Letter writers are unfairly depicting synagogue’s plans

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorIn his letter, Richard Schulze asks why Greenwich Reform Synagogue wishes to “force itself on its neighbors?” That’s an unfair and inaccurate depiction of GRS intentions.

I know from communications sent to neighbors and copied to congregants (I am one of both), GRS has made concerted and genuine efforts to work with neighbors to alleviate their concerns. Contrary to letter-writer John Timm’s assertions, those efforts, not some devious secret plan, resulted in adjustments to the plans.

I understand the concerns of property owners adjacent to the GRS site, but there’s been a level of hysteria, misinformation and accusation that are unwarranted and unseemly. There was no similar public outrage aimed at Trinity Church for the traffic associated with its services when they were held around the corner at Central Middle School. So many cars, in fact, that buses shuttled people from Greenwich High School while cars overflowed the CMS parking lot, jammed on Indian Rock Lane from one end to the other.

There are no accusations that the presence of Greenwich Baptist Church, nestled in the neighborhood just around the corner from the GRS site, has lowered property values, a charge used to keep GRS from locating in Cos Cob. There are no vociferous accusations of harm to child pedestrian safety leveled at Central Middle School, also just around the corner, whose weekday traffic dwarfs what GRS will produce at off-hours (much of which passed along the very same roads without incident at its former location on Stanwich).

Media coverage has given the impression that a substantial proportion of “Cos Cob” is against GRS’ plan and that the harshly named Cos Cob Families Fighting for Residential Rights is representative of the community. I’m not aware of any polling on the topic that supports that conclusion.

More to the point, if the Greenwich community and some of its elected officials do not want houses of worship located in residential neighborhoods, they should propose changes to zoning regulations. They might also want to look around town and decide if neighborhood-based houses of worship are as evil as CCFFRR paints them to be.

Jonathan Perloe
Cos Cob

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