This week the Greenwich Planning & Zoning commission unanimously approved in a vote of 5-0 an application for a Historic Overlay zone at 12 Grigg Street, a one-way street off Greenwich Avenue.
The plan is to make the first two floors office space, and the third floor a residential dwelling unit, with additions to the third floor, all while restoring historic features of the building.
Grigg Street is lined with turn of century houses that have mostly been restored. The house at 12 Grigg dates back to 1900.
With the commission’s approval the zone for the house will change from CGB (Central Greenwich Business zone) to CGB-HO. In exchange for restoring or replicating architectural features of the building to match the original or era of construction, in perpetuity, the applicant was given relief from parking requirements. Ten parking spaces are required, but the applicant proposed just four.
The residential houses on Grigg Street today are surrounded by commercial uses, but when completed in 1901 the house at 12 Grigg Street had an unobstructed view to the north of Greenwich Avenue as most of its prominent commercial and civic buildings had yet to be constructed. At the time, the buildings south of Arch Street and Havemeyer were residential. In the early 20th century improvements to the Avenue included a trolley line in 1901 followed by brick paving begun in 1903 and completed to Railroad Avenue by 1908.
In recent decades house at 12 Grigg had undergone “unfortunate renovations,” including replacement of original wood windows with vinyl insert windows with no divided lights, asbestos shingle siding over existing wood clapboard, and crowns at the main gable cornices replaced with tacked flat trim. Also a wood balcony was installed off the second floor as well as a rear wood deck. Openings for AC units were cut into the siding.
The plan is for new wood traditional windows, wood siding and a cedar roof, removal of the wood deck and stair. A double gable will be added on the west elevation. A new forced air heating and cooling system will be installed to allow for the removal of the wall AC cut outs. The existing stone foundation is not water tight and will be replaced with a new concrete foundation faced with a 4 inch thick stone veneer to match existing stonework.
Most of the discussion focused on the tight parking proposed for four cars behind the house. The driveway is shared with the house next door, so parking in the driveway is not an option. P&Z chair Margarita Alban noted that parking is very tight at the bottom of Greenwich Avenue.
A proposed a 5-foot high wooden fence and a hedge at the front of the property was proposed, but the commission stipulated they lower the hedge and fence to 4-feet so the restored house would be showcased from the street.
A new 6 foot fence on the west side was approved. The applicant said restaurant workers smoke cigarettes in the adjacent alleyway.
A Japanese Maple tree in the front of the house will be removed and replaced with Boxwood.
Lastly, the commission asked the applicant to consider a historic plaque for the building.
“We would support that,” Alban said.
Voting for the application were Ms Alban, Nick Macri, Dennis Yeskey, Peter Lowe and Peter Levy.