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Weston P&Z favors country club’s bubble dome plan

The Aspetuck Valley Country Club wants to put up seasonal tennis “bubble dome” enclosures like this one, over two tennis courts.

The Aspetuck Valley Country Club wants to put up seasonal tennis “bubble dome” enclosures like this one, over two tennis courts.

Although no official vote was taken, a sense of the Weston Planning and Zoning Commission is they will approve a proposal to install temporary “bubble domes” over two tennis courts at the Aspetuck Valley Country Club on Old Redding Road.

Attorney Peter Romano presented the club’s plan at a public hearing to modify the club’s special permit on Monday, Dec. 3.

Mr. Romano said the club would like to install airframe tension structures, also known as  bubble domes, over two tennis courts from Oct. 15 through April 15 in order to allow use of the courts during cold weather. The courts would be used in the open during summer months.

The proposed bubble domes would be made out of heavy hunter green colored cloth material that would cover the courts so they could be played on in the winter. There would be some noise from a generator, likened to the sound of a lawnmower.

Th tennis courts have yet to be built, but they are part of a plan approved by P&Z in 2009.

Mr. Romano initially said the height of the bubble domes would be 40 feet at the apex. When the commission told him the maximum building height allowed in the zoning regulations is 30 feet, Mr. Romano agreed to a 30-foot height limitation.

Objection

Commissioner Stephan Grozinger, who was acting as chairman in the absence of chairman Jane Connolly, told Mr. Romano that P&Z had received an objection to the dome from a neighbor, Ben Roberts, who said he could see the proposed tennis court area from his home and viewing the domes would interfere with the value and enjoyment of his property.

Mr. Romano produced a map showing that Mr. Roberts’ home is 526 feet from the tennis court area and that it does have a direct view of the courts. He said Carolyn Kepcher, the club’s general manager, had reached out to neighbors to explain the plan and other than Mr. Roberts, there were no objections raised.

The club’s landscape architect, Wesley Stout, said there are a considerable number of buffer plantings that were specified on the original special permit in 2009 which still need to be done and they will conceal the domes from view when planted.

He said various trees and grasses have not yet been planted because the tennis courts have not been constucted and vehicles would be driving in the area where the plantings will go.

The commission determined that the club had five years to comply with the terms of the special permit which required the buffer plantings, and because there were still two years to go, the club is not in violation of its original special permit. Mr. Romano said the commission could require a bond from the club for the plantings it has any concerns.

The commissioners gave their thoughts on the plan and a sense of the meeting was unanimously positive to approve the temporary bubble domes with a number of conditions.

The commission will further discuss the plan and vote on it at its next meeting, Monday, Dec. 17.

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