Boys and Girls Club expansion plan could cause central business zone to grow

An expansion of Central Business District — the commercial zone governing the Main Street shopping area — is being put forward by the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, as a means toward a possible expansion of its Governor Street facility.

“We are considering potential expansion, growth of the club,” said Mike Flynn, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. “We are seeking a zone change to accommodate that potential.”

The possible change of zone has been scheduled for an Oct. 17 public hearing, based on a petition presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on behalf of the club by attorney Bob Jewell.

The petition would include the Boys and Girls Club’s five-acre parcel at the corner of Governor Street and East Ridge Road, as well as the town-owned public parking lot off Governor Street and a small adjacent town parcel.

“It would involve our parking lot,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said, describing the zone change to fellow selectmen at their Sept. 6 meeting. “I don’t have a problem with it. It has to do with an addition they want to put in — they’d increase the size of their building.”

Flynn characterized the expansion plans as long range.

“We’re in the early stages,” he said. “... Just looking at the direction of the club, where we go for the future.

“We’re seeking a zone change to accommodate that potential, down the road.”

The club has been through three pre-submission concept discussions with the planning and zoning authorities “to gain feedback and share our thoughts,” Flynn said.

The Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club will soon celebrate the tenth anniversary of its expanded and rebuilt facility, on a site it has occupied for some six decades.

“It’ll be 10 years, almost to the day, since we reopened the new facility,” Flynn said of the Friday, Oct. 13 celebration.

That project a decade ago expanded a 7,000-square-foot building to around 19,000 square feet.

“We essentially tripled the facility,” Flynn said.

He didn’t offer many specifics of the expansion the club is looking ahead to, though he said the zone change to the Central Business District would help by reducing requirements such as setback distances.

“The change would allow us to potentially enhance the facility — if that’s the direction we go, down the road. It’s something we’ve been working through with P&Z,” Flynn said.

“This would not impede on anything that’s in place,” he added.