CrossFit proposal worries Fawn Ridge residents

Wilton may soon welcome Gold Shore CrossFit to 22 Danbury Road, but residents of the Fawn Ridge Condominium complex are less than excited at the prospect.

The Planning & Zoning Commission will vote on allowing the Cross-Fit facility by special permit at its meeting, on Monday, Feb. 10.

Gold Shore’s potential 8,200-square-foot building next to the Gateway Shopping Center is in a design business district, and has been empty since 2006 when it was sold to the current owner. The driveway also serves the Fawn Ridge complex and is known as Fawn Ridge Lane.

Many of the condominium residents worry the additional traffic associated with Gold Shore will make their already-busy driveway nearly unusable.

Allison Jennings, a resident of the Norwalk side of Fawn Ridge, said at a recent Planning & Zoning hearing that the driveway already backs up during rush hour.

“This is a hazardous spot where people need to be careful,” she said. “When you factor in residents going to work and school, there will be an extra-long line of cars trying to exit. And what about cars trying to enter the [gym’s] driveway? There will be a pile of cars waiting to turn in.”

A CrossFit style gym, according to the applicant’s attorney, Casey Healy, is “not a typical gym,” and will create less traffic than a traditional gym or retail business.

“CrossFit is a program of strength and conditioning training,” he said. “There is a constant mix of gymnastics, cardio, and Olympic weight lifting. All of the training sessions are conducted by a trainer, whether it is a group class or a personal training session,” and they are by appointment only.

The gym plans on restricting its class size to a maximum of 22 people, Mr. Healy said, and is staggering the classes by at least 30 minutes to make sure the building’s limited parking capacity is never exceeded.

With only 28 parking spaces — two of which are for the handicapped — residents of the Fawn Ridge complex worry potential overflow traffic will result in lost spaces in their parking lot, and lost time waiting in traffic to exit their complex.

Though she spoke only for a number of residents, attorney Barbara Hager was representing the condominium’s owners’ association when she said her clients are opposed to the CrossFit facility.

“It’s just going to be too many people getting out, and I think also what will happen is people will be overlapping” during back-to-back classes, she said. “They’re going to go park on Fawn Ridge Lane because it’s there.

“I just don’t know how much control we will have over people bringing cars to class, finishing class, and leaving. We’re concerned we don’t see any way this will work properly so there isn’t too much chaos and traffic that impacts everyone in a negative way.”

However, gym owner Ethan Hirschman said his facility’s “sign-up only” policy will allow it to easily control the amount of parking and traffic on the site.

“We will be pretty stringent about when and how many people are showing up,” he said. “As we get closer to capacity, we will limit classes so we do not have parking or traffic problems. Being able to monitor classes and control class size allows us to do a lot of things with parking traffic and overflow issues.”