A 10-acre subdivision on the Montanari property located at 99 Barry Avenue was approved by the Inland Wetlands Board and Planning and Zoning Commission after a July 23 public hearing.

Three people spoke during the continued hearing, none of whom directly opposed the project that would create four new houses on lots of one-acre each.

Andrea Loscalzo of Holmes Road had questions about the proposed 3.7 acres of open space, which would be near her property line, that will be donated to the Ridgefield Conservation Commission and become town land.

“The Conservation Commission has asked for a split rail fence to demarcate between the lots and the open space, and to prevent encroachment,” said attorney Bob Jewell, who represented developer Sturges Brothers Inc. at the hearing.

“The applicant will have no control over what the Conservation Commission does with the split fail fence or the rest of the property,” Jewell added.

“I hope whatever they feel is appropriate won’t be visually unappealing,” said Loscalzo, who was also one of eight speakers at the application’s previous hearing on June 25.

Passive solar energy

Susan Consentino of Old West Mountain Road was one of the three speakers at the continued hearing.

After listening to Town Planner Daniel Robinson talk about a regulation that aims to maximize passive solar energy on newly-built homes, Consentino urged the commission to discuss the topic more.

“It shouldn’t be dismissed that quickly,” she said. “It should really be considered here.”

After the one-hour hearing closed, the commission listened to that recommendation.

Commissioner Mark Zeck pressed the applicant’s willingness to make the homes face north and south.

“There’s not much preventing the applicant. It’s flat property with enough room in the setbacks ... not many topographical limitations,” Zeck said. “We should take full advantage of the conditions.”

Jewell argued against this condition.

“We’ve talked more about this regulation tonight than we have in the past 20 years,” he said. “I’ve never had a builder agree to do this, and I’m hesitant to accept this as an condition. It’s an unprecedented step to require a specific orientation like this.”

“I’ve never encountered this provision,” added Commissioner John Katz, when asked by Jewell.

“I’ve seen it more recently, it’s gaining support,” Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said.

Jewell said that builders, like his client, always consider renewable energy when developing new homes.

“It’s ultimately up to builders and the buyers though,” he said. “I would leave it to the builders.”

Zeck countered that he wasn’t forcing it as a condition but rather asking the commission to “take it slightly farther than we have.”

“It’s gaining momentum and we’re continuing to encourage developers to consider it whenever we can,” Mucchetti said.

“It’s always something we keep in our mind,” added Don Sturges, of Sturges Brothers Inc. “We want to have family rooms and other larger rooms that take advantage of the passive solar energy. ... We do other techniques like spray insulation foam and create more window space, too, when developing our properties. We know it’s important and we look to follow it.”

Under one condition

The four-part application received unanimous approvals from the zoning commission.

Commissioner George Hanlon requested one condition be made to the application’s accessway approval: that the road can never be changed to a town road.

“I don’t like accessways but this one meets our regulations,” he said. “I just would like to request that we deed restrict it as a private accessway.”

Hanlon said earlier in the meeting that residents have been suing towns over the lack of maintenance on private roads.”

“It’s been happening all over Fairfield County,” he said. “We need to put in there that this is to never be owned by the town.”

“We’ll happily accept that,” said Jewell, “no problem.”