Neighbors slam Winter Club proposal at fourth hearing

After two public hearings that were dominated by testimony from engineers and lawyers, residents finally got the chance to give their input about the proposed Ridgefield Winter Club on Peaceable Street at Tuesday night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

Of the 32 residents who delivered public comment to the commission, 29 spoke against the proposed club. Criticism ranged from environmental concerns to the project's potential to de-value homes in the area.

“I was harmed ... they have been harmed by all of this” said Matthew Grossman, a former Peaceable Street resident who recently sold his home for $995,000 as part of a relocation through his company.

He told the commission that he lost $155,000 in the transaction.

“Multiple buyers said that they had no plans to live across from an outdoor ice rink," he said. "The winter club, I felt, was killing my chances of selling [my] home.”

Grossman turned to the commission and hoped they could defend other properties in the neighborhood.

“Quite frankly, we’re looking for some heroes," he said. “Be our heroes, be our champions, and please defend our homes.”  

He wasn't the only resident who feared for the future of the neighborhood.

“I do not see how an ice rink and clubhouse are harmonious with the neighborhood,” said Marie Pinchbeck.   

Others in the crowd were quick to defend the project and its developer, Bud Brown.

“I’ve known Bud Brown since we moved here 15 years ago,” said Michael Walker of Island Hill Avenue. “No doubt in my mind…. that it would add to the town’s allure.”

Lewisboro Town Supervisor Peter Parsons was the first member of the public to give comment. Four of the 32 speakers who gave feedback to the commission were school-aged children.

Around 100 people showed up a Tuesday night's meeting. Another is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Read more of this story in Thursday's Ridgefield Press.