More questions emerge about why synagogue reduced its plan

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

In my July 31 letter to the editor in the Greenwich Post, I showed information that it appears the lack of enough property caused the Greenwich Reform Synagogue (GRS) to reduce the size of their building, not because they were listening to the concerns of the neighbors.

On Oct. 9, 2012, GRS released a request for proposal (RFP) in which it states they have a membership of 150 families and are planning on a 20,000-square-foot building, parking for 100 cars, a sanctuary of 2,500 square feet and a social hall of similar size that can be combined with the sanctuary, a chapel, 10 classrooms for religious school and preschool, a board room, four offices and ample storage. There were also plans for future expansion.

Why would GRS write such a detailed specification of what they wanted built?

With the parking for 100 cars, the Greenwich Municipal Code 6-158 defines the number of parking spaces versus seating in a place of worship as one parking space per three seats. Working back, the RFP 100 parking spaces will yield a seating capacity in the social hall/sanctuary of 300 seats.

One has to ask why would GRS want 300 seats. Looking at the specifications of their previous synagogue at 257 Stanwich Road, the social hall/sanctuary had a seating capacity of 266 seats expandable to 312 seats requiring 104 parking spaces and a 90-seat chapel, which required an additional 30 parking spaces for a total of 134 spaces. This information is from the Planning and Zoning Site Plan # 1527 of Feb. 25, 1992.

Was the request for proposal meant to approximately duplicate what GRS had at 257 Stanwich Road, which would require a 20,000-square-foot building and parking for 100 cars? Was it their intent on building such a facility at 92 Orchard Street?

Many neighbors fear that if GRS is successful in building their 12,262-square-foot design, in the future it will be expanded to 20,000 square feet with 100 car parking.


John Timm
Cos Cob

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