The listing broker must be a Democrat, because who else believes that saying something makes it so?

Relaxing at the homestead on 12 Cottontail Lane (representative photo supplied by GAR)

I mentioned 12 Cottontail Lane in a post below, describing it as “a teardown on one acre in the R-2 zone”. That elicited the following comment from an anonymous reader who I suspect is neither a neighbor or the seller’s mother but more likely, the listing agent:

12 Cottontail is a charming house on a lovely lot that is largely cleared, flat and beautifully landscaped. Whether it is a teardown, build up or stays as is is matter of conjecture.

Okay then, what does the agent herself say about this house in the listing information she supplied to the MLS? Built in 1949, no mention of renovations or improvements. And, “perfect for renovation or to build a new home”. So am I trashing it or is she?

The land is indeed very nice, although being half-sized is going to restrict what one can build here. And while I myself could live very comfortably in the existing house and feel lucky to do so, I’m single and in my dotage – modern young families with more demanding tastes and wants won’t feel the love here, I don’t think.

Whatever, the house is what it is; it seems silly to pretend it’s something it is not.


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13 responses to “The listing broker must be a Democrat, because who else believes that saying something makes it so?

  1. D

    If the broker really wants to defend this place he should do it with professionally done pictures and well written broker babble…

  2. Guest

    Not the listing broker.

    The house may be small but at under $1 million it is more affordable at least relatively speaking.

    In Central Greenwich, half the houses are buildups and half teardowns, if buyers do anything at all.

    In Cos Cob, with valuations much lower, build up wouid make more sense than teardown.

    That being said, maybe doing nothing is the most sensible since it makes the house affordable to more people in an economy where the younger generations (doctors, lawyers, kids of Greenwich residents among them) can ill afford to buy in Greenwich. Many of us Greenwich residents grew up in families of 4 or 5 in a house that size.

    Just to point out – this house costs $2,100 a month less than the same house in Scarsdale. The same house there would be the same price with 5 times the taxes, or $30,000 a year.

  3. Westchesterer

    50,000 square feet on a non-conforming lot with a far of .075 means you’re getting 3750 square feet and potentially risk your whole investment because you’re buying a non-conforming lot.

    No thanks.

    • I believe the FAR ratio is 0.9, which would yield 4,500 sq.ft. As for risking your entire investment because it’s a non-conforming lot, I think not. It is bizarre, however, that our FAR rules dictate a house of 4,500 feet on this acre and permit 6,750 sq. ft. on exactly the same size lot in the one-acre zone. The P&Z doesn’t even try to defend their process, they just command it. And Greenwich home owners are morons for letting them get away with it.

  4. Guest

    3900 square feet in a new colonial house with high ceilings, a two story entry, three car garage, two staircases, and the works that go into a new house is actually a very big house. One of my relatives has this house in another Connecticut town on two acres. It is large, beautiful and imposing. Seems on a par with much bigger houses in Greenwich that do not have the high ceilings and two story entry. Must be the architecture and good building.

    That being said, building this dream house is beyond the means of most buyers in any event.

  5. Anonymous

    What can Greenwich home owners to do prevent these P+Z restrictions anyway? People have been battling FAR wars for at least 10 years, remember the Concerned Homeowners of Greenwich ?

  6. Westchesterer

    Maybe I wasn’t accurate and is 4500 sq ft. I thought it might have been a special exemption for acerage, which would make it .075 instead of .09, but I’m not well versed in the Greenwich zoning code. The problem is with 4,500 square foot house it may be difficult to make money on a million dollar lot with a new construction. It’s costing you before construction 222$ a square foot, even before architectural plans, engineering plans and lawyer fees. How much will a new construction sell for in this area per square foot?

  7. Westchesterer

    Clarification: 222$ being the price of the land / sq footage (1,000,000/4500).

  8. Anonymous

    My Dear Guest,

    Your relative may own a large, beautiful and imposing home on two acres that is on a par with much bigger houses in Greenwich that do not have the high ceilings and two story entry (oh, my!), but, as wonderful as their property may be, it is NOT IN GREENWICH. People say, “Oh, I can get so much more house for my money in Ridgefield, Weston, Easton, even Darien or Westport” and they are absolutely right, but it’s because it’s NOT IN GREENWICH.

    So It’s nice that your relative is enjoying a bigger, better home than he might in Greenwich, but he is NOT IN GREENWICH.

    There is a price to be paid, and it is location, location, location. Those other locations are just not the same. Take it from one who lives here.

  9. Anonymous

    The point was that my relatives’ 3900 square foot house is beautiful (they designed it for a family of four and could have gone bigger) – you don’t need 6000 square feet. People are going to the maximum allowable size in Greenwich because that is equated with market value. Surely not based on needs or aesthetics here.
    On the value question – the spec market has not recovered in Central Greenwich. If you are building for your family, is a different story.
    On the FAR question, this whole street was built on acre plus properties which was then up-zoned to RA-2. One house of many has two acres. Most have only an acre. Would actually be a more valuable street to the Town if they just rezoned the street to RA-1. All of this zoning is misapplied where you have a whole street improperly zoned.

  10. Guest

    I take it back. My relative’s house is 3900 square feet without the basement. You would need to demolish the second floor to meet the FAR it if were here.

    The RA-1 zones in Greenwich have been beneficiaries of the FAR rules. Relatively they have increased in value because you can build, build, build there.

    Funny, this street was much closer to central Greenwich in land value before the FAR rules were changed and now the land is valued at half of a similar one acre lot in Central Greenwich.

    The point is that when you want to sell, FAR goes into value.

    A very unfair system the P&Z has adopted, grandfathering a street like this one to houses under 3000 square feet if you have a basement or any accessible attic and limiting total square footage of some houses to 3800 with the basement and attic included. Someone at P&Z thinks the 1950;s homes are optimal for one area of town but too good for another.

    • Guest, if Greenwich homeowners ever realized what’s being taken away from them by the P&Z and their elected representatives at the RTM there’d be a revolution, but despite all attempts to educate them they remain in ignorant bliss, content to know that their neighbor can’t build a ouse bigger than their own and liking it that way. Until they go to add an addition or sell their house, and then they learn in a hurry, albeit too late.

  11. Guest

    There is a big number here of devaluation as a result of the FAR rules in this small subdivision. It is somewhere between 20% and 40% of the land value taken away by these rules.

    When you lop one zoning regulation after another on top of each other, you get unintended bad results – like limiting the houses to being quite small once you count a basement in this area when the same lot a little ways away is allowed a reasonable size house and thus valued at much more. First this area was upzoned to RA-2 after all the houses were built on effectively one acre lots and then the FAR came in to lop off a third of the permissible house that a one acre lot here would be allowed.

    Time to revisit the zoning regulations here.