RWC Presents Vision to P&Z Commission

September 5, 2018, Ridgefield, CT — The Ridgefield Winter Club (RWC) yesterday presented its plans to transform the old, deteriorating Pinchbeck Nursery into a premier winter destination for Ridgefield to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“We appreciate the Commission’s initial feedback and thoughtful review of our plans and are grateful for all the members of the Ridgefield community who have expressed their support,” Bud Brown, RWC Founder, said. “Because we fully embrace our commitment to be a good neighbor, the RWC will replicate the residential look and feel of our town, operate with modest hours and months of usage, and bring significant economic benefits, including additional tax revenue, to Ridgefield.”

Brown said that, as of yesterday, 180 letters from Ridgefield families who support the RWC have been submitted to the Commission.

“For decades, the Town of Ridgefield has had the flexibility it needs to manage the right level of development for our town,” Brown said, “and we look forward to the continuation of that vision. The RWC’s zoning application seeks to replace the commercial nursery’s current legal nonconforming land use with a conforming use allowed by special permit, thereby aligning with current town zoning priorities.”

In terms of the environment, the RWC also noted that new planting on the site will be accompanied by fresh landscaping -- including an apple orchard at the front – and the area closest to the Peaceable Refuge will be used sparingly. This will have a net positive impact on wildlife since animals currently cannot safely access the site given its active use by a landscaping operation. Additionally, operating on a daily basis, for just five months a year as it plans to do, it is anticipated that the peak daily water usage will be approximately 3,500 gallons. By way of comparison, the daily usage for a nursery, with just one acre of planting, is 11,000 to 22,000 gallons per day for a full 12 months per year, and in years past multiple acres have been planted on this property.

The RWC’s indoor entertainment offerings will include a golf simulation room, four bowling lanes, a tabletop game room, homework rooms, casual dining with a bar, locker rooms, along with other amenities. Outdoor activity will focus on providing skating lessons; social family skates; and intra-RWC events, including hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling to its members.

The RWC’s ice rink and Clubhouse will operate seasonally from November through March, and the entire RWC will be closed during summer months. From April-May and September-October, the ice rink will be closed, and the Clubhouse will operate on a reduced schedule. On weekdays, from November through March, the ice rink will open for skating at 7 a.m., and hockey at 8 a.m., and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The ice rink will open at 8 a.m. on weekends and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The Clubhouse will close by 11 p.m., or earlier.

For more information, please visit www.ridgefieldwinterclub.com or www.facebook.com/SupportRWC

 

Ridgefield Winter Club Files Zoning Application

Published on Friday, 20 July 2018

The Ridgefield Winter Club (RWC) today announced it has filed its formal application with the town’s Planning and Zoning Department to transform the old, deteriorating Pinchbeck Nursery into a strong family-focused winter destination that will bring community-wide benefits to Ridgefield. The RWC’s website  and Facebook page host up-to-date plans and information that outline the vision for the Club and the benefits this project will bring to Ridgefield.

“The Ridgefield Winter Club will add a unique new asset to all that our town has to offer,” RWC Founder Bud Brown said, “and we are thrilled to be moving forward. We truly embrace the importance of being a good steward of the community, and we’re proud to present an application that incorporates Ridgefield’s local standards and fulfills the promise to support the community as an attractive place in which to live and raise a family.”

The RWC will create a premier facility with an outdoor ice rink for families to gather socially and build community and camaraderie through a range of interactive indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor entertainment offerings will include four bowling lanes, a golf simulation room, a tabletop game room, homework rooms, casual dining with a bar, locker rooms, along with other amenities. Outdoor activity will focus on providing skating lessons, social family skates, and intra-RWC events, including hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling to its members.

The RWC’s ice rink and Clubhouse will operate seasonally from November through March, and the entire RWC will be closed during summer months. From April-May and September-October, the ice rink will be closed, and the Clubhouse will operate on a reduced schedule. On weekdays, from November through March, the ice rink will open for skating at 7 a.m., and hockey at 8 a.m., and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The ice rink will open at 8 a.m. on weekends and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The Clubhouse will close by 11 p.m., or earlier.

