Just one sale today

It takes a while for real estate activity to start up again after the holidays and so it’s not surprising that there were no broker open houses to see today and only one sale reported. Come back next week.

12 Cottontail Rd

12 Cottontail Rd

In the meantime, 12 Cottontail Road, off Stanwich, one acre in the two-are zone, sold for $875,000.  Nice land, if you can live within the penalties imposed by our floor area ratio scheme on “undersized” lots, and a house that could be fixed up, though probably won’t be.

And that’s all she wrote.


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15 responses to “Just one sale today

  1. Concerned homeowner

    Any votes on whether the town would actually grant a zoning change (from RA-2 to RA-1) for the whole subdivision (Cottontail and Pintail)? This subdivision was subdivided in the early 1950s when the zoning was for 1 acre. In 1956, a huge section of Cos Cob that was mostly not built up was rezoned to 2 acres. At the time no one objected – 2 acres was better than one after all.

    $875 is a rock bottom price for a flat acre in the North Street school district where the lot is an easy access from Stanwich (Cottontail is a wide street of cleared lots). It seems that the whole subdivision will remain in the 1950s without a zoning back to one acre.

    I know the town does not care about non-conforming lots, but this is a whole subdivision of 18 houses – all built on one acre because the zoning was one acre when the lots were established.

    I know the process here would be somewhat involved, but they seem to not have had a lot of zoning changes.


    • Anonymous

      That is a very logical proposition. Unfortunately the P and Z is never logical.

    • Westchesterer

      Stop begging the P&Z. Demand, and vote, for people who oppose zoning laws and favor private property rights. The P&Z’s job is to steal your property, not give it back to you. That’s the reason they exist. Their purpose is to take away people’s private property rights. Not to be a fair arbiter, or create a community, or whatever green nonsense they want to pretend they’re benefiting the community with. The only power they have is to tell you that you cannot use your own property. It’s your property, not theirs, but they wield power over you and your property.

      • Anonymous

        Rich people have been trying for over 10 years. Who remembers the Concerned Homeowners of Greenwich and their battles with P+Z 10 years ago. The thugs keep winning and getting worse. Only a small percentage of people have non conforming lots etc. they do not represent a voting bloc, most voters don’t care unfortunately.

  2. anonymous

    Ask Peter:

  3. What does RA-2 zone limit allowable square footage to? How would that compare to say a RA-1 or R-20 zoning?

    • Westchesterer

      The property has 50529 square feet. RA-2 allows for a FAR of .09, which makes the maximum square footage 4547. If it was RA-1 zoned, maximum square footage would be 6821. If it was R-20 zoned, maximum square footage would be 11,369.

  4. D

    Hope you have a lot of time on your hands…

    • Anonymous

      Builiding limit is 4500 square feet for 50,000 square foot lot in RA-2 zone. That is two thirds of what would be allowed in the. RA-1 zone.

      We have time.

      The problem is that today’s limits totally devalue the property. This is an area where monster houses are imaginary today because no one is building that big in Cos Cob. However, the devaluation on account of improper zoning in the subdivision is very real.

  5. Westchesterer

    Zoning laws only erode property rights and amount to actual theft of private property. Zoning laws become more restrictive over time. If you believe that this should be rezoned to 1 acres, you’re only begging the thugs at the planning and zoning board and admitting they have full control over your private property. We should demand, and vote, to get rid of the people at the P&Z, not beg them to give us our property back. They’re stealing our property.

    Why are zoning laws are far worse than deed restrictions? At any point the state can, and does, change zoning laws and create substandard lots, which amount to theft of private property. A deed restriction cannot be changed without the homeowners consent. Thus, what restriction you buy you fully agreed to. Zoning laws do change, based on the bureaucratic climate, thus affecting your property value. If the laws change to make your house substandard, it will lower the value of your house.

    I’m sure people have heard the arguments that zoning laws create a decrease of supply, therefore increase the property value. That’s nice. They also decrease demand, because people can’t build what they specifically want. They have to buy someone else’s home. If you restrict what people are able to do on their property, as in building a green house, a pool, tennis courts, or other things people desire, you decrease the demand for that property. Thus, you decrease the value.

    Green zones, height of building, attic space as FAR, basement as FAR, FAR, etc. The P&Z is screwing us, stealing our property, and preventing investments into rehabilitating properties or new properties. It will only get worse.

