People are still building in Greenwich, and building big

P&Z Commison’s latest actions:

• A final site plan to construct a new home, pool, pool patio and new driveway at 23 Palmer Lane was approved.

• The commissioners approved a plan to construct a 13,038 square foot home at 228 Round Hill Road.

• A new 18,058 square foot home at 471 Lake Ave., received the commission’s blessing.

30 Comments

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30 responses to “People are still building in Greenwich, and building big

  1. CF-
    You would do the readership of FWIW a favor to quote more details from the P & Z Action Agenda on line than to wait for the Gr. Time to eclipse important details (although credit is due to Frank MacEachern at GT for staying up past midnight to record the drama – including the Bella Nona story:

    From GT:
    “Indulging in some gallows humor, and noting that it was near midnight, Kral acknowleged his application wasn’t going to overcome the commissioners’ doubts.

    “It’s apparent, and given the hour, that I am kind of a dead man walking,” said Kral about his failed attempts to get the commission’s blessing.

    Here’s the action agenda summary:

    The Greenwich Water Club/Beacon Point Marina; applications PLPZ 2010 00066 and PLPZ 2010 00067 for a preliminary site plan and special permit, to demolish the Marine Services Building and construct a smaller one of 7,855 sq. ft. on the south-west corner of the property, extend and connect the public access walkway with the property at 33 River Road, construct a boat launch ramp and dock to the east of the old Marine Service Building, construct a three level addition to the rear of Building 2 (Clubhouse) of 7,693 sq. ft. to include expanded food storage area and locker area, expand dining and bar area and Clubhouse offices, expand active Clubhouse area on the upper level, relocate outdoor dining, increase overall seating capacity from 80 seats to 112 seats and from 14 bar seats to 18 bar seats and increase the outdoor dining capacity from 28 seats to 48 seats; construct a 2-level addition to Building 3 for a total of 7,738 sq. ft. to expand existing uses (training center and storage for rowing sculls); construct a new outdoor swimming pool and pool deck to the north of Building 2; a new parking configuration of the existing 381 parking spaces, including 7 handicap and 2 loading areas, reconfigure winter boat storage area and the winter parking requirement of 100 parking spaces on a 5.53 acre property located at 49 River Road, Cos Cob in the WB zone.

    My take on the River front:

    Boating and rowing are water dependent. So is a “Water Club” and a vibrant marina center.

    The Town has a very long and dark history of turning its eyes away from the deterioration, desecration and dereliction of the waterfront from the coming of the railroad in 1848 or so, to the present story of the Cos Cob Power Plant.

    One man stands out in this story as willing to turn the river and harbor around, and make a business go of it for the good of the community and the immediate neighborhood. That man is Rick Kral.
    (I say this as an impartial observer with no connection to the project, but as river and rowing enthusiast.)

    P & Z consistently acts against applicants for WB uses on the grounds that auxiliary uses are not water-dependent. The Commissioners hold the State responsible, but this stretches credulity when we look at what the rest of the State has for waterfront uses and development.

    A local example of this extreme rigidity: A river marina owner cannot construct a home on the public street in front of his river property to become a resident-owner, because residential activity is not wholly water-dependent. Thus, the river properties are vacant at night of owners.

    It is simple common sense that such facilities require auxiliary uses and spaces to be economically viable.

    This is the work of the free market place – not zoning regulators.

  2. Teri Buhl

    Who owns the land on 228 Round Hill Rd. Anyone know?

  3. Anonymous

    CF, Apologies for the O/T inquiry.

    In recent weeks you have posted a few times on the Greenwich Police Department.

    In your role as town scribe, could you inquire or investigate to see if any of Greenwich’s finest are members of Oathkeepers?

    Thanks, in advance.

  4. Teri-
    Most Towns make this type of inquiry easy.

    Greenwich posts the full property detail on-line in its Information Dept. access to the GIS. However, it is in a form that is virtually impossible for the public to use.