“We’ve taken great care to replicate the residential look and feel of our town, operate with modest hours and months of usage, and use proven lighting technology as well as measures intended to eliminate any potential noise effects outside the property lines,” Brown said. “Transforming this old, deteriorating nursery into an attractive, freshly landscaped facility will replace the existing nonconforming land use with a conforming use allowed by special permit, thereby aligning with current town zoning priorities. And through this transformation, we will bring a full range of positive economic benefits to Ridgefield by creating jobs and generating an estimated five times the amount of tax revenue currently paid by the site to help fund vital town services.”

Brown added: “We are so appreciative of the positive response and excitement from community members who share our belief that the RWC will strengthen the community for years to come. To date, we

have received more than 115 letters from supporters and nearly 600 people have liked the Facebook page in support of the Club. We encourage residents to check out these resources for updates and more information as we continue our ongoing outreach.”

For more information, please visit www.ridgefieldwinterclub.coor facebook.com/supportRWC/.

https://news.hamlethub.com/ridgefield/places/60561-ridgefield-winter-club-files-zoning-application

Ridgefield Press Editorial: Planning & Perspective

Check out this recent Ridgefield Press Editorial, which encourages participation in local planning decisions without losing perspective to ensure balance as Ridgefield grows.

Editorial: Planning & perspective

By Steve Coulter on September 29, 2017 

Homeowners are battling what they see as encroachments into residential neighborhoods, and participation makes the process work as it should. But perspective is also helpful.

The Planning and Zoning Commission just turned down a request to remove private clubs as a permitted use, a change sought by the Peaceable Street neighbors worried about an ice skating club. Previously, a rehab facility on Old West Mountain Road was withdrawn after vehement neighborhood opposition. Now a small bed and breakfast on Circle Drive has sparked neighborhood concern.

People are within their rights — and, often, doing a public service — when they get involved, study-up on development plans, attend meetings, speak their minds. But perspective means understanding the process. It’s a balancing of rights: the right to sell land, develop, do business, make a profit; and the right to enjoy a home, a neighborhood, in peace and tranquility.

Mortgage-burdened homeowners can react strongly to what they view as threats to property values. Often people rise up to “protect” against changes that wouldn’t really harm their neighborhoods, wouldn’t send values plummeting.

Planning and Zoning law gives the town authority to introduce order, and set limits: to say no to building an auto racing track next to the senior citizens’ housing. But it doesn’t empower people to halt all change and growth.

Let’s care, participate, speak out. But let’s not lose perspective.

Originally appeared in: https://www.theridgefieldpress.com/95307/editorial-planning-perspective/

 

Letter: Ridgefield should welcome winter club with open arms

Residents are urging support for the Ridgefield Winter Club’s mission for a premier new winter destination in Ridgefield that builds camaraderie and community. Check out this Letter to the Editor, written by a Ridgefield resident, on the many ways the RWC will be a positive addition to the community. Thank you to Jeanmarie for the support!

Remember, you can help make a difference and help bring the RWC to fruition by filling out this form to show support: https://ridgefieldwinterclub.com/get-involved/

Ridgefield should welcome winter club with open arms

By: Jeanmarie McLean     September 4, 2017

I am writing to support the approval for the Ridgefield Winter Club. After reading about its mission and the scope of its programs, I believe Ridgefield should welcome this business with open arms.

This business will enhance Ridgefield on many levels. It is a business owned by a community-minded family, it will bring needed tax revenue to the town, and it will keep a lot of money in the local economy. It is not owned by a distant conglomerate and it offers wholesome, family-oriented programs. It is not another bank or restaurant. The RWC will beautify a location that has been declining for years and it provides a use that conforms to existing zoning laws. Also, it is on the periphery of the residential area, in close proximity to Route 35, negating the need for traffic to roam the neighborhoods.

