Guilford PZC to hear plan for Chabad center

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
July 5, 2008

GUILFORD – A controversial proposal to build a religious center and day care center on Goose Lane will come before the Planning and Zoning Commission in the next few months.

At its regular meeting this week, the commission accepted for review Chabad of the Shoreline’s plan and set a public hearing for Sept. 3.

Speaking at the meeting, commission Chairwoman Shirley Girioni stressed that reviewing the application – which she called a “neutral action” – does not imply that the commission will approve the proposal.

“Because we receive an application does not mean we are accepting or rejecting an application,” Girioni said.

Chabad of the Shoreline, a group that practices a branch of Hasidic Judaism, is based in Branford. The organization first applied to build a synagogue and community center at 181 Goose Lane more than two years ago.

The property, which has a house on it, is in a residential zone and sits near the Exit 59 of Interstate 95 and the Yale-New Haven Hospital Shoreline Medical Center. The town requires a special permit to build a religious center in any zone, according to the Planning Department.

In 2007, the proposal received approval from the Inland Wetlands Agency, but Chabad of the Shoreline later withdrew and resubmitted the application.

Neighbors have opposed the application on the grounds that the new center would be too large compared to nearby buildings and bring too much traffic to a residential area.

At this week’s meeting, Girioni read several letters into the record from neighbor Donna Criscenzo and the Committee to Save Goose Lane concerning aspects of the application.

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