The Zoning Board of Appeals recently approved a variance paving the way for improvements to a single-family home located at 7 Brinkerhoff Ave. Mario Lopez of ML Builders, on behalf of homeowner Ed Ku, presented plans for improvements to the circa-1918 home during the ZBA’s most recent meeting on Nov. 6. Ku plans to change the pitch of the home’s roof from 7 feet to 14 feet and add a 56 sq. ft.
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved two variances allowing for the construction of a two-family home at 72 East Ave.—however, the project still needs approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission in order to move forward. William Panella plans to raze an existing 1,400-square-foot home on the property, where his late mother Mary had lived, and remove a non-compliant detached garage in the rear in order to build a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. However, in order to get a special permit for the project he needed relief from a requirement that the property have a minimum of 100 feet of frontage (it has only 93 feet) and that the site allow for a conceptual 100-foot diameter “circle” of open area where there is no building footprint (the “circle” is just short at 97 feet) —both of which were granted at the ZBA meeting. The application was continued from the board’s October meeting after some board members expressed concerns over the driveway shown in a preliminary site plan. The initial plan showed the driveway running from East Avenue all the way to the rear of the property, where it was to connect with the parking lot for a new residential and commercial development currently underway at 23 Vitti St.
An application for a variance that would allow a two-family residence on East Avenue to replace a 1900-built single family home there was continued Monday night after town officials expressed concerns over the proposed driveway and pedestrian access way included in the project. On its face, property owner William Panella’s request for a variance for 72 East Ave. is straightforward: The applicant is requesting relief from the residential Zone B requirement for a minimum 100 feet of street frontage, as the property only allows for about 93 feet of frontage, and to allow the driveway from East Avenue to connect with another driveway and parking lot for an adjacent commercial property on Vitti Street. Panella plans to tear down the existing 1,400-square-foot home, where his late mother Mary had lived, as well as the detached garage in the rear and construct a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. Before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, attorney David Rucci of Lampert Williams & Toohey LLC explained that he is, in fact, representing two clients on the project, William Panella, son of the late Mary Panella, whose property is the subject of the application, and Panella’s development partner, Art Collins, who is developing an adjacent property on Vitti Street, directly behind the property on East Avenue and in the town’s Business B zone (see map below).
The owner of a prominent Park Street house that’s lingered on the market for two years is seeking more flexibility from town officials than the New Canaan Zoning Regulations normally allow, regarding his home office. Richard Bergmann, an architect who since 1973 has owned the stately and well-preserved Greek revival at 63 Park St.—a house located in New Canaan’s Historic District that had been owned by Maxwell Perkins, masterful Scribners editor of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Wolfe—on Monday night asked zoning officials for permission to allow the home’s owner to not live in the house while still using its first floor as an office. Specifically, he’s seeking a variance to a section of the zoning regulations (see page 47 here) that allows for a home-based business by permit so long as the person working there also uses the same dwelling as his or her primary residence, among other requirements. One of those requirements is that no more than one nonresident of the house can be employed on the premises—Bergmann in 1985 obtained a variance that allowed him to employ two people in addition to himself at the 1837-built Park Street home. In making his statement of hardship, which Bergmann reviewed before the Zoning Board of Appeals at its regular meeting Monday night, the homeowner noted that the house is adjacent to the town’s business district and that a similarly situated residence already has the allowances that he’s seeking.
Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals at their most recent meeting said they were concerned about a Knapp Lane backyard shed that had been rebuilt bigger and without town approvals and is located near a neighbor’s property line. ZBA member Angelo Ziotas said at the group’s most recent meeting that he also was uneasy with an estimated 80-foot retaining wall created at 109 Knapp Lane that runs some way into the property to the east. Though the retaining wall itself was not part of the property owner’s application for a variance that would grant after-the-fact approval for the shed, “it does color the way in which I am looking at this whole situation,” Ziotas said. “I am really troubled by the trespass and the retaining wall going onto this neighbor’s property,” he said at the ZBA meeting, held at Town Hall. The comments came after town officials issued a homeowner Hasim Sabovic a fine and cease-and-desist order following multiple violations of state laws, building codes and environmental regulations for work done in and near a pond and brooks on his 1.84-property, as well as the built storage shed that sits about eight feet from a neighboring property to the east, in lieu of the 25 feet required under New Canaan’s Zoning Regulations for accessory structures (see page 58 here).