Traffic, Lights, Noise
Q: How big will the Clubhouse be?
A: With a building footprint of just 5,876 sq. ft., the two-story RWC Clubhouse -- which is designed to look like any other home in town -- will occupy only 3.3% of the entire site.
The RWC Clubhouse will comply with all zoning regulations, like other homes in Ridgefield on similarly sized properties. The Clubhouse 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. The placement of the building on the property, accompanied by new landscaping and an apple orchard in front, is designed to have the Clubhouse naturally blend in with its surrounding neighbors.
Q: How many memberships will the RWC have?
A: The RWC expects to offer approximately 275 family memberships which will occur over the course of 3-5 years.
Q: Will the RWC Clubhouse improve the look and feel of the existing property and appropriately blend into the neighborhood?
A: The RWC will replace the deteriorating greenhouses, broken windows, landscaping trucks and equipment, piles of dirt, wood chips, and debris that are on the property now. The new Clubhouse, which will be accompanied by fresh landscaping and an apple orchard in front, is designed to naturally blend in with its surrounding neighbors. With a building footprint of just 5,876 sq. ft., the two-story RWC Clubhouse -- which is designed to look like any other home in town -- will occupy only 3.3% of the entire site. The front of the property will continue to feature the existing decades-old stone barn, as a key acknowledgement to Pinchbeck Nursery’s history and importance.
Q: Who is the architect that will help ensure the RWC blends into Ridgefield and the neighborhood?
A: The RWC is being designed by Ridgefield-based architect, Doyle Coffin Architecture (DCA), a firm that has been providing high-end architectural design to residential, commercial, religious, and municipal clients throughout Fairfield County, New York and Greater New England for more than 40 years. Through the decades, DCA has designed in excess of 600 residential projects, as well as, many notable buildings right here in Ridgefield, including the Prospector, Fairfield County Bank, the RVNA, Saint Andrews Church, Silver Spring’s Pool House, and the St. Mary gymnasium.
Q: What indoor activities and amenities will the Clubhouse offer?
A: The Clubhouse 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. The RWC will also offer organized social events, including a speaker series, game nights, movie nights, a holiday party, and selected other activities.
Q: When will the Clubhouse be open?
A: The Clubhouse will be open for a total of 9 months a year -- and operate on a reduced 3-4 day per week schedule for four of those months.
Months of Operation
November through March: Open 7 days a week
September and October: Reduced 3-4 day a week schedule
April and May: Reduced 3-4 day a week schedule
June, July, & August: Closed
Hours of Operation
Weekdays: 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Weekends: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Q: Will there be a food and beverage service offered at the RWC?
A: The RWC will have a modest service to accommodate a fast-casual dining experience, whereby food will be ordered at a counter and delivered to your table. Like many locations for social gatherings, the RWC will have a bar area for adults with about a dozen seats. All State of Connecticut laws will be strictly followed.
Q: What outdoor activities will take place at the RWC?
A: The RWC will have an outdoor ice rink that will be open, at most, for five months a year (November – March). The RWC will focus on providing skating lessons, social family skates, and intra-RWC events, including hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling to its members.
Q: When will the outdoor ice rink be open?
A: The ice rink will be open, at most, for five months a year (November – March). There will be no sports or other activities held on the ice rink, except for skating and related activities (such as curling and broomball).
Months of Operation
November through March: Open
April through October: Closed
Hours of Operation - Opening
Weekdays: 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. (skating only)
Weekends: 8 a.m.
Hours of Operation - Closing
Daily: All recreational activities will cease at 9:45 p.m., or earlier, & lights out at 10 p.m., or earlier.
Q: What will the RWC impact be on the nearby neighbors to enjoy their yards?
A: The outdoor ice rink will be open, at most, for five months a year (November – March), when it’s cold and when most people prefer to be indoors. There will be no sports or other activities held on the ice rink, except for skating and related activities (such as curling and broomball).
The RWC will be completely closed during the summer months -- June, July, and August.
Q: Will the RWC operate like a traditional indoor ice rink, opening very early and closing very late?
A: No, the RWC will not operate like a traditional ice rink. The RWC will be primarily funded through memberships and will not rely on selling hourly use of the ice rink. Weekday mornings, skating only will begin at 7 a.m. On weekends, the ice rink will open at 8 a.m. At the RWC, all recreational activities will cease by 9:45 p.m., or earlier. The lights will go out at 10 p.m., or earlier.
Q: Will the RWC allow members to hold large, private outdoor events?
A: RWC members will have the ability to host modest events. All events will be in compliance with the Club’s governance and standing attendance, noise, lights and other rules and regulations. Permission for such an event can only be granted by the RWC General Manager.
Q: Will the RWC have competitive travel youth hockey teams as part of its programming?
A: No. Competitive travel youth hockey teams will not be part of the RWC programming.
Q: Is the RWC a permitted use on this property?
A: The RWC is a proposed private club that is allowed by special permit, defined under recreational uses, and aligns with current zoning priorities set by the town.
Since Ridgefield adopted its first zoning regulations, recreational private clubs have always been allowed by special permit in residential zones. Similar to golf clubs and swim clubs, the RWC will offer a facility to those seeking an outlet during the winter, which the existing clubs do not fulfill.
Furthermore, the RWC will replace the current legal nonconforming use (which is the status of the nursery today) with a fully compliant conforming use.
Like the town’s ball fields and recreation centers, neighborhood pools, and the ice rink, current Ridgefield planning and zoning regulation defines them as recreational facilities that are permitted in residential zones by special permit, and have always been allowed in order to improve the quality of life.
