Thanks to P&Z, I figure you can now add $50,000 in professional fees if you want to build that swimming pool or deck

Planning & Zoning Commission takes over the asylum

The “Required Green Area” (full text here) is upon us as of Thursday night and it will further reduce your ability to use your property as you see fit. Most Greenwich residents are in favor of the Floor Area Ratio requirements (which is why they have survived the tenure of the late FAR Czar, Franklin Bloomer) until they go to add a deck, a sunroom or any other small improvement to their house and discover that they have to hire a surveyor, soil expert, and a friend of Tesei to get a permit. Then they squawk.

This new rule is a huge extension of the existing FAR requirements and shrinks your property further. Here’s a small part of what it controls:

(B) The following is not permitted within the Green Area Requirement: Surface
development on a site or lot occupied by buildings, structures, parking areas,
driveways, tennis courts, porches, swimming pools and pool coping, and
patios and/or decks that are in some way covered [[such as]] by a second
floor or roof, porous asphalt, porous concrete, permeable inter-locking
concrete pavers, concrete grid pavers, plastic turf reinforcing grids and
similar man-made materials and products. Any underground structure or
impermeable surface that is covered by less than 3 feet of friable fill shall
[[is]] not be permitted in the Green Area Requirement.

And here’s your property, reduced. By the way, you may think this doesn’t affect you but it sure affects the value of your property. Closings will delayed for months while buyers hire experts to tell them what they can do with the place and sales will curdle if the experts come back and answer, “nothing”.

PURPOSE – The purpose of adding the words ‘lot coverage’ and ‘minimum green
areas’, under 6-131(a)(5) and 6-131(a)(6) is to make it clear that the area of access way shall be excluded from lot coverage calculations for rear lots. The area of the access way shall not be included in the area used to calculate the minimum green area.
Amend Section 6-205(a) to add Minimum Percent Green Area Requirements:
Zone: Minimum Percent
Green Area
Requirements:*
RA-4 84%
RA-2 78%
RA-1 72%
R-20 62%
R-12 55%
R-7 50%
R-6
(single and two-family)
35%

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Thanks to P&Z, I figure you can now add $50,000 in professional fees if you want to build that swimming pool or deck

  1. Anonymous

    This $hit burns me up to no end.

    WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE that make this stuff up?

    I mean, really?

    What is the (&%!&^#$! premise behind any of it?

    How much would you want to wager that a detailed inspection of anyone’s home who comes up with this crap is in violation of one thing or another that they otherwise heap on an unsuspecting buyer or homeowner?

    Does this town want to at least preserve what little jobs there are in construction/trades (disregard job growth, ’cause that sure as heck ain’t happening), or do they want to further stifle the economy and kill the tax roles?

  2. TraderVic

    We are looking to mildly widen our driveway. How quickly should we proceed to avoid having all this extra paperwork/cost?

  3. Anonymous

    This should help out the local real estate market!

  4. Anonymous

    in effect as o f 3/2/12

  5. AJ

    19 Signs That America Has Become A Crazy Control Freak Nation Where Almost Everything Is Illegal

    Do you think that you are free? Most Americans would still probably answer “yes” to that question, but is that really the case? In the film Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson stated that “everything is illegal in Massachusetts”. Well, the same could pretty much be said for the United States as a whole. Our lives are governed by millions of laws, rules and regulations and more are being piled on all the time. In fact,40,000 new laws just went into effect in January. Every single new law restricts your freedom just a little bit more. The truth is that America has become a crazy control freak nation where virtually everything that we do is highly regulated.

    http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/19-signs-that-america-has-become-a-crazy-control-freak-nation-where-almost-everything-is-illegal

  6. Anonymous

    true story: had a friend who got denied a permit on a fence in another town.

    he paid for a helicopter to fly over every home of that town’s equivalent of p&z member and every high official (mayor, city councilmember, etc). had a pro photographer in there taking very detailed photos, then had an architect/engineer measure the scale of everything on those homes per the survey/plots and all applicable codes.

    a short while later, he brought in blown up high res photos at a public hearing. dozens of ’em. wanna guess how many violations were found on those homes?

    if someone was so inclined, a remote control drone with high res photo gear would work just fine and accomplish much the same here in town.

    just a thought….if one would be so inclined…

  7. Anonymous

    What happens to buyers who are in contract but have not closed? Buyers may have bought a house assuming they can add an addition, but the new guidelines now preclude it. What remedy do buyers have to void the sales contract?

  8. Libertarian Advocate

    Liberal statists doing what they do best: FUBARing!

