Roger Sherman Inn housing proposal shrinks
NEW CANAAN — The developer planning to turn plot of land occupied by the Roger Sherman Inn into residential units has reduced the number of homes by one and is seeking a special permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Norwalk-based Glazer Group, headed by Andrew Glazer, originally submitted an application to the town on Sept. 26, outlining plans that would see a portion of the historic inn razed. The proposal called for zoning changes to allow for the development.
In Glazer’s first application to the town, he proposed eight residential units, one of which would have featured prominently in front of the Roger Sherman Inn, but changed his plans after meeting with Town Planner Steve Kleppin.
“I met with Steve informally, and he said he got some feedback from the (Planning and Zoning) commissioners that they didn’t want to see a house in front of the old Roger Sherman Inn. They wanted the inn to be the dominant feature,” Glazer said.
Because of a 96-foot restrictive easement in the back of the property, he was unable to move the eighth unit elsewhere in the property.
“The problem was I couldn’t squeeze it in back there,” he said. “So, for the sake of trying to get a smoother application, I removed one of the units. This way, there’s a lot of green open space in the front and a big garden in the back.”
Glazer said he expected to file an amended application to the town proposing seven units on Wednesday.
In an application sent by Pete Romano, principal of Landtech, the architectural firm working with the Glazer Group of the proposed project, the developer’s plans were summarized.
“He (Glazer) is proposing (to) convert the main building on the property that houses the inn and 135-seat restaurant into one single-family residence and construct seven detached single-family residential homes throughout the balance of the 1.7 acre property,” Romano wrote in the application. “The intent is to create a residential plan similar to what he created at the Maples Inn on the adjacent property.”
The changes requested in the permit each would allow for increased density on a plot that featured “pre-existing nonconforming use,” — namely, the operation of an inn in a residential area. Regulations limit residential development on such a site to six dwellings, while Glazer is proposing seven, though Glazer said on Oct. 12, “regulations allow for increased density as long as the new use is less objectionable than the former use.”
According to the application, the traffic resulting from seven units would be greatly reduced, compared to traffic generated by the restaurant.
“A robust landscaping plan” is also mentioned in the project narrative, featuring deciduous and evergreen trees to provide a buffer between the proposed homes and surrounding properties, including the Maples Inn — which Glazer redeveloped — single-family dwellings to the north and east, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church across Oenoke Road.
The six residential homes (the existing inn, which will be rehabilitated and renovated for residential purposes, not included) would be two stories and approximately 2,800 square feet, each with a two-car garage.
The permit speculates the Roger Sherman Inn, an 18th-century home that has been on the market and is a drive from downtown, was having trouble competing with a booming downtown restaurant scene.
“With the resurgence of downtown New Canaan and an increase in the number of restaurants now totaling 46, the Roger Sherman Inn was experiencing a downturn in business. Subsequently, it has been on the market for sale for more than four years,” the project narrative reads, suggesting residential use may be more fitting.
Glazer told the New Canaan News in July he feels construction could start as early as spring 2017. The application is expected to appear on the agenda of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s next regular meeting, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.