Letter: Allowing Mountainside opens a Pandora’s Box

To the Editor:

I am concerned about the possible Pandora’s Box we may be opening if Mountainside settles into the quiet, residential neighborhood on Old West Mountain Road. Being owned by Artemis Partners, a private equity firm, should lead everyone to assume that they are positioned for profit growth and physical expansion.

From an immediate neighborhood perspective … where will the rehab facility’s boundaries end? There are no guarantees against surrounding expansion once Mountainside digs roots. What happens when the immediate neighbor’s property values decline by 17% and owners are forced to consider selling their properties to Mountainside to avoid a substantial loss? Once that door is opened, will other single-family homes be snatched up and added? Current owners will be in the unfortunate position of having to make these choices. Bear in mind that each of the neighboring homes has three-plus acres, allowing for another nine beds per property …

Think it can’t happen? I cite the following article: Lawsuit: Town denies Silver Hill claims that P&Z mishandled hospital’s applications. By Michael Dinan, July 27, 2015.

In summary, in 2013, Silver Hill purchased a $2.5-million home across the street from the hospital’s main campus and applied to the P&Z Commission for site plan and special permit approval in order to use it as a residential medical treatment facility. (The New Canaan P&Z denied the application, and three weeks later, the hospital filed a lawsuit against the town.)

When we violate our POCD to accommodate commercial use in a residential zone, we’ve sent an invitation to other rehab facilities and commercial enterprises who will be happy to cite our Mountainside case. Picture the possibility that Ridgefield might no longer be known for its beautiful, Norman Rockwellian Main Street.

Careful, Ridgefield, it’s a slippery slope.

Donna Svendsen