file a copy of the regulation change with the Town Clerk prior to the effective date of the amended regulation, according to the complaint. Though the town would “contest these claims in court,” one way to address “the alleged procedural defects now and thereby reduce the risk of a court later overruling our position and requiring re-filing and new hearing, after the full effort and expense of the administrative appeal process” will be to re-file, according to a Nov. Continue Reading →

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Second Neighbor Files Suit Following P&Z’s Conditioned Approval of Grace Farms Application

A second set of Grace Farms neighbors this month filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the town’s decision to grant the organization an amended zoning permit that allow for wide-ranging activities on its Lukes Wood Road campus. The New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission’s heavily conditioned Sept. 26 approval of Grace Farms’ application was made “illegally, arbitrarily, and in an abuse of its discretion” in several ways, according to an appeal filed on behalf of Danita and Paul Ostling of Smith Ridge Road. The application did not conform to various requirements of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, according a complaint filed Nov. 1 in state Superior Court in Stamford, including a section that outlines what is allowed by Special Permit in those regs (see page 42 here) and others that lay out the criteria and considerations for making a decision on such applications (page 170). Continue Reading →

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