‘These Are Our Pets’: Applicant for Proposed Sanctuary Barn Makes Case to P&Z; Another Neighbor Objects
After hearing from an Oenoke Ridge Road man that a neighbor’s plan to install a barn and pens for rescued pigs, goats and sheep was insufficient and potentially a health hazard, town officials on Tuesday night called for more time and an expert’s perspective on the proposal. The Planning & Zoning Commission continued the application filed on behalf of Laura Holson Boswerger of 1770 Oenoke Ridge Road.
A Wilton native who met her husband at a wildlife sanctuary in Africa and has volunteered at the Animal Care Centers of New York City and Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, N.Y., Boswerger purchased her four-acre property in northern New Canaan in October after researching its ordinances on keeping farm animals, she told the Commission during its regular meeting. After consulting with an expert from the Woodstock sanctuary, Boswerger put together a plan to rescue four slaughterhouse-bound pigs, goats and sheep and to build an approximately 2,000-square-foot barn where the 12 animals could live, creating separate paddocks that would run out of the structure. Under New Canaan’s Zoning Regulations, such an accessory structure larger than 1,000 square feet requires a Special Permit from P&Z, and Boswerger applied for that permit through her attorney—David Rucci of New Canaan’s Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC.
One neighbor lodged objections to the plan with the Commission that Boswerger addressed during the hearing (more on that below), and another resident of the area—Joseph Gerardi of 1745 Oenoke Ridge Road, which is across the street and one property over—told P&Z that what’s proposed would not be “safe, sanitary, aesthetic and comfortable” for the animals. “These animals, they need pasture areas that rotate because of parasites—animals get sick and if you don’t rotate the let-out areas, it is not healthy for them,” Gerardi told P&Z during the public hearing, held in the Town Meeting Room at Town Hall.