Ice-skating rink is the latest sports amenity for a Greenwich estate

GREENWICH — The tennis courts, swimming pools and even a baseball field that grace some private estates in Greenwich are about to be one-upped by the latest sports amenity: A private ice skating rink is coming to a backcountry home.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved a request from homeowners Adam and Sarah Dolder to create a 100-foot-long ice rink on their property on the 400 block of Round Hill Road. Construction of a pool house and a locker-room facility are also part of their plan. A Zamboni, a vehicle used to smooth the ice, will also be stored on the site.

The special permit was required due to the volume of construction at the property, which also includes a residence. The 8,000-square-foot home on the 7-acre property was built in 2018.

Bret Holzwarth, a civil engineer with Stamford-based land-use experts Redniss & Mead, told the planning commissioners that the design would aim for the feeling of “a New England-style backyard,” not an “institutional” ice-skating rink. He noted that the property is a large one, with 7 acres of land, and the nearest neighboring home from the new construction is 300 feet away. The lighting on the rink will be similar to the kind used on tennis courts, Holzwarth said.

Chairwoman Margarita Alban said the proposal did not appear likely to bother neighbors, but she said limits had to be applied for the new construction. “We want people to enjoy their property,” she said at a recent hearing, but the commission had to establish clear and consistent guidelines for the rink.

The backyard ice rink, while unusual, is not the first one to be approved by the town. In 2008, the planning commission approved hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen’s request to build an ice rink on his Crown Lane estate, a 14-acre site he purchased for $14 million in the late 1990s.

The commission established a set of conditions for the new ice rink on Round Hill Road: no organized sports teams, no professional events, family and friends only, no music or amplified sound system, and no lights after 10 p.m.

The commission approved the proposal and requested that the Architectural Review Committee work with the homeowners on the lighting. There were no public comments during the meeting on the application, which also required site-plan approval.

While tennis courts, basketball courts and large pools are common athletic features on large properties in Greenwich, there are also driving ranges, horse paddocks and in one recent case, a softball diamond, in use on private residential properties. The planning and zoning commission attached a series of conditions to a softball diamond on Clapboard Ridge Road, which had been built without necessary permits.