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Country School Seeking New Canaan Rule Change

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New Canaan Country School wants the to make process of changing its campus a little easier.

School officials are asking the Planning and Zoning Commission for changes to New Canaan regulations so that the private school will not have to seek a variance if it decides to add to its campus on Ponus Ridge Road. The text amendment change to zoning regulations is similar to the request the New Canaan YMCA made to the planning commission.

“We’re treated like a private residence, but we serve a public purpose,” said Head of School Tim Bazemore.

Currently, if the school wants to do any renovations, it must get a special permit from the planning commission as well as a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Bazemore wants the entire process to be heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission. If it goes before the Zoning Board of Appeals, Country School would have to prove there would be a hardship if it could not make a specific change to the school.

“It’s making it one step instead of two. In no way does it take away the residents’ chance to say they are for or against (a change) nor does it stop the planning and zoning commission from saying yes or no,” Bazemore said. “It makes the process more clear.”

Although the YMCA has plans to renovate and expand its pools, the private school does not have any specific changes in the works. The last campus construction was three years ago, when a new upper school building for grades 7 to 9 was completed. The next project may be fixing the school’s gymnasium, which was built in 1974. “It’s safe, but it’s just not great,” Bazemore said.

New Canaan Country School has been in existence since 1916 and on its Ponus Ridge Road campus since the 1930s.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to consider New Canaan Country School’s request at its February meeting.

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