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.

Owner of Four-Unit Office Building Seeks To Convert It into Four Condos

The owners of a four-unit office building in downtown New Canaan are seeking to convert those offices into residential condominiums, according to an application filed with the town. Built in 1975, the structure at 93 Cherry St. has always been used for offices. Yet in the last five years, its owners—town residents John and Alice Chen—have “had trouble finding interested tenants for any of the units,” according to an application filed with Planning & Zoning by  New Canaan-based attorney Kay Jex. “At the suggestion of several Realtors and the applicant’s architect, they would like to convert the building into residential apartments,” Jex said in the application.

Neighbor Objects To Proposed Barn on Oenoke Ridge Road

Saying they’re worried about property values, smells, insects and wildlife, the owners of an Oenoke Ridge Road home are objecting to a neighbor’s application to build an approximately 2,000-square-foot, single story barn that would house rescued pigs, sheep and goats. The barn at 1770 Oenoke Ridge Road and its “let-out pens”—an apparent reference to an area out front of the barn that would be enclosed by pasture fencing—would be a “substantial detriment to the neighborhood,” according to a letter submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission by David and Rosie Albright of 1752 Oenoke Ridge Road. “We believe that this proposed variance would have serious negative implications to property values, potentially negatively affect he well water/drinking water systems, and have detrimental impacts on the overall living environment of the immediate neighborhood,” the Albrights wrote. “Regarding the overall living environment, we are specifically concerned about the impacts on air quality due to odors from the animals themselves, manure and manure dumpster, insect control, as well as the let-out pens being constructed in the front yard, in very close proximity to our property. Further, we strongly believe that the aesthetics of let-out pens for such animals positioned in their front yard and visible from Oenoke Ridge will have a negative impact on the surrounding properties.”

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, a homeowner may apply for a special permit to allow accessory buildings that cover more than 1,000 feet.