Submitted by Liz Boutry, Laura Dahm, and LB Savitz
Recently there was a proposal by the Archdiocese of Bridgeport to sell three acres of its property at 469 North Street, currently home to St. Michael the Archangel Church and Greenwich Catholic School (GCS).
A letter of intent had been signed by for-profit LCB Senior Living to purchase an area adjacent to Birch Lane for a luxury, high-density senior housing complex.
Plans called for a 30,000 square-foot structure including construction of a four-story facility accommodating approximately 80 residents, 53 parking spaces, a commercial loading zone with dumpster, plus floodlights visible from North Street and Birch Lane.
Although the Bishop of Bridgeport has responded to an outpouring of dismay from area residents, GCS parents and employees, and St. Michael parishioners, and withdrawn the church’s consent to the agreement, concerns loom that a similar deal might materialize in the future.
This project completely lacked consultative process. Only a select few at the parish and GCS were informed. There was no transparent exchange of information with any of the impacted communities in advance of the project being negotiated.
There would have been a significant adverse impact on the motorists who use North Street as a main artery between downtown Greenwich, the Merritt Parkway and points north. Attendance at the property’s church and GCS, and at North Street School often results in traffic jams. This is a
route which serves commuters at rush hour, school buses from many Greenwich schools, and hundreds of residents.
While there is widespread relief that the sale is now cancelled, deep concern remains that future inappropriate uses of this land would negatively impact the community. The church has shown itself willing to entertain such possibilities for financial gain, without prior input from those affected. Presumably the Town will continue its efforts to ensure compliance with all zoning regulations and the Plan of Conservation and Development, and will work with the neighborhood should another similar proposal arise.
Several residents of Birch Lane have consolidated communication in a new community group with the e-mail [email protected].
We encourage our neighbors to contact this address and join the mailing list for information about future development of this land.
Liz Boutry, Laura Dahm, and LB Savitz