Two items in regard to the proposed construction of a walking/cross country running path were unanimously approved at the May 28 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.
This project involves the construction of a cross country running path around the perimeter of Darien High School. The five-foot-wide path would be part of a larger path that includes the adjoining Diller property. This path would include the construction of a walking/cross country path as well as six parallel parking spaces along Nutmeg Lane.
The first item that was addressed at the meeting pertains to the Diller property portion of the proposed path.
Jeremy Ginsberg, director of Darien’s Planning & Zoning Department, said that in terms of improvements to the property, “there are no property setbacks or screening. There is no setback in the zoning regulations.”
Unlike the construction of a building, a walking or jogging path does not have required setbacks. It can go right up against the property, he said to the Darien Times.
In addition, he said there is no parking requirement in the zoning regulations for dedicated parkland, or public parks.
He added that the “key” condition of approval is that the “property boundaries be staked if there is an area they believe is within ten feet of the adjacent property.”
The local traffic authority is the responsible party for any signage or enforcement relative to the on-street parking, Ginsberg added.
Regarding the second item, which pertains to the construction of the path around the perimeter of Darien High School, Ginsberg said the path is supposed to be a combination of crushed stone in some areas and grassy surface in other areas.
Two trees are specifically called out to be removed in the area, he said. They are in the western part of the property, near some parking spaces.
In regard to part of the path being in the flood zone, Ginsberg reiterated that Joseph Canas, flood plain manager and the applicant’s engineer — certified that the path will meet all the flood regulations.
Ginsberg said the key difference between the high school property and the Diller property is “the role of the Board of Education in terms of managing the usage of the track meets and scheduling the meets.”
In contrast, the Darien Parks & Recreation Department manages the Diller property.
Planning & Zoning Chairman John Sini said that the topic of screening was a concern brought up by three neighbors at the recent public hearing.
“It’s clear that the schools put in screening at their desire,” Sini said. “I believe the Board of Education and administration is reaching out to the neighbors about some of the other issues in regard to the building of the track.”
Next steps
EPC (Environmental Protection Commission) approval for the Diller property portion of the proposed track was expected to take place at the June 5 EPC meeting. The EPC has already approved the Darien High School portion of the project.
The RTM then needs to accept the gift, which would occur at the June 10 RTM meeting.
sfox@darientimes.com