As Chabad of Greenwich seeks to expand kindergarten, P&Z scans traffic on Mason Street


GREENWICH – As Greenwich’s Chabad Lubavitch seeks to increase enrollment of kindergarten students, the Planning and Zoning Commission said it will take a thorough look at traffic and access to the Mason Street educational facility .

According to its plan, the nonprofit religious and educational organization would add a kindergarten classroom on the second floor and admit 12 more children to the program. The operation is currently approved for 56 young learners, and it is now seeking to enroll a total of 68 young people, according to Thomas Heagney, the attorney representing Chabad in the application.

Heagney told P&Z commissioners on Thursday that Chabad had sought to move its operations to the site of the former Carmel Academy on Lake Street and expand its educational offerings there.

But relocation projects, he said, “continue to become bogged down in litigation.” The sale was blocked by a neighborhood group, and Chabad withdrew its candidacy to open in Lake Street earlier this year.

In addition to adding the kindergarten program, Chabad is looking to move a play area, which is now near Mason Street, to the back of the building at 6 Lincoln Ave.

The playground is “in a very exposed corner,” Heagney said, and moving it away from a busy road inland would be a safety upgrade.

The plan also calls for the creation of a one-way entry and exit model in the driveway, which has already been implemented on a trial basis.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, which has always paid close attention to traffic on Mason Street, said traffic will be the problem as the review process continues. President Margarita Alban said she plans to visit the site to see how traffic moves through the area at the start and end of the school day.

“You can drop by anytime,” said Maryashie Deren, the educational director.

School staff come by van from Brooklyn, NY, Heagney said, minimizing the number of parking spaces needed at the site.

Commissioner Nick Macri suggested that signs be posted to inform motorists of traffic at the school.

Additional review will continue on the app in the coming weeks. Deren asked for a quick review — a number of families are eager to enroll their children in kindergarten, she said.

“We will do our best to make it happen,” Alban said.

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