Greenwich’s Chairman of the Land Use Commission, Peter Berg, is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or most likely, both.

Peter Berg, District 8

The P& Z has enacted its “lot coverage” regulations effective as of last Tuesday. If you’re a homeowner with an undersized lot or a one-story house you’ve just been thoroughly screwed. And even if you aren’t in either of those categories, the cost of adding on or renovating your house has just been hugely increased. Mark Pruner is not pleased, nor should you be.

“It adds an entire new regulatory regime to the present system of setbacks and height limitations and floor-area ratios,” Mark Pruner said. “It means that about 8 percent of the houses are over the limit,” referring to regulations that govern the height of houses and how far they are from property lines.”

The requirements range from 35 percent in the R-6 single and two-family homes on the smaller lot sizes, to 84 percent in the RA-4 zone, the minimum four-acre lots.

Pruner fears the green space requirements will prevent property owners from expanding their homes, even though the homes fall well within the FAR limits. He said owners could discover that buildings on the property, or paved driveways that are included in the impervious surface calculation, may limit home expansion.

“People who have a one-story house and have plenty of FAR are all of a sudden going to find out because of the things they have around the house they are not going to be able to develop further outside the house,” he said.

Here’s where the ignorance, wilful or otherwise, of Peter Berg comes in. Sadly, he’s speaking as head of the very body that foisted this on Greenwich property owners.

While Pruner is concerned about how the new regulations may affect property development and value, Berg argues that tight building regulations improve property values.

“We know that the towns that have the strictest zoning regulations have the highest property values,” Berg said.

1. Berg has put the cart before the horse here. Towns with the highest property values are people by owners who don’t want a trailer park next door lowering those values so they enact stricter zoning laws.

2. If Berg truly believes that his group hasn’t confiscated the property and thus the money of his fellow citizens then he knows absolutely nothing and hasn’t inquired into the facts.  Own a smaller lot, even if it’s not legally undersized? You’re hosed – what we will see in town now are larger lots which can accommodate FAR – approved sized houses increasing in value while smaller ones, because they can’t be added onto under these new regulations, fall. For Berg to say otherwise is just an absolute falsehood.

Berg, by the way, lives in Cos Cob so only Cos Cob residents can throw him out. But in fact, given the sprawling mess that is the RTM, there’s nothing effective to do about an individual’s perfidy – you can’t vote out a buffoon when because of the dearth of RTM candidates, members like Berg are “elected’ merely by placing their name on the ballot. The only avenue of redress is to find selectmen candidates who promise to repeal this entire FAR “Green Space” scheme and start over. Peter Tesei isn’t that man; he’s used his power of appointment for P&Z members to settle political scores but never to address issues of substance, nor are there any Democrats I’m aware of willing to stand up. Time to start searching for someone who is.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Greenwich’s Chairman of the Land Use Commission, Peter Berg, is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or most likely, both.

  1. 30 day appeal window should be lept trough by many cases while it is still low to the ground.
    Glad to help …any lawyers with a smidge of non suck up to P&Z ethics …..

  2. Anonymous

    Saved….we were seriously considering an offer on a one story home thru a private sale…now we will rethink the offer ( and going w.o. a realtor to advise)

  3. Pierre Bergé, Nom de Plume

    Cher Christophe,
    I am a huge fan of Peter Berg. Didn’t you love him as Joey Randone in “Copland,” with co-stars Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta, and Robert DeNiro? Or how about “The Last Seduction” with the gorgeous Linda Fiorentino? Berg is multi-talented; he writes and produces “Saturday Night Lights.” Berg is well-bred, raised in Chappaqua, went to prep school. But your photo is wrong; that is Joey, the star of Spielberg’s “War Horse.”

  4. George W. Crossman III

    The houses on undersized lots are hurt the most, or just smaller lots in general. Two automobiles take up about the same amount of room regardless if they are parked on a .12 acre lot of a four acre lot. I think your assessment of smaller properties falling in value is spot on. This will put some homeowners on the edge “under water” on their mortgages.