Glass House Seeks Permission To Modify Hours, Notification Requirements, Parking

A Ponus Ridge historic site and architectural tourist attraction is seeking modest changes to its operating permit, according to papers filed with the town. The Philip Johnson Glass House is requesting permission to increase its hours of operation and to change when town approval is required for certain events, according to an application to modify an existing Special Permit, filed June 26 with Planning & Zoning. The current Special Permit authorizes the use of National Trust for Historic Preservation site as a “limited public access museum,” according to the application. The 49-acre site, which includes 14 buildings designed by the famed architect, opened to the public in 2007. 

An application, filed by attorney Ted O’Hanlan of Robinson + Cole, seeks to extend the public tour season by two weeks at both the beginning and end—meaning it would begin April 16 and end Dec. 15.

Owner of Walgreens Building Seeks Permission To Open Access to Underground Parking Garage 

The owner of the Pine Street building that houses Walgreens is seeking permission to open access to an unused 52-space underground parking garage, according to an application filed with Planning & Zoning. Constructed at the time the building at 36 Pine St. went up 12 years ago, the vast garage was created in anticipation that the Planning & Zoning Commission would update local regulations so that underground parking was allowed in the Business A zone, according to an application filed on behalf of the property owner, New York-based Eton Centers Inc.

An amendment to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations came into effect about three years after the building’s construction, according to the application filed by attorney Steve Finn of Stamford’s Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky LLP. “Recently after urging by the first selectman and others, Eton Centers Co LLC has decided to ‘open up’ the underground space and utilize it for a parking garage with ingress and egress to the garage to be constructed along the easterly side of the building,” Finn said in a narrative that accompanied applications for Special Permit and site plan approval. 

A site plan shows a 28-foot-wide proposed garage opening at the far end of the east side of the building (see rendering above). The regularly updated document that helps guide land use planning in New Canaan, the Plan of Conservation and Development or ‘POCD,’ “strongly endorses addressing a parking deficient for both downtown patrons and commuters,” the application said.

Owners of Two Richmond Hill Road Homes Propose Combined Parcel, Redevelopment with Four Dwellings

The owners of two contiguous properties on Richmond Hill Road are seeking permission from the town to knock down the single-family homes already there, combine the parcels and then build four new dwellings. Filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission on behalf of owners Dennis Quinn and Joan Cheever, the plan for numbers 19 and 25 Richmond Hill Road requires not only site plan and Special Permit approval, but also changes to the underlying New Canaan Zoning Regulations. 

The proposal is “designed to provide high quality multi-family housing in single occupancy units to contribute to the unique and diverse housing opportunities in the Apartment Zone and adjacent to the downtown,” according to the application filed by attorney Jacqueline Kaufman of Stamford-based Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey. “The Applicant has designed the proposed dwellings to be consistent with the surrounding Richmond Hill neighborhood, which consists of a mix of aging and new single-family and multifamily dwellings.”

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, site plan approval is needed for development of a multifamily use in a residential zone (see page 179 here), and a Special Permit is required to construct multifamily dwellings in the Apartment Zone (page 100). According to the application, the project meets required Special Permit criteria (page 186). 

The regulations specify that for properties in the Apartment Zone, the minimum side and rear yard setbacks for a principal bundling are 25 feet and properties in the Apartment Zone have a minimum landscaped area of 50%. Under proposed changes to the regulations, the setback distance would be preserved for a single structure, while it may be reduced to 20 feet “for properties with multiple structures, with Special Permit approval,” while the landscaping figure would be reduced to 30% for such structures. 

The proposed text changes to the Zoning Regulations also add the following sentence to the definition of ‘multifamily dwelling’: “The Multi-Family Dwelling use may be provided as attached or detached units and may share exterior amenities on the subject property as provided by the permitting Regulation.”

According to the application, each of the four detached dwelling units planned for the would-be merged lot will be designed for single-family occupancy. 

“New landscaping, driveways, sidewalks, lighting and drainage improvements are also proposed,” it said.