Traffic, Lights, Noise
Q: Will the RWC greatly increase traffic flow through the neighborhood?
A: With no travel hockey included in the RWC program, attendance at the RWC will largely consist of members and their guests. We expect a similar traffic pattern to other private clubs in town that experience little to no traffic issues. FP Clarke & Associates has been commissioned to perform a traffic study. Upon submitting a formal application to Planning & Zoning, the traffic study will be made available to the public.
Q: Will cars have to park on the street because there will not be enough parking at the RWC?
A: The RWC’s plan calls for about 100 parking spaces to keep all parking on the property and off the streets.
Q: When will the ice rink lights be on?
A: The ice rink will be open, at most, for five months a year (November – March). There will be no sports or other activities held on the ice rink, except for skating and related activities (such as curling and broomball). Recreational activities on the ice will cease by 9:45 p.m., or earlier, and the lights will go out at 10 p.m., or earlier.
Q: Will the ice rink lights impact the neighborhood?
A: By incorporating proper aiming angles, as well as internal and external controls, we are able to keep all of the light within our property. The RWC will use the latest state-of-the-art LED sports lighting technology. Our approach will provide an appropriate and safe amount of light for players.
Q: Will noise from the RWC disrupt a quiet residential neighborhood?
A: The RWC will meet Ridgefield’s stringent noise regulations. The RWC will be built with a combination of berms, fences, along with a rink and building design that -- from the ground up -- is intended to eliminate any potential noise effects outside of the property lines, per town code.
The combination of these measures, along with the end of outdoor recreational activities by 9:45 p.m., or earlier, and the 11 p.m. closing time of the Clubhouse, provides assurance that the RWC will be respectful of the neighborhood. The outdoor ice rink will be open, at most, for five months a year (November – March), when it’s cold and when most people prefer to be indoors. There will be no sports or other activities held on the ice rink, except for skating and related activities (such as curling and broomball).
The RWC will be completely closed during the summer months -- June, July, and August.
Q: Considering this property has been a nursery for more than 100 years, are there any environmental concerns?
A: The current third party Phase 1 and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments indicate the site is clean and that “no additional environmental work” needs to be completed.
Q: Considering the proximity of the RWC to the Peaceable Refuge, will the RWC have a negative impact on the wildlife and wetlands?
A: In planning the RWC, the designers were aware of the proximity of the site to the Peaceable Refuge. In fact, we anticipate that the addition of the RWC will be a net positive since animals cannot safely access the site now given its active use by a landscaping operation. Also, the 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.
Q: What will the impact on wells be?
A: Due diligence on water usage and the existing wells on the property is currently underway.
Operating on a daily basis, for just five months a year as the Club plans to do, it is anticipated that the RWC’s peak daily 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 for a full 12 months per year.
Q: Why do we need the RWC?
A: The RWC will fill a seasonal void and give families a new place for sports and to gather socially in the winter, in an environment similar to summer recreation. Ridgefield has a broad selection of recreational and social options in the summer, including country clubs, golf courses, pool clubs, and parks, while the winter does not. It has become increasingly easier to remain indoors throughout the winter given modern electronics, safety concerns with local ponds that do not freeze as often or as thick as they once did, and home rinks being time consuming and expensive to build and maintain. The RWC will provide a wintertime gathering place for social, face-to-face interaction while enjoying and experiencing outdoor skating and winter activity.
Q: Why do we need two ice rinks in town?
A: In fact, the RWC and the Winter Garden Ice Arena differ significantly based on their respective purposes, missions, business models, and the experiences they offer.
The Winter Garden Ice Arena is a commercial rink that sells hourly ice time to the general public.
As a private club, the RWC will combine a strong family-focused premier facility with an outdoor ice skating rink -- and fill a void in our town for families who want the opportunity for outdoor winter sports, recreation and social events. The RWC Clubhouse 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. Importantly, as a membership-based private club, the RWC will not rely on selling hourly ice, will not run a travel hockey program, and by design has intentionally limited ice activities by proposing a seasonal outdoor rink.
Q: How will the RWC differentiate Ridgefield as a community?
A: With the RWC, Ridgefield will be home to one of the only such facilities in Fairfield County. It will help to attract more families to our community, grow the local economy, put people to work, increase property values, increase the tax base, and build a unique, new hub of winter sports and social interactions for parents and children alike.
Q: How will the RWC impact property values?
A: Ridgefield prides itself on having top schools, a family-friendly community, and various amenities to offer its residents -- all of which help contribute to the value of our properties and the value that Ridgefield has to offer. The Ridgefield Winter Club will replace a deteriorating, older commercial property with a freshly landscaped and unique, wintertime premier facility that will enrich our community and help attract families.
Q: How will the addition of the RWC effect the property tax revenues generated on the property?
A: Working directly with Ridgefield’s tax assessor, the RWC estimates a five-fold increase in the property taxes that the RWC will pay to help fund vital town services - and help keep the burden on individual taxpayers low. This is an especially important addition given our current fiscal environment where we are witnessing a town hiring freeze, town projects on hold, and Hartford cutting back funds across the state.
Q: How many jobs will the RWC create?
A: The RWC will create as many as 20 new jobs in the community.
Q: How will the RWC benefit local organizations and the Ridgefield community?
A: Many private clubs attempt to provide benefits to local community groups and the RWC would like to follow that path in offering special programs to community, civic, and charitable organizations.