P&Z Sued Over Pool House Denial on Country Club Road 

The owners of a Country Club Road property have filed a lawsuit against the town seeking to overturn a recent Planning & Zoning Commission decision. At its Jan. 30 meeting, P&Z by a 6-2 vote denied an application filed on behalf of the owners of 274 Country Club Road to allow a detached pool house to exceed the allowable lot building coverage by 843 square feet. An attorney representing owner Benjamin Sutton said that in exchange the allowance, they would encumber at least 1,686 square feet of the single-family residence to 18 inches in height. 

Yet members of the Commission said plans for the pool house could have been included in the original building permit application (a new residence currently is being constructed on the two-acre parcel). 

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, P&Z can issue a Special Permit increasing the maximum building coverage given some conditions, including a limitation on maximum building height (see page 72). During the Jan.

P&Z Sued Over Rilling Ridge Tennis Court Denial

A New Canaan woman on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Planning & Zoning Commission, saying the appointed body erred in denying her application to build a tennis court on her property. According to the complaint filed in state Superior Court on behalf of Amy Tucci of 57 Rilling Ridge, P&Z’s denial during a July 26 special meeting was “illegal, unlawful, arbitrary and capricious.”

“The Defendant Commission ignored and acted in a manner that is inconsistent with and violates the procedural and substantive requirements and provisions of the Zoning Regulations, the Connecticut General Statutes and the common law of the State of Connecticut,” attorney Joel Green of Bridgeport-based Law Offices of Green and Gross, P.C. wrote in the complaint. 

P&Z also “failed to make proper findings of fact and failed to identify sufficient or adequate reasons for its actions,” the complaint said. The application and proposed tennis court “fully comply with the requirements, standards and conditions necessary for the approval of the application pursuant to the Zoning Regulations,” it said. The lawsuit seeks to overturn P&Z’s decision and to award legal costs and “such other and further relief as the Court may determine.”

The Commission’s decision to deny the application was itself a divided vote. 

Tucci—who originally had filed an application to operate a boutique commercial gym at home (later withdrawn)—applied to P&Z for a Special Permit that would allow a tennis court to be located within a 150 feet of the street (see page 55 here), and for a second permit allowing for soil disturbance of more than 10,000 square feet of area in order to (page 149). While some commissioners argued that P&Z has approved applications for similar Special Permits in the past and noted that the court is designed to be just 52-by-115 feet (versus a standard size of 60-by-120), others said it’s inappropriate to approve a tennis court in the front yard and found that the application didn’t meet all Special Permit criteria.

P&Z Approves Dunkin Donuts’ Move to South & Elm

The Planning & Zoning Commission last week approved a proposal from Dunkin Donuts to move from its current location on Elm Street down to the intersection at South Avenue. 

P&Z during a regular meeting held June 28 voted 9-0 in favor of a site plan application for 44 Elm St., former site of the CBD Store. The new location will double the coffee shop’s space in a newly designed interior with windows overlooking two streets, according to Jim Cain, representing the applicant. 

“Basically just continue 25 years of awesome service in the town of New Canaan which we’ve had the pleasure of doing business there,” Cain told members of P&Z. Commission Chair John Goodwin, Secretary Krista Neilson and members Kent Turner, Dick Ward, John Kriz, Claire Tiscornia, John Engel, James Basch and Paul Knag voted in favor of the application. Commissioners Dan Radman, Arthur Casevant and Chris Hering were absent. P&Z members asked Cain and owner’s rep Paul Stone what happened to plans to move across Elm to a commercial space next to the Playhouse (there was a need to increase the power capability there which scuttled that plan), what will happen with mezzanine level that had been in the CBD Store (it will be demolished), whether the basement will be open to the public (no), whether the fit-out will be ADA-compliant (yes), how the exterior door to South Avenue will be used (for deliveries), whether customers will use that door (no customers will come and go from Elm Street), what sort of illumination will be used (it will conform to the Planning & Zoning Regulations), whether there will be outdoor seating (that will be planned in the future) and how the store will get rid of its garbage (there will be multiple pickups during the day by way of the South Avenue door). 

Commissioners also urged Cain to use tasteful sandwich boards and ensure the area around the store is clean.