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Tennis players protest, but BMWs are coming

The BMW-Tennis hearing drew a sizable crowd. That's attorney Bob Jewell, representing the applicants, sitting in front of the crowd at right, and Commissioner Phil Mische in foreground left. —Macklin Reid photo

The BMW-Tennis hearing drew a sizable crowd. That’s attorney Bob Jewell, representing the applicants, sitting in front of the crowd at right, and Commissioner Phil Mische in foreground left. —Macklin Reid photo

After tennis players packed the hearing room in hopes of saving courts Ridgefielders have played on for 40 years, the Planning and Zoning Commission backed plans to turn the Ridgefield Tennis Club into a parking lot.

“This does represent a great void,” said Walter Beatty, who acted as spokesman for the room full of tennis players. “It’s a real loss to the community.”

With its two-step approval process, the commission voted to have a resolution of approval written by Town Planner Betty Brosius. That will come back for review and another vote, possibly next Tuesday.

BMW of Ridgefield has contracted to the purchase the tennis club that is behind its Route 7 property, and plans to use the site to store cars, many of which are now kept at an office complex.

While the room was packed for the public hearing, only five people from the public spoke — all in opposition to the plan.

Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti had warned the audience that the commission must limit its decision-making process to land use considerations — which don’t include tennis players’ sorrow at losing a place to play.

Comments ranged from calls for a public referendum on the question to concerns that the weight of so many parked cars on the land would damage nearby wetlands.

Mr. Beatty asked if the owners of the tennis club and BMW dealership might give club members a year to work out an alternative solution.

When project is done BMW of Ridgefield will be able to park 219 cars on its current nearly five-acre site, and another 354 on the tennis club’s three and one-half acres.

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  • David

    This seems wrong to me. Why would we allow cars to be parked in the wetlands? There are regulations in place to protect our wetlands from potential pollution. Cars sometimes leak oil and other fluids, we all know that.. Look in parking lots around town, plenty of oil stains on the pavement. So given that cars sometimes leak, why would we allow them to be parked on top of the wetlands?

  • Secondhand Rose

    Why doesn’t BMW buy the former Georgetown Motors site in Branchville, which is sitting there totally empty.

  • john

    Why don’t you save your money up to open own a BMW dealership?

    They aren’t looking for a dealership, but a place to store cars. Why would they want to store them even further away than they do now??

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