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?

Editorial: P&Z Commissioner Dick Ward Should Recuse Himself from Glass House-Related Matters

Planning & Zoning Commissioner Dick Ward’s continued participation in hearings regarding the Philip Johnson Glass House is unseemly, unhelpful and poses a legal risk to the town. He should recuse himself from related votes and discussions in the future. A neighbor of the Glass House who has faced criticism in the past for refusing to recuse himself when the organization has applied to amend its zoning permit, Ward during P&Z’s July 30 meeting once again spoke out against an application made on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation site. 

He did so unreasonably, unnecessarily and inconsistently with his own past practice as a commissioner. Ward’s Winfield Lane house sits a five-minute walk or two-minute drive from the Glass House property on Ponus Ridge, according to Google Maps. In the past, he has pushed back on the recommendation to recuse himself from Glass House hearings by saying that he doesn’t discuss the organization’s application with others who live in the neighborhood, and that he lives beyond the legally required 100-foot “notification area” for land use applicants.