Letter: Roger Sherman Neighbor Urges P&Z To Turn Down Developer’s Plan


With the Planning and Zoning Commission approaching its decision regarding Andy Glazer’s proposed plan for the Roger Sherman Inn property, I want to thank its members for the time they’ve put into deliberating this so carefully.

I also want to reiterate a primary concern shared by my neighbors on Holmewood Lane and beyond.

When some of us attended the first public hearing several months ago, we feared that minds had already been made up in favor of the project, but the time that’s lapsed since then would suggest that voices of concern have been heard and the matter is getting the careful consideration it deserves.

The citizens of New Canaan depend on P&Z and all town officials to protect the property values of existing taxpayers, even when tempted by incremental tax dollars.

For the record, this is not about Mr. Glazer or the quality of his work. It’s about adhering to the one-acre zoning rules that protect existing homeowners. The creep of institutional and cluster housing evidenced by other applications such as the Merritt apartments, Grace Farms and The Glass House could significantly impair these rights along with the character of our community.

We count on you, P&Z, to do the right thing for our neighborhood and the community at large.


Gigi Brush Priebe

2 thoughts on “Letter: Roger Sherman Neighbor Urges P&Z To Turn Down Developer’s Plan

  1. Zoning regulations exist to give certainty — certainty of use, property values, character and ability to regulate to name a few of the key principles. They are created with a lot of forethought. If exceptions continue to be made or the rules willfully disregarded with no meaningful enforcement when violations are brought to the attention of town officials, then what do we really have as a town blueprint and social contract? Derogations from the regulations and the POCD should be the exception, not the rule. This lack of certainty and the general climate of arbitrariness that has developed in land use matters in New Canaan only serves to degrade public trust in the town’s institutions. Let’s keep things simple and require applicants to follow the rules.

  2. In reading the articles and comments relating to the Inn, there is significant discussions on the options. Four houses will need to be built to justify the $5M sales price (imagine how much was to be made if seven houses were allowed). Also, no Inn/Restaurant operator could justify a $5M initial investment. Obviously, the number of homes and the viability of a standalone Inn/Restaurant is highly dependent on the sale price. Surprisingly, I have seen little (maybe none) discussion that justifies the $5M sale price.
    It has been noted that the property was purchased in 2008 for $3M. I assume that the same restrictions on its use were in place. A buyer today or back in 2008, would know that it would need to continue the Inn’s operations or develop the land under rather limited options (unless given a pass by P&Z).
    What explains the 66% increase in the value of the property? Certainly not the overall residential real estate market. Yes, the current owners made additional capital investments but those are of no value to a developer. Jennifer rightly notes above the importance of consistency. To me, the 2008 price assumed P&Z would limited the use of the property. The current selling price reflects that P&Z would give a pass.
    I don’t begrudge the owner for looking to maximize the value (most would likely do the same thing) and I am proudly the furthest thing from a lawyer but I believe the role of the P&Z is to enforce rules not make them up (see SCOTUS hearings).
    I also believe in the free market (let prices set themselves). Said differently, the value of the property is determined by the legal uses. If our zoning laws determine that two houses are the maximum then the value of the property is not $5M. If it is determined that the highest and best use is as an Inn then the value is not $5M. The P&Z should not make exceptions to justify a sale price.
    Everyone can have their own view of a Less Objectionable Use but I have never driven by the RS Inn and wished that there were four homes in its place.

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