Maxipad to grace Indian Head Road in Riverside

Good bye to all that

Good bye to all that

112 Indian Head, 2 acres in the 1-acre zone, sold for $5.3 million last fall, an impressive figure, but not as impressive as the $7,250,000 original 2010 price. A nice older house but as I suggested here back in 2010, its value was its land, not the charm of an old house destined for the dumpster.

And tomorrow night the new owners will come closer to accomplish that by applying to the P&Z for approval to build what seems like a pretty big house to me:

JKLR LLC. wants to demolish a home and build a 12,215-square-foot residence, new driveway, two detached garages, an accessory living structure, pool, spa, bath house and patios on a 2.07-acre lot at 112 Indian Head Road.

Do the math with me here – the FAR Czar in his wisdom decreed that the maximum allowable house on a two acre lot shall be 7,841 sq. feet – 43,560 X 2 X 0.09 FAR

The maximum allowable house size on one acre is 5,880.00 (in the one-acre zone. In a two acre zone, that same one acre is punished and the FAR size is reduced to 3,920 sq.ft. Does that makes sense to you? Never mind ).

But if 7,842 sq feet is deemed too large for the two-acre zone, and 5,880 sq.ft. has been determined to be the maximum ideal size of a home in the one-acre zone, how is it that a 12,215 sq.ft. house in the one acre zone is appropriate? Why is a home owner allowed 7,851 on one two-acre plot and 55% more, 12,215, on another two acre lot?

I am not objecting to this large house going up, but I do object to the utter lunacy of the Floor Area Ratio scheme that’s been foisted on Greenwich property owners; it has survived every attempt to instill some rationality into the process while the RTM has abdicated its role in governing the town by leaving the enactment of ever-more-onerous FAR regulations  to the demented, arrogant Land Use Committee and the staff of the P&Z.

28 Comments

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28 responses to “Maxipad to grace Indian Head Road in Riverside

  1. Anonymous

    Isn’t the 7841 sq. ft. a footprint limit as opposed to a total square footage limit?

    • no – everything: garage, pool house, attic

      • Toke

        But probably not the basement, if they have half a brain and dig down 10′ and site the ground floor at no more than 3′ above grade

        • Which means, essentially, that walk-out basements count and from showing a lot of houses with walk-out and dungeons basements I can assure you that buyers don’t count dungeons as worth anything, fully equipped with gyms and wine cellars or not. This costs sellers quite a bit.

  2. Anonymous

    P&Z is spinning out of control. They are going to get their asses sued by some very pissed off Greenwich residents of means. Ironically, they will use Greenwich tax dollars to defend themselves. Enough is enough with these people. They are undereducated bureacrats with little to no practical experience.

  3. Fed up in Greenwich

    So, what can we do about it? The stupid FAR regs I mean, not necessarily this oversized house. Can a bunch of concerned citizens get a petition/ collect signatures do something to change this totally unfair and stupid reg?
    C’mon, someone’s got to do something!
    I know everyone complains, but never met anyone who thinks this makes any sense.

  4. FF

    Chris, getting people in a lather when you need the proper facts. When a house is larger than 150,000 CUBIC feet, you are required to measure the entire house, including basement, to see if you exceed that number. If you do not exceed 150,000 cubic feet, and your “above ground” FAR does not exceed the maximum, you don’t need P&Z approval. This is a check on truly monsterous houses, which are often criticized by neighbors for being out of scale with a neighborhood

    • Tell me about walk out basements

    • While you’re at, explain how someone’s use of his attic affects bulk- assuming height limits aren’t exceeded, what business is it of the P&Z whether that attic is built as useable space?

      • cos cobber

        The P and Z’s view on attics is where the town is totally stupid and indefensible.

        • Westchesterer

          The P&Z is stupid, useless and evil. All planning and zoning boards should be ruled unconstitutional, since their only purpose is to steal private property(a taking) and property rights. They are the most vile thugs and their position invites unbounded corruption. Unpaid officials that rule over million dollar projects? How much money is handed under the table to these thugs?

  5. Anonymous

    Seems steep for a non-waterftont land lot in RS. The land price has gone up that much? Perhaps only in RS&OG..

  6. Westchesterer

    Why? Because they want to take away your property rights, ala communism. Zoning laws are theft of private property. The zoning thugs will only make their laws more restrictive. The more restrictive they become, the less valuable your property it since it diminishes the possibility of new capital investment. The thugs will argue that they constrain supply with their laws, increasing the value, but they fail to acknowledge that they constrain demand a well, decreasing the value.

    It’s much like a communist land grab in numerous ways. The government has control of the use of your property, and can fine you if you are not compliant with their laws. The notion of private property, as individual ownership, is eroded since you potentially have no say in how your property is used. Secondly, the whole notion of zoning functions as a centrally planned economy that is hand crafted by the local planning and zoning thugs. What they say is appropriate for a particular property is how it will be. They don’t believe that the free market is efficient and functioned perfectly, prior to zoning laws, for hundreds of years

    The worst part of it is that they can make your land non-compliant with new zoning laws, and therefore, after the fact, revoke any plans you had for your property. This is where deeds show their superiority in neighborhood design. With a deed, you buy a property with the knowledge of what the restrictions are. With zoning laws, the P&Z can change the law whenever they want, creating new restrictions that were not present when you purchased the property, making your property non-compliant.