This property will not remain dormant and the alternatives are not positive. It could very likely be targeted for a large-scale, mixed-use development that stretches the parameters of the affordable housing laws to gain massive profits.

I urge the town to approve the Ridgefield Winter Club and support the Brown family. They are willing to invest in something that reflects Ridgefield values and promotes the economic development of the town within the proper venue — free enterprise that conforms to local values and interests.

Jeanmarie McLean

Ridgecrest Drive

Originally appeared in: http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/93871/letter-ridgefield-should-welcome-winter-club-with-open-arms/

Ridgefield Winter Club Outlines Plans To Turn Nursery Into ‘Destination’

Stay up to date on the latest Ridgefield Winter Club news and updates through our website and Facebook page (@SupportRWC). Please share these resources with friends!

Ridgefield Winter Club Outlines Plans To Turn Nursery Into 'Destination'

By: Ridgefield Daily Voice     August 2, 2017

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — The Ridgefield Winter Club is promoting its plan to transforms the Pinchbeck Nursery into a premier, family-oriented winter recreation destination.

The plan, which has drawn fire from many neighbors, is outlined on a new website and Facebook page for the Ridgefield Winter Club. The founder is detailing the "community-wide benefits this project will bring to town."

“The Ridgefield Winter Club will fill the seasonal void that currently exists in our town,” RWC founder Bud Brown said. “We’re proud to help create a premier facility that offers a safe, interactive, social environment for children and families to connect with one another through a range of indoor and outdoor activities.”

The website provides an information about Brown's vision to transform the deteriorating Pinchbeck Nursery into a family-focused facility that will include an outdoor ice rink, as well as indoor recreational activities.

The Facebook page provides additional information about the project, answers questions about the project and outlines ways to support the plan, he said.

There are also visual and architectural renderings of the Ridgefield Winter Club on the website. The club will keep all of the light on the property; eliminate noise effects outside of the property lines; keep all parking on-property; and care for the local environment, Brown said.

Under the plan, the Ridgefield Winter Club’s ice rink and clubhouse will be open seven days a week from November through March.

In April and May and September and October, the ice rink will be closed and the Clubhouse will operate on a reduced three- to four-day a week schedule.

The entire club will be closed June, July, and August.

On weekdays from November through March, the ice rink will open for skating at 7 a.m., and hockey at 8 a.m., and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier.

The ice rink will open at 8 a.m. on weekends and all recreational activities on the ice will end by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The Clubhouse will close by 11 p.m., or earlier.

The club's indoor entertainment offerings will include a golf simulation room, four lanes of bowling, a tabletop game room, homework rooms, casual dining with a small bar, locker rooms, along with other amenities.

Outdoor activity will focus on providing skating lessons, social family skates, and ice events, including hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling, to its members.

“The current legal nonconforming use of the site is for a commercial retail nursery in a residential area,” Brown said. “Transforming this old, deteriorating nursery into an attractive, freshly landscaped facility will replace the existing nonconforming land use with a conforming use allowed by special permit, thereby aligning with current town zoning priorities."

He said the club would bring economic benefits to Ridgefield, by creating jobs and generating tax revenue five times the amount currently paid by the site.

Originally appeared in: http://ridgefield.dailyvoice.com/neighbors/ridgefield-winter-club-outlines-plans-to-turn-nursery-into-destination/717718/

Letter: Skate club presents great opportunity

Community members are urging support for the Ridgefield Winter Club to transform a deteriorating property into an exciting new asset for the community.  We thank Gregg Hutchings for his support!

Remember, we’ve made it easy to show support! To help make a difference and bring the RWC to fruition, simply fill out this form: https://ridgefieldwinterclub.com/get-involved/

Letter: Skate club presents great opportunity

By: Gregg Hutchings     July 16, 2017

To the Editor:

Our family moved to Ridgefield when I was in high school back in the 1970s because the town had an ice skating rink.

