08/18/2006
PZC moves hearing on synagogue to Sept.
Michael Gannon , Register Staff

GUILFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission has continued the public hearing on its application to build a synagogue and community center until Sept. 20.
Chabad, a Lubavitch Jewish congregation, is seeking to relocate from Branford to 181 Goose Lane.

Several neighbors have been trying to have town officials turn down the special permit, saying the proposed building is too large for their residential neighborhood, and that some of the educational and social activities would create far more traffic than the neighborhood can handle safely.

Town Planner George Kral said Wednesday’s continuance was procedural in nature.

"Chabad has an application pending before the Inland Wetlands Commission, and Planning and Zoning cannot act until that has been heard," Kral said.

"The inland wetlands hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13. Our next meeting after that would be on Sept. 20."

A special permit is required of the Planning and Zoning Commission because the property is zoned residential. A house of worship is one of the uses allowed with a special permit.

A house on the 1.28-acre site would be demolished.

Neighbors fear that the potential for noise and increased traffic will harm the quality of life and their property values.

One letter, received by the town July 12 and signed by six residents, invites board members to look at the site from their properties in order to get a better idea of the potential effect.

Rabbi Yossi Yaffe of Chabad of the Shoreline has said Chabad wants to be a good neighbor.

He believes that most of the neighbors’ concerns are baseless, and that the congregation and its architect can work with them to alleviate anything that might pose a potential problem.

Michael Gannon can be reached at [email protected] or 458-5757.