An Amended Complaint has been filed in the case against the Madison Beach Hotel and the town of Madison by the Hotel’s neighbors. The amendment details the fact that the Hotel continues to expand and extend commercial non-conforming uses in violation of Madison Zoning Regulations despite the fact that the Hotel remains a non-conforming use in a Residentially Zoned District following the Courts ruling that the creation of the so called West Wharf Commercial District was illegal.
Madison Zoning Regulations provide in Section 12.3 that “no non-conforming use shall be extended or expanded” Yet the Hotel has both extended its non-conforming uses to additional parcels of land and expanded non-conforming uses beyond those that preexisted the Zoning Regulations.
The Hotel has extended its commercial operations to other properties including the Grassy Strip, Church Lane, the public West Wharf Beach and various parking locations beyond the Hotel premises. The Hotel conducts wedding hall events, catered parties, outdoor movies, and concerts. At those events the Hotel provides food and beverages including alcohol for a profit. Each of these properties is within a Residentially Zoned District where such commercial uses are not permitted.
The Hotel has expanded its non-conforming uses beyond those that preexisted the Zoning Regulations in violation of Section 12.3 of the Madison Zoning Regulations. Expanded non-conforming uses include: The operation of a Spa; The operation of a Gym and Fitness Center; the operation of an outdoor movie theater; the operation of a catering business; the performance of outdoor concerts on the Grassy Strip; and the operation of a Wedding Event Venue. None of these uses are permitted uses in a residentially zoned district in accordance with section 3.2 of the Madison Zoning regulations and none of them preexist the adoption of the Madison Zoning regulations. Accordingly, each of these expanded non-conforming uses is barred by section 12.3 of the Madison Zoning Regulations.
“We are very unhappy that the Hotel continues to behave as though it owns West Wharf Park and Beach and can do as it pleases despite the ruling of the Court declaring that the creation of West Wharf Commercial Zoning District was illegal and void”, said Emile Geisenheimer, one of the Plaintiffs. Mr. Geisenheimer went on to say “It is shocking to us that Madison Town officials including Mr. Banish, the new First Selectman, refuse to enforce the zoning laws that are so blatantly being violated by the Hotel. After all, the zoning laws are meant to protect everyone and every other property owner is compelled to comply with them. Why not the Hotel?”
Cecilia Pfister, another plaintiff in the matter, said “The Hotel is not just breaking the law, it is causing real harm by reducing public access to the West Wharf Park and Beach, reducing the quality of life in the neighborhood and adversely affecting property values. The concerts cause excess traffic, parking problems and excess noise.
As many as 30 catered outside events on the West Wharf Beach, Church Lane and the Grassy Strip in a short summer season greatly disrupt the use of the park and the Beach by the general public. Weddings are particularly disruptive because they are multiday events that usually include photo sessions on the Beach, ceremony on the Beach and Church lane, heavy catering and music. The public is understandably uncomfortable about using the Park during these events and there have been occasions when Madison residents have been asked to relocate from the public Beach to accommodate a wedding event. Catering trucks park on Church Lane and block Beach access. The out door movies also block Church Lane which is a neighborhood access way to the West Wharf Public Beach. The outdoor movies also create light pollution adding to the light pollution created by the Hotel itself.”
For these reason, in addition to other relief, the Amended Complaint asks the Court to grant an injunction to stop these illegal activities.