I’ve known Bud Brown for over 25 years and found him to be an honest, soft-spoken person. I think his plans to build an ice skating club on the old Pinchbeck Nursery property is a great opportunity for our community. The deteriorating property will be transformed into a beautiful facility.

Of all the potential uses for the property, I feel a skating club is an excellent choice. There are many development options that might not be as desirable.

I’d love to see a skating club replace the abandoned Pinchbeck building with its broken windows and chains across the front. I’ve been to the Greenwich and New Canaan skating clubs and a Ridgefield skating club would be a great asset to the community.

Gregg Hutchings

Originally appeared in: http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/91003/letter-skate-club-presents-great-opportunity/

Editorial: Winter in July

If you missed this Ridgefield Press Editorial, read more below about why proponents of the RWC proposal are thinking ahead about Winter in July!

Editorial: Winter in July 

By: The Ridgefield Press     July 16, 2017

For all the nice weather we’ve been having this month, it seems all anybody wants to talk is winter.

That’s because a proposed, 250-member skate club on the town’s New York border — in the neighborhood of Peaceable Street and Old South Salem Road, on the old Pinchbeck Nursery property — has stirred up a ruckus.

Yes, we’re talking protest buttons, petitions, and attempts to change the town’s zoning regulations.

Despite the town’s recent championship success, it doesn’t appear that hockey is in vogue.

In all seriousness, what’s drawing the ire of neighbors in the area of the project is the possibility of a high-intensity facility moving in next door.

Previous letters have focused on the aspect that the town’s zoning regulations allow commercial businesses, such as municipal storage buildings, refuse disposal facilities, and “private clubs” — like the one applicant Bud Brown seeks to build.

This week, the editorial page chorus is singing a drastically different tune.

Supporters feel like the depreciating building is in much need of a facelift, and the proposed skate club will bring that to the blighted property.

There’s also the other side’s main argument turned around against them: what if the property was purchased by a waste management company? It is legal.

If the neighbors get their way — and the Planning and Zoning Commission is making them wait on that verdict until Sept. 5, then clubs won’t be allowed anymore in residentially-zoned areas.

That’s a step — at least in their minds — in a positive direction.

But what about other, less desirable businesses? Or even affordable housing developments?

Well, that will leave everybody wishing they hadn’t been so quick and swift to give Brown’s idea the boot.

Speaking of boots, let’s leave them in the closet. It’s summertime, after all.

 

Originally appeared in: http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/91067/editorial-winter-in-july/

Letter: Winter club will benefit Ridgefield

Read why members of the community are urging support for the Ridgefield Winter Club! Thank you to Ryan and Melanie Lumelleau for this Letter to the Editor. We appreciate your support!

Remember, we’ve made it easy to show support! To help make a difference and bring the RWC to fruition, simply fill out this form: https://ridgefieldwinterclub.com/get-involved/

Letter: Winter club will benefit Ridgefield

By: Ryan and Melanie  Lumelleau     July 15, 2013

To the Editor:

After reading the recent media postings, we are compelled to write in support of the Ridgefield Winter Club.

The proposed site currently sits vacant and is rapidly degrading into a commercial blight zone — just drive by or view on Google Maps. While many residents prefer to see single-family homes built, our local builders have determined the economics don’t work. Note that the moratorium on affordable housing in Ridgefield expires in the fall of 2018, which may allow for a significantly less desirable use of the site.

Under current regulations, the RWC is permitted with a special permit, which allows P&Z to stipulate appropriate use and aesthetics. This project has been carefully designed in order to integrate into the neighborhood, provide employment, and increase tax revenue. Can the same be said for a multi-unit affordable housing development? Simply put: The RWC will beautify a property that is rapidly approaching blight and seemingly has found no other suitable buyers.

