The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Neighbors make last stand as church plans move ahead


By DON HEPPNER


The public hearing on the Grace Church application to construct a sanctuary for 900 worshippers was closed last week. New Canaan planning and zoning chairman Laszlo Papp said that he expected a decision on the application within 65 days.

Pound Ridge residents fear that the construction will lead to big traffic delays on weekends and tie up local roads during church events.

“Finding out from a concerned neighbor, we had no time to grasp what was happening before the hearings were abruptly closed,” Pound Ridge resident and church neighbor Karen Cooper said at the Jan. 29 hearing. She said she complained about the lack of notice, but was told by New Canaan officials that they were not required to notify New Yorkers.

“In 2007, New Yorkers were not notified of Grace’s application, even though our property is less than 100 feet from the Grace property; even though the planning and zoning board’s own regulations require that every household within 100 feet is to be notified; and even though they did notify the New Canaan residents,” said Ms. Cooper.

“Last night’s hearing was the high point of it all,” her husband Dan Cooper said after the session. “My wife’s comments were dramatic because she was the only one addressing the concerns of New Yorkers.”

In 2007, Grace Property Holdings appeared before the New Canaan planning commission and presented its proposal for a building called the River at the former Windsome Farms property on Lukes Wood Road and Smith Ridge on the border of Pound Ridge and Lewisboro.

The building, designed by the architecture firm Sanaa of Tokyo, is said to be in harmony with the surrounding landscape. It would be constructed of glass, concrete, steel and wood. The winding structure would have a long, single roof, some 10 feet above the surface, conforming to the landscape.

Mr. Cooper said that other speakers at last week’s meeting were lawyers who negotiated with the church over shrubs, lights, runoff, visual aspects and certain legalities of the proposed construction.

Ms. Cooper said that she applauds the church’s effort to work with neighbors in New Canaan, but she would like the church to be more responsive to the concerns of New Yorkers.

“Our two towns have always lived together as neighbors,” Ms. Cooper said. “I live at 94 West Road, Pound Ridge, right where West Road, Puddin Hill Road and Lukes Wood Road intersect, a few car lengths from the driveway of Grace Church. “When I pick up my newspaper, it’s sometimes lying in New Canaan. With a few steps across the road I could touch Grace Farms property.

“New York residents would like them to be more responsive to our concerns about the looming congestion on the little New York roads leading to the only Church entrance,” she told the planning board. “Right now, we New Yorkers feel a little like we’re going to be sort of collateral damage.”

From the start, New York has been treated as “irrelevant,” even though the roads from Route 123 are in New York State, Ms. Cooper said.

She said that the planning board’s attitude forced the New York residents to bring the issue to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which, after a time, granted standing to New Yorkers.

“So, when one of the church members says that our litigation has kept Grace from ‘doing good’ for the past five years, let’s remember that the church and the town could have used those five years to solve the congestion problem, which was what we asked from them,” said Ms. Cooper. “Their ‘doing good’ is an abstraction to me. What is not an abstraction is the very real threat of 500 stacked-up idling cars in front of my driveway.”

New Yorkers asked the church to locate the entrance to the property at another location, but were told by church officials that “it’s not going to happen.”

Ms. Cooper said that church and New Canaan officials had acted “condescendingly” toward Pound Ridge residents. “We live here; this is our neighborhood,” she said.

This week, Pound Ridge councilman Dick Lyman said he is concerned that the construction will damage local roadways.

“We’re not sure our town roads can stand up to construction-weight vehicles,” Mr. Lyman said.

He said that Pound Ridge does not want construction vehicles on their roadways and will notify the Connecticut Department of Transportation that it will not allow trucks with overweight permits on Pound Ridge roads.

He said that Pound Ridge could also partner with Lewisboro to regulate construction traffic.



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February 8, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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