    228 Round Hill Rd. LLC lists to Silverleaf Capital, 15 Bank St. Ste 305, Stamford, CT 06901.

  5. Anonymous

    You’ve got the “town scribe” thing wrong, Anon@8:47. It’s Bill Clark (Greenwich Gossip in the Blogroll here) who styles himself as “your scribe.” CF has never called himself that (thank heaven).

    Beware! Bill owns that title and will defend it unto your last tire.

  6. The Duke of Deception

    Dopes.
    1st class dopes.

  7. Pete

    The property was purchased by 228 Round Hill Road LLC in February 2010 for $3,850,000. 4.68 acres with a contemporary dwelling built in 1980, 5,410 sq. ft.

  8. Anon1

    Building and living in a hotel sized home is obscene. Much like the crux of the Ground Zero mosque debate, they have the right to build it, but should they? Living in a nice home is one thing. Flaunting one’s wealth is another.

  9. Cos Cobber

    As long as Rick Kral continues to maximize his dock space (which he does) and continue to provide repair and lift services (which he does) and a boat ramp (got that too), what else could he do with the site? Like he says, the days of dockside industry are over, at least the type this town would ever permit. I suppose he could call BP to see if they are interested in installing a home heating oil terminal or Maersk for a container terminal.

    I hope he continues to push for his expansion/upgrade. Perhaps, with patience, he can get the “water use” special zoning area definition revised. Otherwise, I dont want to see a return of the Byram waterfront to Cos Cob.

  10. JVJ

    Greenwich Water Club is a valuable resource to the community and the town should grant Rick the expansion.

  11. Cos Cobber

    so the vote against kral was 5 – o?

    i hope kral keeps pushing.

  12. Anonymous

    Distrust sanctimonious commies who seek to dictate how the money of other individuals should be earned/consumed/invested: may economic freedom prevail

    Poverty is often a lifestyle choice not solved by wealth redistribution

    Basic macroeconomics: money flows through economy, creating jobs and tax revenues, whether consumed or invested: commies tend to have a poor understanding of such basic concepts

  13. peeps

    Oversized houses cause people to need too much outside help. Even if I was loaded, I wouldn’t like having so many witnesses around to my depravity.

    I hate it when maids, butlers, nannies gossip, but it sure does happen, and it’s often not just to other maids, butlers and nannies.

    Same thing with a boat. The bigger it gets, the more help you need and the fewer places you can go because you need longer dock space or a deeper draw.

    A boston whaler or a kayak, and a little waterfront shack would sure fill the bill, though.

  14. Jimbo

    I think P&Z has it right regarding restrictive development on the water front.

    It is probably true that the restrictive uses they have in mind don’t support the high values that the property has been traded at. But that argues that Rick and others have paid too much, not that the restictions need to be changed.

    Island Surveyor, normally sensible, makes no sense with the “dereliction and deterioration” rant, including trying to tie this issue in the power plan fiasco.

    Cos Cobber says, “Like he [Krall] says, the days of dockside industry are over, at least the type this town would ever permit.” I’d change that to read, “Like Krall says, the days of dockside industry are over, at least the type that would earn him enough to justify the prices Krall paid for his property.”

  15. See see all the way to the bottom of:

    http://96.56.48.67/Greenwich/Zoning/Lot-Coverage.htm

    and explain the harbor condition without “deterioration, desecration and dereliction of the waterfront from the coming of the railroad in 1848 or so.”

  16. Georgie in Greenwich

    I don’t know any of the players involved, but I agree with others that he should pursue this wonderful idea. Its amazing the dead thinking out there sometimes.

  17. Jimbo-

    In all fairness to you, I concede that was a rant. And you are right on the valuation/business model issue – but that is not the proper concern of P&Z.

    We are close to the day when we will everyone will wake up with the simultaneous realization that a $10,000,000 home in worthless dollars is well, worthless.