  6. Real Torme

    Could that land support 18 6,000 square foot houses with 18 nrew septic systems, 18 reserve septic systems and 18 wells? How about drainage? Cat Rock and Cognewaugh were upzoned because the rocky terrain was considered unsuitable for doubling the number of houses. Spot-zoning Cottontail? I don’t think so.

  7. Concerned homeowner

    The Greenwich Planning and Zoning Commission does not have jurisdiction over septic systems, septic reserves or wells. That is the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Health in Greenwich.

    No matter what FAR you are allowed, if you are adding bedrooms to a house or knocking down a house and building a new house, you need to get approval of Enviromental Health. Is not a matter of FAR but number of bedrooms for an addition to your house and putting in a new compliant septic for a new house. If you are adding but not adding bedrooms, there is no need to change the septic.

    You never need a new well or to expand your well, no matter what the FAR is, if you have a well, as all of the houses in this subdivision do.

    No one is talking about changing the number of houses in the subdivision. Every house has one acre or more and less than two acres. It would be unlawful to change the number of houses in the subdivision with zoning changed from two acres to one.

    Any change in zoning would change the building regulations for houses that are already built in the subdivision.

    • just sayin

      You just proved the P&Z rational. Why would the Town want to allow for more bedrooms an a site, or in this case an entire area of town that does not have the proper soils to support it. I would hope the prospect of polluting ones drinking water was a good enough reason to change the zoning to prevent it. Protection of public safety I would think is the one of the few good reasons for zoning.

      • You’re missing the reader’s point – septic systems are a health matter, not zoning, and if the soils won’t permit one, or limit the number of bedrooms, then that’s what governs. The trouble with the zoning as it now stands is that FAR, with its penalties for “undersized” lots, has been superimposed over the zoning map. Before FAR, it was almost irrelevant what the actual zoning was – if you had an acre then, assuming all height, yard setbacks and, yes, septic regulations were complied with, you could pretty much build what you pleased. Now, with FAR, you can’t.
        Remember that the Floor Area Ratio was adopted by the town as a way to limit the size and bulk of houses beyond what could be achieved by mere zoning itself. That was a dubious proposition, I felt at the time, but we have it now and square footage is limited to what a couple of town reps and a paid employee at P&Z decided was the ideal size house for a given lot size. So, in their wisdom, that ideal was 4,800 square feet for a house on one acre. But place that same acre in the 2 acre zone and you can build just 3,900 sq. ft. How does that make sense? The penalty is even worse in the 4 acre zone: 2,722 sq. ft., yet we’re still looking at a one acre parcel. If a 4,800 sq. ft. house is appropriate for a one acre lot in the one acre zone, why isn’t it appropriate further north? Figure that one out and if you can, please explain it to me.

  8. Concerned homeowner

    The problem is that when you impose a much smaller FAR limit on a subdivision than the town allows for similar areas in town, you have smaller, less expensive homes in that subdivision than in the rest of town.

    Of course, people can build smaller. Builders cannot build smaller – it is not economical. There is less development if the area has more restrictive FARs.

    The town is legislating price in the area. The town of Greenwich has legislated that this subdivision of 18 homes will be inferior to other 1 acre subdivsions by superimposing the FAR rules on an old zoning change that had absolutely no effect on this subdivision before FAR restrictions were passed.

    The 1956 rezoning of this area from 1 acre to 2 was intended to limit the number of homes in the area. The homes in the subdivision were already built, or at least the lots subdivided so they are all on one acre. The houses in the subdivision are not going to be knocked down.so they all have at least two acres. None have two acres, but they are allowed to remain.

    The only issue here is why the FAR should lower the value of an entire area. Whether there are rocks on a property or drainage issues are the jurisdiction of other agencies in town. The wells are not going to be changed if the houses are allowed bigger FARs. The wells are allowed to remain as is. Some of the houses may in fact have limits on septics and drainage issues aside from the FAR.

    Spot zoning usually applies where zoning involves a small area and is contrary to the master plan. Here the master plan says that one acre zones are entitled to certain rights and privileges. This subdivision is entirely in fact a one acre zone, and should be entitled to the same rights and privileges, consistent with the Town of Greenwich master zoning plan, as other one acre zones in town.

    I cannot imagine why the town would want to legislate a street with lower values in the middle of an expensive area. That is what we are talking about here.

    I can see from the public records- some of our home owners are very under water. We have price declines of almost 40% in some of these properties since the FAR rules were passed. It is a much greater decline than in areas that are properly zoned.