Representatives from a major cultural attraction in New Canaan say they’re willing to withdraw a request that visitors be able to park closer to the renowned architectural site on Ponus Ridge, so long as municipal officials appreciate their need to meet demand for tours and an expanded tour season. Should the Planning & Zoning Commission approve a request to expand the season by two weeks at each end, the Philip Johnson Glass House also would reduce its request for 15 “special small group events” during the winter offseason to five or six, according to Greg Sages, executive director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation site.
Additionally, Sages told P&Z at its most recent meeting, if the Glass House could start tours earlier on Sunday and introduce some new evening hours, it would eliminate some midweek tour offers that don’t draw enough interest to justify staffing them. “We can survive without that,” Sages said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held July 30 at Town Hall. “What is important to us is to be able to extend the season and to be able to start earlier on Sunday and have some evening hours.”
The comments came as Sages and attorney Diana Neeves of Stamford-based Robinson+Cole presented the Glass House’s application to modify an existing Special Permit that specifies when and how the nonprofit organization must operate between its visitors’ center on Elm Street and 49-acre site on Ponus Ridge, open to the public since 2007. The application also seeks to up from 400 to 500 the maximum number of attendees allowed at the Glass House’s lone annual fundraiser, The Summer Party, elimination of a “moratorium” that prevents the Glass House from applying for a specified number of years to amend its operating permit, and to change when specific approval for some types of events requires official sign-off from the town (as opposed to notification from the Glass House).