Neighbors take steps to amend zoning rules
About 100 people have expressed interest in a group that is hoping to stem development at 183 Ridgefield Road. Vicki Mavis, a neighbor of the property, has filed an application to amend the age-restricting zoning regulations enacted last year on behalf of the group.
The regulations as they stand would pave the way for the submission of plans for a 35-home development on the 13.45-acre site that came to light last month. The property is where the 19th-Century Schlichting homestead, now demolished, once stood. A crowd turned out last week for a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, which has been asked for a referral on a request to extend the town sewer line from the area of Lovers Lane to the development. The commissioners will return to that request, which came from the Water Pollution Control Authority, at their next meeting, on March 13.
On Tuesday, March 7, Mavis filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission an application for a “Proposed Amendment to Zoning Regulation AROD — Age Restricted Overlay District, Section 29-5.F (4)(2)(d)(a).
In a letter to the commissioners and Town Planner Bob Nerney, Mavis said the application includes “a request for a moratorium on any developments falling under the AROD until such time as a final determination on the requested Amendment has been issued.” She also asked that the application be added to the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Nerney told the Bulletin the application will appear on the March 13 agenda, but only to accept the application and schedule a public hearing. “No testimony will be heard, just acceptance and scheduling,” he said.
Specifically, the amendment asks that Ridgefield Road be removed from a list of potential AROD zones. The application says including Ridgefield Road as a potential location for such an overlay district is inconsistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. Striking Ridgefield Road is the only change requested.
Mavis’s application says the Plan of Conservation and Development identifies Ridgefield Road as a sewer avoidance area, but 183 Ridgefield Road LLC, in arguing for the development, says the parcel is not in a primary sewer avoidance area on the map labeled “Water and Sewer Plan.” Both arguments reference page 91 of the Plan of Conservation and Development.
The legend for the map on that page shows four types of areas:
- Existing sewer and water service area.
- Existing water service area.
- Public water supply watershed area/primary sewer avoidance area.
- Other sewer avoidance area/septic management area.
The map appears to show 183 Ridgefield Road in the “other sewer avoidance area/septic management area.”
The application also cites, with respect to development in the Plan of Conservation and Development, the goal of retaining “the low density pattern of housing” and encourages “development in village-type patterns in appropriate areas.”
Finally, the application says the proposed development is counter to Ridgefield Road being designated a state scenic roadway.
Mavis said she and the people who have gathered around this issue recognize the revenue that development can bring to the town, but said this location is inappropriate for a development of the size that has been suggested.
She has also filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all communications regarding the zoning change and proposed development from 2014 to the present from Nerney, Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Joe Fiteni, and First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice.
“We’ll appreciate the town responding in kind with more transparency than we discovered thus far,” she told The Bulletin.
“The town needs to display more openness in its actions as well as answer legitimate questions and concerns posed by affected members of the community.”
Anyone who would like to learn more about the group may email Mavis at firstname.lastname@example.org.