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Planners To Decide On New Canaan Church In 65 Days

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The fate of a building proposed for the Grace Community Church property in the northern end of New Canaan will be decided within the next 65 days.

The town Planning and Zoning Commission closed a public hearing Tuesday on the proposal to construct a building on the 75-acre Grace Farms property off Lukes Wood Road near Smith Ridge Road. The church needs a site plan approval as well as a special use permit for the project.

“This public hearing is closed. Go in peace and expect a decision within 65 days,” Planning Board Chairman Laszlo Papp said at the end.

The closure ended more than three hours of testimony from Grace Church officials as well as opponents from New Canaan and New York who are worried about traffic during construction as well as traffic and noise after the project is finished.

The church building, called The River, would be built on a portion of the Lukes Wood Road property with the rest remaining as open space. The Sanaa of Tokyo-designed structure would include a sanctuary, a library, spaces for children, a dining room and a gymnasium. The initial project would cost $50 million to $60 million, though it has been tweaked since it was unveiled last September to ease concerns from neighbors and town officials.

Grace Farms Foundation was created by members associated with Grace Community Church in 2009.

Neighbors across the state line “feel a little like we’ll sort of be collateral damage to this Taj Majal," said Karen Cooper, who lives near the Grace Farms area in Pound Ridge, N.Y.

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