Cutlers Farms Crossing developer can keep house on Purdy Hill Road

A developer agreed to demolish this raised-ranch at 269 Purdy Hill Road as part of the approval for Cutlers Farm Crossing, a 55-and-older community.

MONROE, CT — A developer who built Cutlers Farm Crossing, a 25-unit age 55-and-older community at the corner of Purdy Hill and Cutlers Farm roads, will also get to keep a raised ranch at 269 Purdy Hill Road that was supposed to be razed.

Sound II Home Builders LLC had previously agreed to demolish the house as a condition of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of the condos, because an Age Restricted Residential District requires a property to be a minimum of 10 acres and, without the property the house sits on, the development is just over nine acres.

When the developer’s representatives originally came back to the commission to keep the house last August, commissioners recommended they file an application with the Zoning Board of Appeals for a waiver first.

The ZBA reviewed their application for a hardship and approved the waiver. Then the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to allow Sound II Home Builders LLC to keep the house at its meeting Thursday.

“Neighbors prefer the house rather than an empty lot that could become an extended ARR,” Dominick Thomas Jr., an attorney for the applicant told the commission.

The commission approved the request to keep the house by a vote of 4 to 1, with Chairman Michael O’Reilly, Vice Chairman Bruno Maini, Ryan Condon and Robert Westlund voting yes and Leon Ambrosey voting no.

“When we approved this, the house was going to be demolished,” Ambrosey said. “I have an issue with changing it from what we approved.”

Ambrosey said he did not like changing the ARR requirement from a minimum of 10 acres to 9, and Thomas said the commission is not changing its regulation, rather the variance granted by the ZBA is what’s allowing it to be on 9 acres.

Ambrosey also expressed concern over an approval setting a precedent, allowing other developers to change pre-approved applications.

Earlier in the meeting, Planning and Zoning Administrator Kathleen Gallagher said nine ARR units are still available to be built in town. The Ridge at Monroe, another ARR housing development, is asking for six more units, so the town is close to its cap.

During deliberations, Westlund said it will be unlikely for another big ARR application to come before the commission, so their decision should not set a precedent.

O’Reilly said the rest of the ARRs in town are at least 10 acres.

“We set up all ARRs at 10 acres. Now it looks like spot zoning,” Ambrosey said. “That’s why I voted no on this. He said he was going to take the house down and landscape. Now he wants the house.”

Condon pointed out that the ZBA granted the variance allowing the house to remain.

During the public comment portion of the hearing, one resident spoke in favor of keeping the house, because she said the house would make the street remain more residential compared to another condo being built.

Glen Snajder, of Cutlers Farm Road, said his property abuts the developer’s parcel. “I’m neutral,” he said. “The only question I have is, what would be there if the house was removed?”

O’Reilly said there could possibly be another condo or an empty lot.

“It’s unlikely it would be a field or open space,” Condon said.

Snajder asked if there could be a requirement that it remain as open space and Condon said no.

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