    If you think the rich are angry now, wait until that moment strikes.

  18. Cos Cobber

    Jimbo, I dont know what Kral paid for the property, but I dont see how it matters. If he paid 100,000,000 the complaints against the expansion would be the same as if he paid ten cents.

    The Byram waterfront opposite of Port Chester on the Byram river gives one a nice view of the way it is around here in the glorious boat repair/dock business when you dont have something more to offer. Same with some pockets of Cos Cob harbor.

    At present the water club has over a 1 year wait. The place is gaining momentum and for the time being its not a place where you need to know someone to be a part of it.

    I just dont understand how you could be against this project.

    I hope they widen the definition of water based businesses to include club facilities at some point.

    Perhaps its time to take down the Greenwich Racket Club, the Palmer Point Condominiums and the newish medical office building at 35 River Road…none of these meet the water based business test.

  19. pulled up in OG

    Is this the same property the Clam Box family failed to develop? Don’t remember what they wanted to put up.

  20. Jimbo

    “At present the water club has ovea a 1 year wait.” That shows the popularity of water based businesses and the shortage of supply.

    So we need to allow those water based businesses to expand into non-water based actitivities?

    Why? Because of the valuation/business model issue that Island Surveyor — seeming to undermine his argument — correctly notes isn’t a proper concern of P&Z?

    I’m afraid you guys aren’t making any sense.

  21. Cos Cobber

    Jimbo, we’ll have to agree to disagree, because I feel you aren’t making any sense either.

    Their isnt a 1 year wait for the docks alone, there is a 1 year wait for the club and its facilities, chiefly the combination of pool/fitness/boat.

  22. peeps

    Pulled up in OG reminded me of how great the Clam Box was. Great free seafood at happy hour and steamers came by the bucket. Jimmy the cop was a bartender. Maybe a new Clam box could go in the Greenwich Ave Post Office.

  23. Let’s separate Mr Kral and Water Club from the general discussion of the WB zone.

    Here’s a good case to consider: A CVS on the Mill Street Bridge in Byram at the “downtown” corner of N & S Water St. is rejected because CVS is not a water dependent business.

    The site was at the end of the Federal channel, blocked by the old Showboat (literally) and the low bridge over the river.

    So the revitalization of the Village of Byram is postponed, more businesses fail, the Wahba condos go bust, and Byram is served by Byram Pharmacy instead, which turns out to be an illegal drug dealer peddling Oxy, shut down by the FBI.

    How were the interests of the Town and “village” served by this decision?

    CVS takes the bending of WB zone to the extreme, but they could have included a river walk, dockaminiums, rackaminiums, and a lobster roll stand as part of the business development of the site.

    Now we have what?

    • Island, I totally agree – our zoning is nuts and counter-productive. I’ve said so for at least ten years. And what’s up with the latest proposed changes? I hear they’re even worse but, so far, I’m unaware of details.

  24. Jimbo

    Island,

    Every time you post on this issue you undermine your point.

    Take the video you posted and mentally superimpose a regular CVS — one WITHOUT a river walk, dockaminiums, rackaminiums, or a lobster roll stand. Does the scene look better or worse?

    If you’re not sure, go back and take a video that includes a view of the Port Chester Costco.

    I think everyone in town agrees with the P&Z approach — everyone except the small but vocal number of people professionally involved in zoning (brokers, appraisers, surveryors, etc.) and members of Kral’s club who simply want more amenities.

  25. Cos Cobber

    Jimbo, ‘everyone in town’? so far you are the only one i recall being in support of the P&Z on this blog. Oh, and that guy who didnt like the rates the club charged according to the Gwich time story that ran way back in the spring.

    PS, I am not a member of the club.

  26. Here’s the N Water/ S Water/ Mill St intersection from the vantage of the street and business users.

    Same question. How did strict enforcement of the WB zone to “water uses” only benefit the community?