TAG to Downsize Their St. Catherine’s Rental Space to Accommodate The Center for Hope & Renewal

A proposed change of tenant at 13/15 Riverside Ave went before the Planning & Zoning commission on Tuesday.

According to attorney Tom Heagney, the non profit 501c3 TAG, which stands for Transportation Association Greenwich, has lost some funding and is looking to economize by downsizing their space on Riverside Ave which they rent from St. Catherine’s of Siena Church.

The Center for Hope & Renewal offers faith based counseling. Their therapists are trained and equipped to counsel in the areas of Recovery, Depression, Financial Stress, Loss & Grief, Marital Problems, Parent/Child Conflict, Relationship Issues, Sexual Identity Issues, Trauma & Abuse.

Heagney said the move would free up four offices on the building’s second floor.

He explained that St Catherine’s had reached out to The Center for Hope & Renewal to see if they might want to use the second floor space, which comprises 581 sq ft.

Heagney said TAG was approved for the space as a non profit 501(c)3 in 2012, and a condition was that if it went to another 501(c)3 it would have to come back to the commission.

The building’s third floor is an attic with two storage rooms comprising 450 sq ft.

The Center for Hope & Renewal would use the second floor space on Riverside Ave as supplementary counseling rooms to their space at 237 Taconic Rd, which was recently approved by P&Z with conditions. That was after a lengthy process that involved objections from neighbors.

Of the conditions for approval, two have turned out to be an issue.

Heagney said the Center for Hope & Renewal agreed not to have  Tuesday evening counseling sessions, and that was one issue.

Second, he said, the limit on the number of counselors to five at any one time has been a challenge.

Heagney said using the space on Riverside Ave said would give flexibility to The Center for Hope to provide a wider range of counseling hours.

“It also provides more convenient area for people from Old Greenwich and Riverside who come in for counseling,” he said.

Other than changes in carpeting and fresh paint, the building will not be altered.

“I see this as a win, win, win,” Heagney said. “It helps TAG because they need some financial relief and can consolidate their offices and have not as much rent to pay. It helps the Center for Hope & Renewal by giving them counseling at different times not permitted as part of decision approving their facility on Taconic Rd.”

And, third, he said, “It allows St. Catherine’s to support worthy charitable organizations in town while receiving funds to carry on the church’s work.”

The commission confirmed that should the application be approved, in the future a different non profit 501(c)3 tenant seeking to rent the space, would also have to return to the commission for approval.

In the proposed agreement with the Center for Hope & Renewal, TAG would give up five  of their 25 parking spaces.

The entire parking lot is comprised of 238 spaces, which are also used by the GHS alternative high school, a day school that uses 25 spaces and by St. Catherine’s of Siena Church for weddings, funerals and church services.

Heagney said TAG needs nowhere near the 25 spaces they are allotted. That would be modified to 17.

Heagney pointed out that the property was zoned R12 before I95 was constructed and severed it from the adjacent residential area.

There was a move for approval to convert four offices on the second floor of 13/15 Riverside currently being used by TAG to use by the Center for Hope and Renewal, and give them 8 of TAG’s 25 parking spaces.

The change was approved unanimously.