  9. anon

    westchester residents have been dealing with this kind of insanity for years; permits taking months and thousands upon thousands of dollars for doing a simple addition or, as one commenter said, changing a driveway. I don’t know when or why, but most westchester towns are much more relaxed now, maybe enough residents squawked, or more likely, the towns saw people flocking to fairfield. i have to say I am enjoying a little ninner-ninner laugh while you guys begin the process. moving TO new york never looked so good as it does now.

  10. Island Surveyor

    And I thought my retirement was secure before. The island economy just improved greatly, thanks to P&Z. I have already thanked the chairman personally. To think, you used to be able to buy an old survey for 50-cents in the records room next to the Town Building Dept. Then you just marched that little copy down the hall, (and I use “copy” in the worst legal sense of copyright violation), and you could waltz away with a building permit. Not any more, my friend.

    Every old survey is now obsolete. Do you like to park in front of your house or garage? Unless you’ve got an extra 20 feet or so between the buildings and your front setback line, that is now illegal in the so-called R zones.

    Widen your driveway – NOT. That was the whole point of the regulation.

  11. Long term landowners are sure to be feeling what idiots we are.
    We bought what we like, not to develop to the max love of Town and families matter less now.
    Money is the only thing left that counts.

  12. AJ

    In the old days they knew how to deal with this Sh*t: tar and feathers and riding the offending official out of town on a rail. Since then we’ve mostly been sissified by the nanny state. Maybe it’s time to grow some new ones.

  13. Pinzgauer

    Chris,
    These bureaucrats are sending our society back to the times before the Magna Carta.
    My point being: so you just purchased or own a piece of land, yet the bureaucrats decide how you can actually use it. Forgetting about actual building a house and the related headaches of various permits and building codes, here is a small, and by no means complete list of what determines what you can actually do with a piece of land for which you just paid 2 million dollars:

    Setback and height requirements (forget about putting up a wall or fence around your property the way you would like it)
    Wetlands
    CT and local health department regulations with regards to septic and alternate septic location if you plan an addition
    FAR
    Grade Plane
    This new “green” regulation
    FEMA Flood Zone if you’re by the water
    on and on ad nauseum ……
    Not to mention that you get to pay taxes to boot.

    So, you tell me who’s actually in control of your land?

    Given how bad this situation is, here is a question you may or may not be able to answer:
    Given the pool of Greenwich residents that combine both wealth and (more important) influence, how is it possible that these bureaucrats get away with it? In other words, why are people putting up with this and are not fighting back? The campeign contributions and fund raising in this town are mindbogling, yet everyone sits back and let’s these unelected (?) people run their lives.
    It took one (out of town) law student’s thesis to permanently change Greenwich Point, yet all these people who are affected by these ridiculous bureaucratic regulations seem to choose not to voice and exercise their collective ” power”? Why is that?

    What is your opinion on this issue.

  14. Anonymous

    Has poster “Island Surveyor” ever listed his real name? I may now need to hire him for a land survey . . . not kidding. Ugh.

  15. pulled up in OG

    You gettin’ Alzheimer’s or what?
    It’s all right up there in the Blogroll.

  16. TraderVic

    I believe existing hardscape is grandfathered…? If so, it seems that everyone needs to update their “as built” plans…? If so, when do they need to be filed and what is a ballpark cost estimate? What a nightmare.

  17. Oh you mean the guy who proved one house might be built on Calf Island ?
    But the same pension padding Greenwich hating rascals who stripped 13 deed restrictions to help banckrupt the YMCA convinced our brilliant DC contingent that they were saving it from at least 21 but possibly 22 houses. Same slimyies just got the green PC syrup poured over all of the Town. Stealing an Island some of our families contributed to the
    children of Greenwich because an extra bird or two might nest there will probably get larger pensions by sucking more Federal dollars to “encourage outdoor activites” for our youth. Wake up Town.Our coastal treasures need to be recovered by getting that island back through a Congressional hearing as a start to a real Town Plan we vote on. Not the Plan of Consistent Debilitation currently under awe.

  18. hmmm

    they tried something like this in westport 2 years ago…half the town showed up and they repealed it….

    where are the greenwich folk? don’t expect what you don’t inspect?

  19. Anonymous

    this kinda crap sounds like eminent domain gone amok.

    i don’t have the resources to fight the town but i sure as heck would contribute a few hundred bucks to fighting it tooth and nail.

    first question is who puts all these folks in p&z, are they elected, and are the laws which they create subject to repeal and/or vote?