Planning and Zoning Commission

Recent Articles

Bid for Temporary Injunction Seeks To Undo Grace Farms Approvals, Return To 2013 Permit

Grace Farms must revert to the terms of its 2013 special permit, as a religious institution only, because the validity of a more recent approval is now in question, according to a recent legal filing from one of the organization’s neighbors. According to a motion filed on behalf of Smith Ridge Road residents Tim Curt and Dona Bissonnette, though Grace Farms itself is appealing some of the 100 conditions imposed by the Planning & Zoning Commission in an approval from last fall, both that Lukes Wood Road organization and the Planning & Zoning Commission “have been proceeding as if the special permit which is the subject of this appeal were in full force and effect, and have been pursuing activities which would only be permitted if this court determines after a hearing that the special permit is valid.”

The motion filed by attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury-based Moriarty, Paetzold & Sherwood also notes that the validity of a prior P&Z decision regarding Grace Farms—specifically, a decision to amend the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to allow for more than one “principle use”—may be invalid due to a filing mistake, as described in a separate lawsuit. Because of that mistake and on the advice of Town Attorney Ira Bloom, Grace in November re-filed its applications for a text change and special permit—then in January withdrew them, saying only that it was satisfied, after all, with the earlier approval. Yet “by reapplying for the text amendment and the special permit on which it depends, at the request of counsel to the commission, the plaintiff and the commission are acknowledging the previous approvals are invalid,” according to the motion filed by Sherwood. “There is simply no other logical explanation for the resubmission of identical applications incorporating thousands of pages of documents nor justification for the inordinate time and expense required t process and consider them if not to correct the errors identified in the Curt/Bisonnette appeals. Continue Reading →

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P&Z Seeks Way To Influence Applications for Cell Towers on Private Property

Though a state agency has exclusive jurisdiction over applications to erect cell towers on private property, town officials said Tuesday night, New Canaan should try to update its Zoning Regulations such that they urge—if not require—applicants to check in with the local Planning & Zoning Commission so that standards such as setbacks are respected. New Canaan will have “real headaches” as efforts to improve wireless service move from using public land to private property, P&Z commissioner Laszlo Papp said during the group’s regular meeting, held in a crowded board room at Town Hall. “I am afraid that we will have a tremendous public outcry … but very little to do because this is going to be the [Connecticut] Siting Council’s business, not the town’s business—a little setback or minor adjustment—and I am not happy to sit here and listen to that kind of an outcry,” Papp said at the meeting, attended by about 40 people, forcing some into a hallway. The comments—addressed to a consultant who is advising the town on updating the telecom facilities section of its Zoning Regulations (see page 157 here)—come on the heels of a Soundview Lane resident disclosing that he’s pursuing what would be the first cell tower on private residential property in New Canaan (others already are installed on private property owned by the Country Club of New Canaan and Silver Hill Hospital). Keith Richey’s plan—outlined on a newly launched website—calls for a tower with a total height of 90 feet, to be mounted from a base that forms part of a 1,763-square-foot structure inside a 2,310-square-foot area, according to a site plan shared with NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is a Massive Building’: Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Proposed Athletic Facility at New Canaan Country School

Saying a proposed new athletic facility at New Canaan Country School would loom too close to their property line as currently envisioned, neighbors of the private Frogtown Road institution are calling on officials to deny an application now before the town. To be located east and a bit further away from Frogtown Road from an existing and outdated facility that will be razed, the new structure would sit 40 feet from the eastern property line—a distance that, though it technically meets the setback requirement of 35 feet laid out in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, is at “astonishingly close range” to the residential property that’s been in George Moore’s family since about 1938, he said. “We respectfully ask that the New Canaan Planning & Zoning board reject this proposal,” Moore told members of the P&Z Commission at their Jan. 30 regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “We feel like this is a real affront to our family’s property and property value. Continue Reading →

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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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