Planning & Zoning approves new Darien Boy Scout cabin unanimously, tag sale with provisions
With a unanimous vote of 5 to 0 Tuesday night, Planning & Zoning members approved the new Boy Scout cabin. The commission was missing Chairman John Sini who had a conflict for the meeting.
P&Z members debated on several issues prior to coming to their decision at the P&Z Special Meeting.
Construction of the proposed cabin is set to begin in May 2020.
The new cabin will be built on the site of the current Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust cabin. The work involves razing the existing structures on two properties, combining the properties at 138 and 140 West Avenue, and constructing the new cabin.
The 1.38+/- acre subject property is located on the north side of West Avenue, approximately 175 feet east of its intersection with Old Parish Road.
At the meeting, P&Z members agreed to specific terms regarding the annual Darien Boy Scout tag sale, which is held on the Boy Scout property.
The tag sale, which has run for the last 46 years, is the main source of funding for the troop. Recently, those living near the current Scout Cabin have been complaining about both the proposed cabin and the tag sale.
Planning & Zoning member Kevin Cunningham suggested reducing the number of outside groups who can use the cabin, due to girls now being allowed to join the troop.
“There is clearly going to be some girl-related scouting activities coming in, to which we don’t know the intensity of their use,” Cunningham said. “Because we have some increased utilization, both from a larger cabin and potential come Girl-related scouting activities, let’s pair down the number of outside activities.”
The Darien Soccer Association, Garden Club, and Danceabilities are currently held at the cabin.
Vice Chairman Stephen Olvany said he didn’t agree with the use of the cabin four times a year by the soccer association.
“Me, personally, I’ve got a problem with that because I've coached all these other sports, and we don’t go to the Scout cabin,” Olvany said, adding he coaches basketball, baseball, softball, football and lacrosse.
He added that the other sports meet at the high school, gym and Town Hall.
It was then agreed that the current Scout cabin should continue to be used for all the same groups who are currently utilizing it. However, one the new scout cabin is built, non-scout related groups may return to the P&Z Commission for special permission to use it.
Members agreed that during regular Scout events, all external lights at the cabin must be turned off by 10:30 p.m., unless there are special events taking place.
Since programs will be ending by 10 p.m., they agreed there is no reason to keep the lights on until 11 p.m.
On weeknights, it was decided that the lights will be on from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On weekends, the lights will be on from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
However, during the 16 special events that was allowed to be held at the cabin — which include Eagle Scout Courts of Honor, Blue and Gold dinners, the Pinewood Derby, Eagle Scout Training, and Scout registration open house — hours are not to exceed 10:30 p.m.
Olvany said people should not be working outside setting up their items for the tag sale at 11 p.m. at night.
Members therefore proposed there be a complete stop of outside tag sale set-up by 9 p.m.
“There are going to be more Scouts,” Olvany said. He added the Scouts are “organized,” and can “collect all the stuff and price it a lot faster than what they’re currently doing now. I think we can shorten the four week [set-up] at least to a maximum of three.”
In regard to take-down, members discussed reducing the duration from two weeks to one.
In a compromise, it was decided that for the 2019 tag sale, there would be three weeks of set-up and one week of take-down; and for the 2020 sale, there would be two weeks of set-up and one week of take-down.
P&Z members agreed that the tag sale can only be held unless parking arrangements are in place with Ring’s End Lumber and the privately owned parking lot at 37 West Avenue or equivalent arrangements are made and approved by Planning and Zoning.
The third available parking lot is at ERI Building & Design, at 199 West Ave, which is “tiny,” members commented.
“We think we achieved a reasonable compromise between the Darien Boy Scouts and the surrounding neighbors,” Sini told The Darien Times Wednesday morning.
“I’m hoping after the two years the Scouts can find additional solutions for the tag sale,” he said.