Grace Farms Foundation files an appeal with Planning and Zoning
Updated 1:05 pm, Wednesday, October 25, 2017
NEW CANAAN — The Grace Farms Foundation has filed an appeal with the town Planning and Zoning Commission following the approval of new conditions for the Lukes Wood Road property.
Grace Farms is saying the appeal is to clarify language in the new permit that features more than 100 conditions.
“This is a friendly appeal; Grace Farms Foundation is grateful to the Town and the Commissioners for their many months of work and for their thoughtful decisions on the conditions that are part of the special permit,” the foundation said.
The actual filing with the town is a bit more direct, however, calling the commission’s resolution “illegal, arbitrary, capricious and constitutes an abuse of discretion for a variety of reasons...”
The filing goes on to complain about the impositions of the conditions of activities and events the Foundation can hold, saying that they “are not reasonably supported by substantial evidence in the record before the Commission about the Foundation’s operations and how they protect the health and safety of visitors and the neighborhood.” The Foundation also argues that the conditions place impositions on religious activities which is a violation of state law.
The appeal follows a suit filed by neighbors of Grace Farms against the Planning and Zoning Commission, claiming the new multiuse conditions will cause economic damage to their property. The plaintiffs, Timothy Curt and Dona Bissonnette, ask the commission’s decision be reversed, as well as other relief. The couple’s property abuts Grace Farms.
Curt has an additional lawsuit pending against Grace Farms, claiming the destruction of wetlands on his property due to runoff from construction on the site.
Grace Farm Foundation said its appeal precedes the lawsuit. According to a statement from the foundation, it had already brought up questions about the language in the special permit when the lawsuit was filed. The foundation said the language in the permit did match what was discussed and voted on. The appeal will clarify conditions and not revisit or re-argue any previous issues.
“The issues are being raised so that interpretation problems can be avoided,” the foundation said. “We look forward to raising these issues in public to defend vigorously the very hard work and effort that staff and the commission and the foundation expended over the last year.”
The Grace Farms Foundation declined to say what language it wanted to clarify, saying out of respect for the commission, it would wait until the next meeting for further discussion.