Walter Stewart’s Seeks Variance for New Rooftop Condenser; Seminary Street Neighbors Object

An attorney representing one of New Canaan’s best-established businesses is seeking permission from the town to maintain a rooftop condenser unit that reaches .75 inches higher than regulations allow. Installed two summers ago, the condenser atop Walter Stewart’s Market also is located about four feet closer to the westerly edge of the roof at 229 Elm St. than allowed in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, according to an application filed with the town by Steve Finn of Stamford-based Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky LLP. 

In making his case for the variance to the Zoning Board of Appeals, Finn noted that “the Walter Stewart’s Market buildings were build prior to the enactment of the zoning regulations” whose limits in the Business A zone on the maximum height of buildings and location of rooftop appurtenances such as the condenser now require formal permission from the town. “The location and height of the new condenser unit would be in compliance with the zoning regulations up until approximately 1982 when the current restrictions on height first started to appear in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations,” Finn said in a statement of hardship filed on behalf of the market. 

“The application of the height requirement retroactively to buildings constructed in 1978 and 1957 would make it virtually impossible to have environmentally efficient up-to-date code and industry-compliant mechanicals necessary to safety operate the Applicant’s grocery store,” he said. 

Finn continued: “A hardship results from the amendment to the zoning regulations decreasing the maximum building height which was enacted after the [Applicant] bought the property for its grocery business and constructed the buildings on the site. It would not only be a hardship but unfair to require the Applicant to comply with a zoning regulation which was changed after the property was purchased and the buildings were constructed.

Orchard Drive Homeowner Seeks Permission To Build Second Story

The new owner of a 1947-built Orchard Drive home is seeking permission from the town to construct a second floor over part of the house. Though it does not predate the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, the 1,769-square-foot, four-bedroom Cape Cod-style home at 111 Orchard Drive encroaches on the front yard setback by mere inches in two places, according to a recently completed survey of the property, officials say. The .35-acre property, located in the “A Residential” zone, was purchased for $775,000 in October, tax records show. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, a nonconforming structure in the zone may only be enlarged if it complies with the regs or gets a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals (see page 158 here). The ZBA is scheduled to take up the application at its regular meeting Monday night.

Did You Hear … ?

Tuesday saw one of the all-time worst parking jobs on Elm Street. Passersby and downtown workers wandered outside as events unfolded after a motorist parked the nose of a Volvo wagon in the handicapped space in front of Dunkin Donuts. The car was towed. ***

Parks officials said Wednesday that the town received about 230 applications for nonresident family permits to Waveny Pool. The town sold 120 of the permits—the Parks & Recreation Commission recommended they sell for $1,200 apiece—following a May 1 lottery.

Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Proposed Two-Family House on Raymond Street

Saying a new two-family home would bring excessive traffic to their short residential street and that an application to allow for such is without merit and makes no accommodation for parking, neighbors of a vacant .36-acre parcel on Raymond Street at a recent meeting voiced concerns to town officials. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, a property in the B Residential Zone must have a lot diameter of at least 100 feet in order for its owner to apply for a special permit to build a two-family home on it (see page 42 here). Yet the lot in question is 87.8 feet wide, according to an application for a variance from its owners—a company whose principals are Marcin Pyda, Marta Yaniv and Viktor Lahodyuk, according to records on file with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. Saying he would welcome a single-family home on the lot, William Wartinbee, an immediate neighbor with four kids, urged members of the Zoning Board of Appeals at their most recent meeting to deny the application to build a two-family home there. “The hardship claim for this property does not have any merit,” Wartinbee said during the ZBA’s April 2 meeting, held at Town Hall.

Property Owner Seeks To Build Two-Family Home on Locust Avenue

The owner of a vacant, narrow lot on the edge of downtown New Canaan is seeking permission to build a two-family home on the .27-acre property. The town 15 years ago issued a demolition permit for the house that had stood at 102 Locust Ave. In May 2013, the town issued its then-owner a permit to build a new 4,000-square-foot single-family home there, but the owner never came in to pay for it, building records show. The next month, a limited liability company whose principals live in Rye, N.Y. bought the vacant lot for $520,000. That company—Imperial Real Estate Holdings LLC—has filed an application for a variance in order to build what appears to be a single two-family dwelling running the length of the lot, near the intersection of Locust at Hillside Avenue.