P&Z Watch Pre-Application Received for New Private School in Pemberwick

Greenwich Planning & Zoning commission has received a pre application for a new private school at 200 Pemberwick Road.

With plans to open in Greenwich in September 2021, the applicant, Clay Kaufman from The Cedar School, seeks approval of a change of use, from business to mixed-use (business/education), and for alterations at the site’s north building, second floor.

The north building features a terrace overlooking the Byram River and a granite reinforced dam, one of two on the Byram River in Greenwich. This segment of the river is a designated eel breeding station where state workers built an eel drop-off structure, which would catch the eels to be transported upstream to breed.

The application notes that schools, which are Use Group 4, are an allowed use in the GBO and LB zones.

The Mead School occupied 200 Pemberwick Road in the 1980s.

The 5.6 acre property at the intersection of Comly Ave and Pemberwick Road is owned by Aldo Pascarella.

It once was home to the Russell, Burdsall and Ward Bolt & Nut factory.

In 2015, as part of the yearlong celebration of Greenwich’s 375th anniversary, 1640-2015, the Historical Society, escorted a group of resident history buffs through the sites of the former factory.

During the tour, Mr. Pascarella said that three Quakers from Brooklyn established the nut and bolt factory in 1851, automating the process by harnessing the momentum of the river.

The space featured vintage pictures of the factory, where mid-19th century factory workers dressed formally for work, even wearing bowler hats. The nuts and bolts went on for use in assembly of railroad cars and later for airplanes in WWI and WWII.

former nut and bolt factory in Pemberwick.
Historic illustration of the former nut and bolt factory along the Byram River.
dam on the Byram River, reinforced with granite.
One of two dams on the Byram River in Greenwich, this is beside the site of the former nut and bolt factory in Pemberwick. June 1, 2015 Photo: Leslie Yager

According to the application narrative on file, the proposed alterations include relocating several partitions, painting, carpeting, and electrical/lighting upgrades that will provide more up-to-date, efficient use of electricity and lighting.

The Cedar School is a co-ed day school serving high school students, grades 9-12, in the Fairfield, Westchester County and New York area.

According to their website the school “offers a college-prep program for bright students with mild-to-moderate language-based learning differences (LBLD), such as dyslexia, and challenges with dyscalculia, dysgraphia, executive functioning (EFD), auditory processing (APD), & ADHD​.”

The narrative says the school anticipated approximately 25 students in its first year of operation, growing to approximately 100 students in subsequent years.

The school’s operating hours will be 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, with occasional early evening events such as parents’ night. No outdoor activities are planned on site. The narrative said the school had already been in touch with the department of parks about permits for field use in town, off site.

Lastly, the applications says that in terms of transportation, younger high school students will be driven by car to 200 Pemberwick and dropped off in the west parking area at the pedestrian bridge, off Comly Avenue.

Seniors may drive themselves to school and park in the assigned parking area.

The narrative says school traffic flow for the short period of morning drop off (8:00-8:30 am) will not interfere with general parking for the building, which is situated on the opposite side of the building. Afternoon pick up for the school will be staggered, as some students will leave at 3:30 pm and others will remain for sports.

The pre application states that the property has parking for 190 cars.