Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

Gun safety

A reader recently complained that she’d ruled out Cognewaugh as a place to live after she encountered some kids, armed with pellet rifles, using a shooting range on the corner of the road. Here are my thoughts, as a certified hunter safety instructor for the state of Connecticut:

Careful training should obviate the need for (constant) adult supervision.

It seems as though proper training wasn’t performed if, as the reader reports, the young shooters were firing toward the road. On the other hand, if these kids were seen near the road but shooting away from it, with a proper backstop, I don’t see the problem. The mere sighting of a rifle shouldn’t be a cause for alarm – you just want to know who’s shooting it and what her training is. And that training is up to the parents. You don’t just present a kid with a rifle, even a pellet rifle, and set them loose. But there’s no reason a 12-year-old can’t be instructed in careful gun handling and, once so trained, set free to fire away. I have my issues with Cognewaugh, but the presence of some kids engaged in target practice isn’t one of them.


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You and your property values are being f**ked

Between the new regulation that will not let you regrade your property and FAR regulations that grow more stringent with every P&Z hearing and now lot coverage rules that further shrink the size of houses, the P&Z is creating a new version of the town, with teeny houses on very large lots. As an existing homeowner you may cheer that on, because it will prevent your neighbor from building a house larger than yours.

But resentment only goes so far – one day, you will want to sell your house, and you will then discover that buyers don’t want to live in cute bungalows – not at $3 – $5 million, anyway. Your home will have the value of a Havemeyer cape. Nothing wrong with that, of course, unless you were planning to finance part of your retirement on your house proceeds. If you were, you’re screwed. And it’s getting worse.

It’s an odd situation: we’ve passed all authority over our land use to a handful of middle-brow land planners and some retired folks who have already cashed out on their holdings. They have a vision of land use that will cut your property value in half, yet no one is challenging them, primarily because almost no one in town can see what they are up to. Time to wake up.


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Here’s a frustrating (for me) sale

26 Marks Rd

This Riverside house was a no-brainer: decent street, 0.62 acres in the R-12 zone, any builder should have been able to see its potential, but while I tried, I couldn’t get my guy’s attention. It started at $2.950 which was ridiculous, of course, but sold for $1.6. Darn.


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9 Spring Street, Riverside, asked $2.150, has a contract in 15 days.

20 Greenbriar (off of Round Hill) 288 DOM, asked $3.150, under contract.

25 Shore Acre, Old Greenwich, 274 DOM, was asking $1.945. Owners “won” it in a bidding war back in 2005 for $1.895.


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The benefits of being a rat

Real estate developer Richard Girourard’s accomplice gets one day in jail. Mr. Girouard himself is presently doing 30 months. The two men, plus a Hartford lawyer, cooked up a scheme to pick up distressed loans owned by Fleet Bank for cheap. The sad thing, I thought, was that Girourard was an excellent builder. If you live in that new house on Bramble or in one of the three on Lockwood Avenue in Old Greenwich, then you know this. Greed does funny things.

UPDATE: History here, if you’re interested.


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