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Mike Battinelli and Steve Garst ‘Not your typical health ... club’

July 29, 2018

To the Board of Representatives,

With all due respect, after reading Vicky Papson’s comments (op-ed: “Life Time zoning change makes sense”), we must believe she has never been to a Life Time Fitness facility to make the assertions she has about this business. There will be significant adverse impacts for the residential neighborhoods surrounding the Corporate Parks on High Ridge and Long Ridge Roads should this type of “resort” fitness center be permitted.

To equate a private enterprise to sidewalks, streets, schools, bridges, roads, waste transfer stations, sewage treatment plants ... even public parks ... is irresponsible! These are enterprises that are in the “public” interest and funded with the public’s money. A profit-driven, noise- and traffic-inducing resort-like club simply does not meet the greater good criteria. This is not your typical health and fitness club.

When it comes to the proposal of a “private” enterprise that will negatively impact an entire neighborhood, or multiple neighborhoods, the board must consider the negative impacts on the neighborhood(s) first and foremost. The board is under no obligation to guarantee the profits of a private enterprise. You are obliged to consider precisely whether a change in the laws will negatively impact members of the public. This is not about one small neighborhood, it’s about the impacts on a much larger community, both south of and north of the Merritt.

Your vote against the zoning change is not a vote against a Life Time Fitness-type facility being built in Stamford. There are six commercial and industrial zones where “gymnasiums and physical culture establishments” are allowed because those zones are more appropriate.

Vote Yes to reject the Zoning Board decision and send the Planning and Zoning Boards back to the drawing board.

Mike Battinelli and Steve Garst are residents and co-presidents of the Stamford Neighborhoods Coalition, a 700-member organization affiliated with 10 Stamford neighborhood associations.

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