Letter: P&Z chairman clarifies "gross misunderstanding" of commission's authority on Highland Farm
To the Editor:
As a result of last Tuesday's storm, the Planning & Zoning Commission's public hearing for the town-owned field at Ox Ridge, now known as Highland Farm, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, June 19, at 8 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.
It is important to remember that the Town Charter empowers the Board of Selectmen as the elected executive body of the Town of Darien. This means the Board of Selectmen has the authority to oversee and set usage policies for most properties owned by the Town (excluding the schools).
Darien's residential zoning regulations allow for a wide array of property rights, including recreational uses on publicly-owned properties. These uses are outlined throughout Section 400 of our zoning regulations.
Based on a vast majority of the public feedback submitted to the P&Z Department and publicized via various forms of media, it is clear that there is a gross misunderstanding related to the scope of the Commission's legal zoning authority for the special permit application for Highland Farm.
The Commission will conduct an administrative review of the proposed uses under the standards set forth by Section 1000 of Darien's zoning regulations -- primarily addressing the health, safety and welfare for the public, in general and for the surrounding area, specifically. Consequentially, the Commission will not entertain comments that are outside the bounds of its limited zoning authority.
For those that are interested in learning more about the Commission's limited role before the rescheduled June 19, public hearing, please contact Jeremy Ginsberg, Director of the Planning & Zoning Department.