Winter club debate pushed back to Sept. 19

The public hearing on whether “private clubs” should be allowed in residential neighborhoods has been postponed to Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold the discussion in the East Ridge Middle School auditorium instead of its normal meeting location in the Town Hall Annex.

Adam Schnell, assistant town planner, said the postponement decision was made to account for the number of people who wish to attend the hearing.

“Everyone should have a chance to speak,” Schnell said.

Under the town’s current zoning regulations, private clubs are allowed to operate in residentially- zoned area as their developers receive a special permit from the town.

Public dissent against private clubs in residential zones began this spring after Ridgefield resident Bud Brown had preliminary talks with the commission about to building a private skating club at the site of the old Pinchbeck Nursery on Peaceable Street.

He has since gone public with plans for the Ridgefield Winter Club but has still not submitted a formal application with the town.

Jeff and Jenn Hansen, of the Peaceable Neighbors Alliance, filed the application this summer to have the term “private clubs” removed from the list of acceptable special permits that the town could grant developers looking to build in residentially-zoned areas.

Planning Director Richard Baldelli confirmed to The Press that the scheduled hearing would still take place tonight, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m., but that the Board would not hear a discussion on the issue until Sept. 19.