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Greenwich Proposes Green Rules on Land Use

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich residents got the rundown of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s new green area restrictions that would require homeowners to leave an area of their property untouched by development.

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

• RA-2 (2-acre zone) – 78 percent

• RA-1 (1-acre zone) – 72 percent

• R-20 (20,000 square feet) – 62 percent

• R-12 (12,000 square feet) – 55 percent

• R-7 (7,500 square feet) – 50 percent

• R-6 (two-family home at 7,500 square feet) 35 percent

Assistant Town Planner Katie Blankley said in a presentation at the Planning & Zoning board Tuesday night that the town created these percentages by looking at every residential property in town to see how much green space is already on each property.

Blankley discussed the benefits of the proposal, saying it would maintain more green area on individual properties and neighborhoods and would provide buffers between neighboring properties.

Under the proposal, 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.

Engineer and land surveyor Tony D’Andrea opposed the regulation and said that even allowable structures would take away the features that are part of traditional development. “I work with the regulations every day," he said. "I believe we’ll end up losing housing stock."

But Suzanne Geiss Robbins, a former chairman of the Conservation Commission and a District 2 Representative Town Meeting member, said she highly favored the restrictions. “Anything you can do in this respect indicates to the public that the Planning & Zoning Commission places a high value on creating open space in town and preserving that open space in town. It will serve the town and its citizens well.”

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

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