Neighbor to Neighbor to Return to P&Z for Extension of Operating Hours

Neighbor to Neighbor, with a new building that opened in August 2022 on the campus of Christ Church, is seeking to extend their operating hours and add another weekly pick up for recycling.

Located behind the Tomes Higgins house, the non-profit provides weekly food assistance and households essentials to eligible residents of Greenwich, as well as one-time emergency food to residents of the neighboring towns of Stamford and Port Chester.

Prior to opening their new building, Neighbor to Neighbor operated for over 40 years from the basement of Christ Church, which was cramped and insufficient.

When the new building was proposed back in 2016, there was a controversy when residential neighbors in Putnam Hill and Putnam Park testified that they didn’t want to live next to what they said was commercial-like activity. Nor did they want their their bucolic views spoiled.

Residents testified before the P&Z commission to say the building’s size was akin to a supermarket and would be accompanied by noisy mechanicals and service trucks coming and going.

Other issues they cited concerned water and drainage, lost views, and lowering of property values.

Ultimately the proposal was approved unanimously after the P&Z commission found that the use of the building was for charitable purposes, which were indeed permitted for a church.

At the time the commission noted that if the property were to be used for residential purposes, it could be broken into five lots, with a max FAR 51,000 square feet.

With the approval came several conditions, including hours of operation, maximum of five trucks delivering goods each week, Monday to Friday, between 8:30am til 12:30pm, and trash and recycling limited to no more than twice a week, between 7:00am and 8:00am.

They also agreed that all lights would be turned off by 6:00pm.

Lastly they agreed that if there were any proposed changes to the conditions, Neighbor to Neighbor would return before the P&Z commission.

Fast forward to today, that is what’s happening.

Neighbor to Neighbor seeks to extend operating hours Monday to Saturday by one hour: opening at 8:00am instead of 8:30am and ending at 1:00pm instead of 12:30pm.

The applicant said in a letter to the P&Z director that the time change would benefit working clients and those dropping children off to school.

“There is often a line of individuals outside our doors in the morning before the current operating hours,” Brent Hill wrote to P&Z director Patric LaRow.

The applicants also seek to add an afternoon shift, Wednesdays from 3:30pm to 5:30pm (same as the Thursday hours), which had previously been part of the schedule prior to construction of the new building.

Additionally they seek a one more hauler pick-up per week for recycling, as the increase in clients translates to more boxes.

Finally, they seek an extension of their lights out curfew, which is 6:00pm today.

Three times a week they’d like to extend lights out to 7:30pm to accommodate board and community meetings.

Mr. Hill wrote that the proposed changes would not increase traffic, but rather alleviate bottlenecks and better accommodate working clients.

The application has yet to be scheduled for a P&Z commission meeting.

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