P&Z is dodging and shucking

Shorelands residents flee the wrath of Diane

Shorelands residents flee the wrath of Diane

The P&Z has two new proposals to punish homeowners and while both were originally scheduled to be discussed tonight, one of them has been shunted off to another, unspecified date, in what I suspect is a strategy of divide and conquer: force the citizens, most of whom have real jobs, unlike our P&Z meddlers, to come out twice, rather than once. Too much discord, too much heat for the staff to deal with in one evening.

The first rule change, the one that will still be “discussed” (in P&Z talk, that means “you squawk, we’ll ram it through anyway”) is the demand that homeowners pay for the town to hire consultants to represent the P&Z in combating the homeowner’s project. That’s a fun one, but there’s another, far more (well just as, anyway) egregious, and that’s to cut in half the allowable dollar amount that can be spent to repair a flood damaged home before being required to raze the structure or stick it up on stilts 20′ in the air. That one is no longer on tonight’s agenda.

There is another, somewhat related proposal currently before the zoning board that will not be discussed Tuesday night. This one could have a serious impact on the “substantial damage” clause. According to Planning and Zoning documents, in addition to homes that reach the 50 percent threshold, the new proposal would require homes that suffer two instances of flood-related damage costing 25 percent or more of the structure’s original value within a decade to be brought into FEMA compliance.

Detractors say it’s unfair to Old Greenwich homeowners; Planning and Zoning officials say more compliant homes make the community safer during extreme weather events.

That change will be discussed at a later date.

As an aside, I see that P&Z staffer and daughter of BET member John Blankley (and how did that happen?) Katie Blankley-DeLuca is still using the same tactic her boss Diana Fox does, misstating the scope of these rules. “If you have a million dollar home”, says Ms. Blankley, “you can still make renovations or improvements up to $500,000.” The restriction on spending is calculated on the value of the structure, not the land. There are many, many homes in Old Greenwich that are “worth” more than $1 million, so $500,000 must sound reassuring, but the value of most of those properties is in the land, not the 1950′s house sitting atop of it. Blankely knows this, knows that what she and her staff are proposing will limit, say, a $300,000 house to maybe a new kitchen and perhaps an updated bath, but she continues to use the $1 million figure. So does Diane Fox. I called her on it back at the last FEMA “discussion”, Fox acknowledged her error that night yet persists in using the million dollar example anyway. Duplicitous and deceitful? Our P&Z staff, our employees? Perish the thought.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “P&Z is dodging and shucking

  1. housecat

    There must be someone (elected?) that she and Savageau answer to.

  2. Anonymous

    Rope ‘n Change.

  3. This past weekend we left a petition in most of the stores in Old Greenwich and went door to door getting signatures. As Chris says the only way to potentially halt this madness is with community action so it is upto each and every resident who is threatened to get involved in some small way. If you haven’t signed please send name and address to gcunningham@cpp-llc.com. Here are the 4 points:
    1. Remove the additional foot required above the base flood elevation level in the first floor height requirements.
    2. Change the first alteration standard from “August 19, 1986” to “within the last five years” in the definition of substantial improvement to permit reconstruction of our homes AND have the clock reset every 5 years.
    3. Amend Sec. 6-5(a)(9) to measure building height from the base flood elevation rather than average grade in flood zones.
    4. Exclude area below the base flood elevation from the calculation of Floor Area Ratio and Stories under Sec. 6-205.

  4. Anonymous

    the item is still on the agenda as a discussion item. P and Z will be looking for feedback from the residents so its worth your time to go and try to talk reason..

    • Anonymous

      … or not…. reasonable administrators wouldn’t conjure such outlandish, clueless and dictatorial edicts.

      when voting and reason don’t work, wailing won’t make a difference, and it already may be past time for tar and feathers.