  7. If zoning regs were optional many people would opt out to get what they want. The purpose of the regulations are to control and limit the behavior of your neighbors.

  8. D

    I’m always very interested when we discuss FAR b/c as an American the idea of the P&Z and the power they wield amazes me. Every time it is discussed though, I’m shocked there’s no one bringing up what should be a lengthy history of challenging FAR’s constitutionality. Anyone know any case law?

    As an aside… not that I was anywhere near in the market for this house, but I really liked it. Especially the small house it had on the separate lot. Very cool and a damn shame its being torn down, but as you said CF, it was too small compared to the dirt it was on… Anyone should be able to do with their property as they please and if this guy thinks there’s a market for non-waterfront of this size on 2-acres – let him try.

    • Constitutionality of zoning laws was approved a long time ago. Maybe Oliver Wendall Holmes, the old commie, wrote the opinion but I don’t remember.
      Which doesn’t mean there isn’t a constitutional prohibition against taking an individual’s property. But by mostly 5-4 decisions, that right has been pretty much destroyed.
      Pray for the conservatives on the court to outlive Obummer.

  9. Anon

    Essentially, P&Z should not allow more FAR on a 2 acre lot in a 1 acre zone than in a 2 acre zone. The flip side is that non-conforming streets should be allowed to take advantage of the actual zoning on which they were built, and not the superimposed zoning. For example putting a one acre street into a 2 acre zone after the whole street is built on one acre may not have mattered years ago. Now the street should have the FAR for the one acre zone. In fact it should be in a one acre zone. Can you imagine 3 1/2 story house on a one acre street in a 2 acre zone? That is allowed by the crazy zoning.

    The P&Z should carefully examine oversized and undersized lots. Monster houses may need to be cut back to reasonable size. Undersized lots should be given the benefit of greater FAR. Whole streets of undersized lots should be put into the zoning where the lots actually are.

    • Westchesterer

      Why should the P&Z do anything, except dissolve itself? Do you really think they’re going to grant you property rights when their sole existence is to revoke property rights? Property rights are the enemy of the P&Z. Property owners had property rights before planning and zoning boards. The P&Z made sure that they took them away.

      So, explain to me, how does the P&Z benefit you? Wouldn’t most of your problems be solved if there was no P&Z and we let free markets dictate home sizes.

  10. Anon

    The constitutional challenges to zoning regulations are mostly unsuccessful. The FAR would never have come in the way it did – clobbering undersized lots in their value – if there was any legal recourse against the P&Z.

  11. Riverside

    I notice the application references (in addition to a main house) an accessory living structure and TWO detached garages (as well as a pool house). Not sure how these will lay out on the property, but on the surface it sounds like the new owner may be keeping all options open on the issue of separate lots/ structures for some future division of the property.

  12. Libertarian Advocate

    I had no idea that sanitary napkins came that large. Did you Walt?

  13. Anonymous

    Going back to what FF was posting – key is here that they apparently need P&Z approval so that likely whatever it is that they are building does not conform to the rules, otherwise no approvals would be necessary. Not to say that the regular P&Z rules make sense – many things don’t, and the use of attic space is indeed an example of how you can get to ridiculous results.

  14. Great interchange….
    But do not worry everything is so well “planned” since the Robert Moses crowd takeover of Greenwich in 1963 as an example also on the dockkett is another wonderful tarffic study that shows traffic will not be impacted, the same “professional” PE brain endorsed method of planning that assured traffic would not be impacted anywhere in Town or Fairfield County and of course our schools would thrive and be less expensive.

  15. OG

    Too big for Riverside, off-water. There is already a monster house further down Indian Head that the owners can’t unload.

  16. Anon

    The fact that people can not use their attics goes against everything the p&z is trying to do. By limiting the buildable space people can use it forces them to build bigger. I just finished my house and I I were allowed to use my attic I would have built smaller lower levels.

  17. crucetti prop

    that lot is next to a stream,shows people will buy anything

  18. Rick

    Thank you Franklin Bloomer

  19. Anonymous

    I agree that two acre zoning limits should apply to a 2 acre site in a one acre zone if it is not being subdivided. The planned for house sounds insanely huge. I find the selling price to be incredibly high considering that it is a land sale for a lot with no view that has Indian Head Road wrapping most of its perimeter. I personally think zoning is an important tool for maintaining the character and quality of life of neighborhoods, towns and cities. If you want to live without zoning, move out West to a state like Arizona where you have incompatible uses slammed up against each other and lots of hideous buildings. Even with zoning we seem to have an abundance of much too large houses in Riverside.