Neighbors Sue Greenwich P&Z Commission over Approval of Back Country Residential Ice Rink

At their April 13 meeting, the Planning & Zoning commission unanimously approved an application from Adam and Sarah Dolder to build a 100 ft long lighted open air ice rink, a 256 sq ft building for lockers and Zamboni storage, plus a 821 sq ft pool house at their home at 407 Round Hill Rd, which was built in 2018.

Unlike an application in 2020 for a permit for an illegal baseball field that had been created without permission – to the chagrin of neighbors – on April 13 not a single neighbor raised their virtual hand on Zoom to testify when the commission chair, Margarita Alban asked for public input.

“We’re always very careful when we get a big sports facility that you respect the neighborhood,” Alban said during that meeting.

Most of the discussion focused on the lighting for the rink, though a condition of approval was that league and professional sports not be allowed and there be no amplified sound.

Bret Holzwarth, a civil engineer with Redness & Mead, said the lighting would not intrude on neighbors, including the Round Hill Community Church that abuts the property. “This is a very large, oversized lot, it’s over 7 acres and the nearest house is over 300 ft away from the ice rink. The lights are over 50 ft from the side yard setback,” he said.

Holzwarth said his client wanted to install “back yard residential lighting,” “not institutional,” but the commissioners said the small residential globe lights do not necessarily have the least impact to neighbors. They asked the the applicant to work with the Architectural Review Committee on the details of the rink lighting, which they agreed to do.

The commission voted 5-0 in favor of the application.

A complaint dated April 30 was filed in state superior court by plaintiffs 409 RHR LLC (registered to Gary Anderson of 409 Round Hill Road), 409 Round Hill Road LLC (registered to Elizabeth Anderson of 409 Round Hill Rd) and 411 RHR LLC (registered to Gary Anderson) – who own property that abut or are within 100 ft of 407 Round Hill Rd.

According to the complaint the P&Z commission’s actions in approving the application were arbitrary and capricious, and in abuse of their powers.

The complaint says the applicants did not produce adequate evidence for the commission to base their approval and that development of 407 Round Hill Rd will impact the fair market value of the adjacent properties as well as the use and enjoyment of those properties.

The plaintiffs want the court to direct the P&Z commission to deny the application and award them the costs of the appeal.

See also:

P&Z Watch: Large Outdoor Ice Rink at Round Hill Rd Residence Gets Green Light

April 18, 2021