Planning & Zoning Commission

Recent Articles

‘Negative Ramifications for the Community of New Canaan’: Consultant on Grace Farms’ Proposed Changes to Zoning Regulations

Proposed changes to the regulations that govern land use in New Canaan, now before the town, appear harmless but in fact have dramatic and harmful implications, according to a consultant hired by a set of neighbors opposed to them. Grace Farms’ proposed text amendments to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations appear “innocuous at first blush,” according to Don Poland, senior vice president and managing director of urban planning at East Hartford-based Goman+York. Yet if the Planning & Zoning Commission were to approve the organization’s application, it would “exacerbate the issues of appropriate scale, intensity of use and threats of encroachment across all zones—residential and commercial—in New Canaan,” Poland said in a report filed with P&Z. Specifically, Grace Farms—a “religious institution,” under the regulations—is for practical reasons seeking permission to have more than one such principal use designation. Yet “if the proposed regulation amendment is approved, not only can Grace Farms Foundation be allowed to continue its request for multiple principal uses, but also could subsequently apply for additional principal uses, such as Elderly Housing, Adult Housing, Congregate Care, Bed and Breakfast, Private School, Day Care and Private Recreation,” according to Poland’s May 15 report. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Residents Oppose Grace Farms’ Proposed Text Amendment, Fear Its Far-Reaching Implications

Dear Editor:

We are a group of neighbors who are concerned about the proposed text amendment before the Planning and Zoning Commission. The zoning codes balance the interests of homeowners and developers and should not be modified at the whim of a single constituency. While this amendment is proposed as part of the ongoing battle between Grace Farms and its neighbors, it has ramifications well beyond that portion of our community. The idea that an organization in town can have multiple primary uses should be frightening to any New Canaan resident. Our neighborhood borders St. Continue Reading →

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Independent Consultant: P&Z Should Consider Limiting Events at Grace Farms, Ensure Ties to Approved ‘Religious Institution’ Use

In considering the latest bid from Grace Farms to secure after-the-fact approval for wide-ranging and intense activities on its campus, town officials should consider limiting the number, size and frequency of events there far more strictly than the organization has proposed, according to an independent, third-party consultant. The Planning & Zoning Commission also may address the size and focus of the food service establishment operating at Grace Farms, as well as an outdoor music-playing “sound sculpture” in a pond, according to Simsbury-based consulting firm Planimetrics. Further, any Special Permit granted by P&Z where Grace Farms is seeking to expand beyond its approved principal use as a religious institution “should tie the additional use requests to the ‘religious institution’ so that they are part and parcel of the overall operation,” Planimetrics President Glenn Chalder said in a May 23 report to the commission. “Since the Special Permit requests are being requested for all of the parcels, it might not be prudent to have a situation in the future where a parcel is sold off or transferred in a way that would allow another club/organization/institutional use to be established on another parcel without commission review. Also, by tying the additional uses to the religious institution, this can help the commission avoid or manage a situation where the religious use is no longer active and the club/organization/institutional use is different than described or envisioned today.”

The recommendations come as Grace Farms prepares to appear Tuesday night before P&Z with its third application to amend a zoning permit approved four years ago, having withdrawn its first two. Continue Reading →

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Hopeful Developer of Roger Sherman Inn Is Appealing P&Z’s Denial, Town Planner Says; Timing of Legal Filing in Question

Making good on his word following the town’s denial last month of a plan to redevelop the Roger Sherman Inn property, a Norwalk developer has filed an appeal of the decision in Superior Court, town officials said Tuesday night. The New Canaan town clerk on Monday received an appeal of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s decision, according to Town Planner Steve Palmer. Palmer told members of P&Z during their regular meeting that “it was surprising to receive it [Monday] because Friday the 21st was the end of the 15-day appeal period and the Town Clerk got it yesterday.”

“I was relieved that it came in Monday, but there is still a question of whether it was timely because it may have been in the marshal’s hand in that 15-day period, and there may have been some grace period that is given by the statutes that allows them not to deliver it in 15 days to the town, so [Town Attorney] Ira [Bloom] is researching that. Andrew Glazer of Glazer Group told NewCanaanite.com that he would appeal P&Z’s decision immediately after the group on March 28 denied his application by a 7-2 vote. Glazer had sought to redevelop the property at 195 Oenoke Ridge Road with six single-family homes, and said during an interview just after P&Z’s denial that he was especially disappointed because he had received encouragement from some commissioners to proceed when his plan first came down from eight to seven units, in the fall. Continue Reading →

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‘There Is a Hint of Hypocrisy’: P&Z Rejects ‘Cemetery’ Claims, Signaling Cleared Final Hurdle for Merritt Village

Planning officials on Tuesday night voiced support for proposed changes to the town’s approval for the Merritt Village, signaling the clearing of a final hurdle for the 110-unit condo-and-apartment complex. Because archeological excavations have been undertaken since the Planning & Zoning Commission’s November approval—creating a need to reword parts of it—the group at its regular meeting stopped short of formally voting on an application filed on behalf of property owner M2 Partners. Yet P&Z spoke favorably of updating conditions regarding a burial ground on the Maple Street site that M2 had found objectionable because, if upheld, they would have required the property owner to seek approval for an amended site plan. Saying they’re concerned about preserving local history, some in town have called for P&Z to designate as “cemetery” ground areas of the Maple Street property where, archeological experts have said, people who had been buried there were deliberately dug up and moved to more desirable resting places, such as Lakeview Cemetery. The remaining disinterred grave shafts are scattered throughout a substantial parcel at Merritt Apartments. Continue Reading →

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