Summer Street Homeowners Seek Permission for Second-Floor Garage Addition 

The owners of a 2,000-square-foot Colonial on Summer Street are seeking permission from the town to build a second-floor addition on their two-car garage. 

Danny and Rosanna Frattaroli need a pair of variances from the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to create a two-story garage at 91 Summer St. whose midpoint will reach 19.6 feet and total height will reach 25 feet. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, accessory buildings in the B Residence Zone are limited to a building height of 15 feet and total building height of 20 feet. Additionally, accessory structures are limited to 1.5 stories in the zone (see page 61 here). The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear the application at its regular meeting Monday night.

Dispute Between Grace Farms, Neighbors Centers on Use of ‘Operations Center’ Building

A former municipal employee erred in signing off on a zoning permit for Grace Farms that has allowed for a violation of approved uses at the organization’s Lukes Wood Road campus, according to an appeal now before the town. Former interim Town Planner Keisha Fink in April 2018 approved a zoning permit for an interior renovation at the Grace Farms “Operations Center,” a former residential dwelling just inside the gate to the complex that is to be used only for security and other administrative operations for the property, as well as an accessory apartment. Yet Fink made mistakes in filling out her portion of the zoning permit application form itself, according to an appeal filed on behalf of Grace Farms neighbors Jennifer Holme and David Markatos, and the renovation that followed apparently “was undertaken to provide offices for a recently formed nonprofit corporation, Unchain Foundation, that is operating at Grace Farms.”

“Even though the [Planning & Zoning] Commission has not approved Unchain as an additional principal use at Grace Farms, Unchain recently activated its programming, hosting three separate events at Grace Farms in May and June 2019,” according to a July 24 appeal filed by attorney Amy Souchuns of Stamford-based Hurwitz Sagarin Slossberg & Knuff LLC 

In activity reports that Grace Farms is required to file with the town, the Unchain events are listed as generic ‘justice events’ implicitly attributed to Grace Farms itself, according to the appeal. Such an expanded use should have required formal P&Z approval, not Fink’s administrative sign-off, the appeal said. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals opened the appeal at its Sept. 9 meeting and is expected to take it up again during a regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday. 

Though zoning officials, after consulting with town counsel, say the appeal appears to be limited by state law to the Fink-issued permit—and not the building permit and Certificate of Occupancy for the “safety building” that followed—they also appear to concede that Fink made mistakes.

Neighbors Support Plan for Proposed Garage To Replace Dilapidated Carter Street Shed

Neighbors are voicing support for a Carter Street homeowner’s plans to create a three-car garage where a dilapidated shed now stands. The proposal for 306 Carter St. requires modest variances from the New Canaan Zoning Regulations for two reasons. First, the new garage would put the property, which includes an antique root cellar and stone well pump house, about 360 square feet over maximum allowable coverage (see page 57 here), according to the applicant. Second, the single-story garage would sit about 27 feet from a rear yard setback, in lieu of a required 35 (page 58), homeowner Doug Harris said in an application filed this month with Planning & Zoning.

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.