Planning and Zoning: Rolling Hills gets OK to house workers

After withdrawing a request earlier this year, the Rolling Hills Country Club's second proposal to house employees on club grounds has won the approval of the town's Planning & Zoning Commission.

The commission met on Monday, Sept. 24, and unanimously agreed to the club's revised proposal: keeping eight externs — young foreign workers performing hospitality services — on site, with one acting as a house monitor. The compromise scales back the initial request to house a dozen employees on club grounds.

The approved application includes detailed house rules and a plan for the house monitor to enforce the rules, violations of which trigger immediate employment termination.

One rule is a noise ordinance that limits the residential clubhouse to a nighttime 55-decibel maximum, aimed at discouraging sound equipment that could become a neighborhood nuisance.

Neighbors have already voiced concerns on the club's proposal, specifically Ann Ferguson of Hurlbutt Street, who said a similar living situation at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien resulted in parties "like at a frat house."

Planning & Zoning Vice Chair Michael Rudolph said he was reluctant to agree to the proposal, but felt the concession to eight from 12 is a big step forward.

A large number like eight people in one house has its benefits, Mr. Rudolph said, such as being more self-policing than a household with a lesser number.

The country club still plans to have 12 externs. It will find housing for the other four off club grounds.