Letter: Preserving our town character against huge and unsightly proposals

Letter to the editor submitted by Berrin Snyder

To Everyone Who Loves Our Charming Community,

Our town has been battling over-scale office and apartment buildings for some time, and has conducted extensive polling regarding an updated plan of development, indicating widespread desire to preserve our town character, and yet I am constantly amazed at how the developers keep coming with their huge and unsightly proposals. They obviously do not care what the citizens of Greenwich think. They are only interested in filling their pockets.

After multiple scares with the Post Road Ironworks apartments, Benedict Place/Tranfo apartments, 143 Sound Beach Avenue apartments, the Perrot Library roundabout; and after multiple shocks with the construction of the Chase Bank next to the Greenwich Library, the numerous car dealerships on West Putnam Avenue, the loss of those iconic Crabapple trees at Pickwick Plaza, the loss of a covered walkway at Pickwick Plaza, the CVS building on West Putnam Avenue at Weaver Street – all faits accomplis before anyone knew what was happening – it seems we have another attack on the western front.

Next Thursday, February 21 at 7:15, a public hearing opens in the Town Hall Meeting Room at Greenwich Town Hall, with Item #11 – 500 WPA LLC and 600 Acquisition LLC proposing a 35 unit multi-family residential building at 500 and 600 West Putnam Avenue, with 20% affordable housing (allows exemption from local zoning regulations to achieve greater mass) and a parking garage, with a request to add parking within the front yard set-back. I believe that front yard is where the park with fountain, bridge and huge Willow trees exist. The application indicates that we will see cars, garage, office space and apartment buildings with no real buffer in front. No Willow trees or fountain.

Coming soon is the development of 581 and 585 West Putnam Avenue right across the street. They will build two massive mixed-use buildings with 67 residential units and a multi-level parking structure after clear-cutting trees and blasting out the beautiful rock ledge that define the Greenwich landscape.

Do we want our town to reflect the charm and character of a New England residential community with a uniquely varied landscape of mature trees, hills, mossy rock ledge, and quaint buildings, or do we want a more modern, urban environment like White Plains with all its traffic and congestion?

The traffic and safety issues will not go away once this project has created them. The next drought will be that much more severe due to the increased burden on our resources, and do we even have the sewer capacity to support this on-going development.

I am afraid this project will yield basically treeless leveled lots with overpowering commercial buildings and garages on both sides of West Putnam Avenue, creating an unattractive glass and concrete canyon effect.

These are buildings that we will see every time we drive down the Post Road. If you are concerned, you need to go to the Planning and Zoning hearings, or write to the Commission via P&Z director Katie DeLuca and give your point of view. They need to hear from us. They need our reasonable and constructive opinions.

Please go to the Greenwich Town Hall, Town Hall Meeting Room on Thursday, February 21. (The meeting starts at 6:00pm. The public hearing will start no earlier than 7:15pm)

Or email Katie DeLuca our town planner and ask that your email be put on the record. [email protected]

You should also email your RTM representatives as they will be voting on the new POCD this Spring.

Most Sincerely,

Berrin Snyder
Concerned citizen and lifelong resident of Greenwich

Editor’s note: The item 500/600 West Putnam Ave has been postponed and will not be on the P&Z agenda on Feb 21. Click for agenda.

See also:

P&Z Scrutinizes Development Straddling West Putnam Ave at Abandoned Art Institute

rendering of 500 West Putnam Ave

rendering of 500 West Putnam Ave

Rendering of 581/585 West Putnam Ave (rear)

Rendering 581/585 West Putnam Ave (front)