There are more than 50 schools, churches, fields, and other recreational facilities in residential neighborhoods around Ridgefield. Many of these, including Tiger Hollow and the new, lighted Little League field met resistance, but all have added to the character of our town and provided new opportunities for Ridgefield residents.

Bud and Alison Brown have donated the equivalent of a second career in time spent coaching and volunteering in Ridgefield. We know that they value the quality of life in Ridgefield as much as we do. While we and our children are active in many sports and other activities in town, none of those currently include hockey or skating. However, we are certain that the Ridgefield Winter Club will be a wonderful addition to Ridgefield, and urge you to support the project.

Ryan and Melanie Lumelleau

 

Originally appeared in: http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/91002/letter-winter-club-will-benefit-ridgefield/

Why is a Winter Club needed in Ridgefield?

Read the perspective of RWC Founder, Bud Brown, who is a 15-year resident of Ridgefield. Bud is active in the community and possesses extensive professional experience in the capital markets as well as the world of skating. This premier facility will be professionally managed by Bud as a full-time General Manager.

Fellow Neighbors:

As a 15 year-plus resident of Ridgefield, my wife, three young boys and I have been fortunate to benefit from all that our wonderful town has to offer. Like you, we treasure the sense of community and comradery we feel in our schools, parks, library, and all across town.  This culture has inspired me to build the Ridgefield Winter Club to add to the amazing offerings of this town.

I – along with several other neighbors here – are excited about the opportunity to give back through the addition of a winter recreation center.

The Ridgefield Winter Club will combine a strong family-focused premier facility with an outdoor ice skating rink. It fills a void in our town for families who want the opportunity for outside winter sports, recreation, and social events.

Since the inception of zoning laws in Ridgefield, additional uses have always been allowed in residential areas. By design, this has allowed Ridgefield’s planners to enrich neighborhoods, build character, and improve our quality of life by including schools, churches, parks, ballfields, golf courses, pool clubs, and recreational facilities all within residential areas.

That’s the case here too. In fact, the site we’ve identified for the Club is currently zoned to allow just this type of facility -- and that's one of the reasons we picked it. We know how important it is to maintain Ridgefield’s neighborhoods, and this Club will actually transition the commercial business that’s on the property now (technically, a non-conforming use of the land) into a use that is in keeping with the law and the intent of the law -- and is not "spot zoning".

So working with the best architects and designers in the business, we will turn the old, abandoned Pinchbeck Nursery into an attractive facility in keeping with Ridgefield’s character that parents and children will enjoy for years to come. Our plans feature a beautifully landscaped setting with an apple orchard at the front entrance, the restoration of the historic stone barn that has been there for decades, and a range of other amenities.

At the same time, the input that my fellow Ridgefielders have is important to me -- and to this project. Your emails, letters, and comments have been very much appreciated. And we continue to incorporate that thinking into this project to ensure that concerns about traffic, parking, lights, and noise are answered.

I’m proud to help create what will be a family-focused, social, and interactive environment that will enhance the neighborhood and Ridgefield during the winter. As a local club, there is a lot we’re going to do, and some things we won’t do, including running a competitive travel hockey program or hosting other travel hockey teams and tournaments. We’re also going to limit the hours, the months, and the usage of the Club and ice rink. This is a Winter Club and will be closed during the warmer months.

The Club will also bring jobs to our neighbors and increase the taxes that this property generates by an estimated five times, especially important at a time when Hartford is cutting back on its aid to towns across the state.

The Ridgefield Winter Club will be a great asset for our town like the many pool clubs, ballfields, and other recreational facilities that we benefit from and so enjoy. It will be one more positive differentiator for Ridgefield compared to all other towns in Fairfield County.

I am excited and look forward to sharing further details over the weeks to come. As we move forward, we’ll continue this conversation as part of the regulatory process and with our community.

Thank you,

Bud Brown

Originally appeared in: http://news.hamlethub.com/ridgefield/neighbors/56537-letter-to-the-editor-ridgefield-winter-club