AP NEWS

Winter Club wrong use for Ridgefield neighborhood

August 29, 2018

What is the purpose of zoning regulations? At its core, the purpose is to keep incompatible land uses separate. This purpose creates safe neighborhoods for families to come home to, commercial areas for citizens to shop in, industrial areas to support a community’s infrastructure and ultimately protects a property owner’s investment in their land and their community.

In Ridgefield, we should be growing more and more concerned that these lines are being blurred and may ultimately be shattered. There seems to be support to establish a commercial-like enterprise in a residential, family area — a residentially zoned part of our town. While facilities like the proposed Winter Club might provide a nice facility for their elite clientele, that nicety will come at the great expense of destroying a quiet, peaceful neighborhood and setting precedent that could ripple throughout neighborhood after neighborhood in our town.

As conceived, this facility would operate at all hours of the day with games and practices early in the morning, late into the night and on weekends. All times when families are at home. It would bring elevated high intensity lights into a neighborhood without street lights. Bring additional traffic on narrow back roads not designed to handle traffic associated with sporting events. Bring shouting and noise where today we hear only the sounds of nature. This facility would also have a commercial kitchen and liquor license ostensibly to handle large parties and gatherings.

As you can see, this is one of the most intrusive uses that could be contemplated. This might be OK, if this were being contemplated on an extensive lot surrounded by a large buffer. However, in this case, the developer is trying to wedge this facility onto a small piece of property that will be developed over its entirety.

Individuals and families move to towns like Ridgefield to escape rampant development, avoid congestion, and to find peace and quiet where they can make a home. Zoning regulations can serve to protect all of this.

Hopefully, reason will take hold here before a neighborhood is altered forever and the value of surrounding properties are diminished.

Jason Matthews

Ridgefield

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