Selectman, Zoning Board to meet again over Synagogue suit

An artist's rendering of the proposed new home for the Greenwich Reform Synagogue in Cos Cob.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed new home for the Greenwich Reform Synagogue in Cos Cob.

The Greenwich Board of Selectmen is set to meet with the Zoning Board of Appeal Monday night for a second closed door meeting to discuss the latter’s  vote to halt a controversial proposal to build a synagogue in residential Cos Cob. The ZBA’s decision not to grant the necessary exemption resulted in the Greenwich Reform Synagogue filing a civil rights suit against the town in federal court.

The two boards had previously met with legal counsel in executive session on July 25 to determine the reasoning behind the ZBA’s vote. While Town Attorney John Wayne Fox described the  meeting as “a good give-and-take,” no conclusions were reached.

The ZBA may elect to reconsider its June 12 vote. The body, which at the time included two alternates acting for one recused member and one absent member, voted 2-2, with one abstention, on a motion to grant the exemption. The tie caused the motion to fail, in effect denying the request and halting the project.

Town officials worry that  alternates Ken Rogozinski and Wayne Sullivan based their decision to vote against the project on the Plan of Conservation and Development. The document, signed by the town in 2009, is meant to guide land use regulators’ decisions on building projects, but is not legally binding and will not stand up in court.

The meeting had drawn derision from neighbors who are vehemently opposed to the synagogue plan, some of whom are also suing the town over an earlier Planning and Zoning decision about the project.

Read Greenwich Time’s previous coverage of the Synagogue’s lawsuit and the town’s response here, here and here.

Justin Pottle