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Green Area Regulations Approved in Greenwich

GREENWICH, Conn. – New green area restrictions that would require Greenwich homeowners to leave an area of their properties untouched by development received approval from the town Planning and Zoning Commission after a public hearing.

“I can tell you one of the most common questions we get from buyers is, ‘What can I do with this house?’” said Mark Pruner, a Realtor and Representative Town Meeting member. “For properties that are at or over the limit [of covered space] value will be lowered.”

But Peter Byrd, chair of the Representative Town Meeting Land Use Committee, said that in other communities and historic districts in Greenwich, property values remain high despite regulations.

The green area restrictions would make it law to have undeveloped space of a certain size, depending on a lot's size. For the smallest two-family lots, zoned R-6, 35 percent of the property would have to be left green, leaving 65 percent for building and paving. For larger RA-4 properties, such as those of 4 acres, 84 percent would have to remain green, leaving 16 percent for building and paving.

Here is the breakdown of zone and lot size to minimum percentage of green area requirements:

• RA-4 (4-acre zone) – 84 percent: 27,878 square feet can still be covered

• RA-2 (2-acre zone) – 78 percent: 19,166 square feet can still be covered

• RA-1 (1-acre zone) – 72 percent: 12,197 square feet can still be covered

• R-20 (20,000 square feet) – 62 percent: 7,600 square feet can still be covered

• R-12 (12,000 square feet) – 55 percent: 5,400 square feet can still be covered

• R-7 (7,500 square feet) – 50 percent: 3, 750 square feet can still be covered

• R-6 (two-family home at 7,500 square feet) 35 percent: 4, 875 square feet can still be covered

Assistant Town Planner and Planning and Zoning’s Deputy Director Katie Blankley said the town created these percentages by looking at every residential property in town to see how much green space is already on each. She said it would maintain more green area on individual properties and neighborhoods and would provide buffers between neighboring properties.

Under the new regulations, garden paths, walkways, decks and patios would all be included as green areas. However, these small developments would not be allowed on setbacks, which are intended to create space between properties. No changes would be made to regulations on height, setbacks, number of stories or floor area ratio.

Resident Bryan Tunney said that while everyone wants a more beautiful town, there are too many compounded regulations concerning drainage and building permits. “If you look at it as a whole, how one thing affects the other, then we would have a much better town with a much less complicated building and building process,” said Tunney.

Read more about the green zoning regulations and what they may mean for your home here.

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