Cos Cob GRS Neighbor: Are Land-Use Regulations Protecting Residential Neighborhoods?

The following letter was submitted from John Timm of Orchard Street in Cos Cob:

In a Greenwich Time letter to the editor on November 30, 2012 titled “Keep the synagogue discussion civil” the letter writer, a member of Greenwich Reform Synagogue comments on various topics in one paragraph he states:

“What evidence is there that the development will destroy wetlands, as has also been asserted? Why does Scott Frantz, our state senator, have no faith in the land-use process, claiming that residents should be wary of approvals being made “in the middle of the night?” Why are all three selectmen, and state Representative Fred Camillo, also prejudging the outcome of the land-use process? If they believe current zoning regulations and the officials who enforce them are inadequate to protecting residential neighborhoods in Greenwich, how come they haven’t already proposed changes?”

In a Greenwichfreepress.com letter to the editor on June 9, 2014 titled ” Greenwich Reform Synagogue:

“Laws & regulations should govern this land-use issue and guide the discussion, not rhetoric.” The letter writer, another member of Greenwich Reform Synagogue, states “Laws and regulations should govern this land-use issue and guide the discussion, not rhetoric.”

Both letters imply that the “land-use process” and “Laws and regulations should govern this land-use issue” should be used in approving the proposed building of a synagogue by Greenwich Reform Synagogue at 92 Orchard St.

The Greenwich Reform Synagogue went through the “land-use process” and were ultimately denied a Special Exception approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals using current adequate regulations. A Special Exception approval is required by the Planning & Zoning Commission before approving their applications.

In not getting the Special Exception approval Greenwich Reform Synagogue resorted to filing a RLUIPA lawsuit against the Town of Greenwich and the Zoning Board of Appeals. In the settlement of the lawsuit the Zoning Board of Appeals were forced to approve the Special Exception. Does forcing the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a Special Exception approval look like “approvals being made “in  the middle of the night?”

Aren’t the current zoning regulations adequate in protecting residential neighborhoods in Greenwich and don’t need changes.

It seems that even though there are adequate land-use regulations “protecting residential neighborhoods” that Greenwich Reform Synagogue by resorting to a RLUIPA lawsuit doesn’t consider that the regulations apply to them.

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