‘I Am Optimistic’: Glass House To Reopen April 16

While they must continue to operate under public health-related restrictions that have impacted revenue, officials with an internationally renowned National Trust for Historic Preservation site on Ponus Ridge say they’re looking forward to reopening for the season next month. The Glass House in a normal season draws about 15,000 visitors, according to Executive Director Greg Sages. The figure declined to 5,500 visitors in 2020, and at a reduced per-person revenue, he said. “People were not coming to the Visitors Center in the numbers they had previously, so the Design Store was impacted, too,” Sages said. “It’s doing well but it has been impacted by access to throughput.”

Now, following a unanimous vote by the Planning & Zoning Commission at its Feb.

‘The Glass House’ Seeks Permission To Reopen with Limited On-Site Parking

A National Trust for Historic Preservation site on Ponus Ridge that draws architecture enthusiasts and other visitors from around the world is seeking permission from the Planning & Zoning Commission to reopen in a limited way, as per COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions. 

The Glass House in May won P&Z approval to open under similar conditions for a limited period of time, has applied to the Commission for permission to have up to 16 visitors’ cars park at the 49-acre site itself, since the nonprofit organization’s small tour buses wouldn’t allow or social distancing, according to its executive director. “[T]he Glass House proposes that, for a finite period of time, visitors be allowed to drive to the site,” Greg Sages wrote in a Jan. 27 cover letter to P&Z. “On-site parking would be limited to 16 cars. Parking at West School is not available this year as in-school learning is in effect.

Divided P&Z Approves October Wedding at The Glass House

Despite concerns voiced by a Planning & Zoning Commission member who lives near The Glass House, the appointed body last week voted 4-2 to allow the organization to host a wedding this fall on its Ponus Ridge campus. Dick Ward, a P&Z commissioner who lives on Winfield Lane, .3 miles from the National Trust for Historic Preservation site, said approval of the Oct. 4 wedding “would, in my opinion, create perhaps an unnecessary and perhaps dangerous precedent, on two levels.”

“One is it’s been our longtime practice that financial considerations are not a criteria to support a Special Permit or an amendment to a Special Permit,” Ward said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held Aug. 25 via videoconference. “And it’s pretty clear that the request is based on a financial concern and I don’t think we want to open that door.

Local Organizations and COVID-19: The Glass House

For today’s Q&A with a local business or organization, we talked to Greg Sages, executive director of The Glass House, which has its Visitors Center on Elm Street. In past years, the 49-acre Ponus Ridge site laid out with Philip Johnson-designed buildings has opened May 1, and this year the organization won approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission to open April 16. With the restrictions in place due to coronavirus disease, The Glass House has been unable to open and, like other qualified organizations and businesses, is looking toward Gov. Ned Lamont’s planned May 20 date. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: How are you operating now and what is your plan?