Whitby’s bubble request would negatively impact the town

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

An application by the Whitby School before the Planning and Zoning Commission has profound implications for the entire town.

Whitby has already successfully obtained three approvals (for 28,000, 6,000 and 4,000 square feet, successively) to expand its facilities by approximately 38,000 square feet, the latest being granted in 2008. Its neighbors have been more than accommodating in the past. But when is enough, enough?

Whitby is now overreaching by requesting a special permit to build a semi-permanent 38-foot-high-plus tennis dome in a quiet residential neighborhood. Whitby has already obtained approval for a 4,000-square-foot expansion of its current 8,000-square-foot gym, for a total of almost 12,000 square feet. By seeking yet another approval for a commercial-sized tennis bubble, Whitby is requesting an exception to applicable FAR regulations, green area requirements, noise restrictions, wetlands impact and building height restrictions.

Whitby’s neighbors are concerned about storm water runoff flooding our property down the steep slope below the proposed bubble and adversely impacting the wells that are the source and quality of water for our homes. The wetlands surrounding Whitby are also integral to Greenwich’s entire watershed.

Whitby is proposing that the equivalent of an unsustainable large white spaceship be placed high on a hill in the middle of a quiet natural environment, endangering existing ecosystems. Whitby’s operations already cause considerable traffic congestion during the school day and the proposed bubble will now do so at night.

The school’s neighbors have been at the mercy of successive new heads of school at Whitby (beginning with the one investigated by then Attorney General, now U.S. Senator, Blumenthal) each with their own agenda and each making promises to the neighbors that are promptly forgotten and never met by the succeeding head of school.

If granted, this application would establish a precedent for the use of bubbles by schools in other neighborhoods. More importantly, it will be granted despite the unanimous opposition of the neighbors.

It’s not acceptable that Whitby be allowed to disregard the best interests of its neighbors and its quiet natural environment for a purely illusory so-called “educational” benefit.

 

Tor Kupper, Andrew Krinsky, David Benjamin, Heidi Hamilton, Wendy Seraphin, Marianna Ponns Cohen, Jace Day, Jacqueline Day, Robert Grierson and Tina Ciecimirski
Greenwich

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