Letter: Cos Cob Resident 'Deeply Concerned' About Synagogue Proposal

By Susan Whitaker Capparelle


As a Cos Cob resident I am writing to express my deepest concern about Greenwich Reform Synagogue's proposed development on Orchard Street in Cos Cob.

The 20,000 sq ft project that includes plans for 100 parking spaces, a sanctuary, social hall  a chapel, a warming kitchen, approximately ten classrooms a board room, four offices and more is certainly not the right development for this densely packed residential neighborhood.  Residents are up in arms and rightly so considering the devastating implications for increased traffic, noise, lights, wetland destruction.  The fact that, for reasons unknown, many have only just found out about the project makes its proposal all the more upsetting.

Those concerned should come to the next P&Z meeting Tuesday, November 27 at 7 pm.

Susan Whitaker Capparelle
Cos Cob, CT

anthony giapado November 28, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Sarah- I see you are a writer, not just of novels but you write for www.ctnewsjunkie.com. Interesting how you recently wrote a VERY negative article about Mitt Romney's loss in the elections and you basically ripped apart the Republicans..yet you thought nothing of asking your LOCAL Republican officials to defend your position on the GRS issue at the town hall meeting tonight. You are a total self serving hypocrite. It's similar to your comments about your being a practicing Jew and how this isn't about religion (and personally, I don't think it is) yet your novel is entitled "CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC." Make up your mind- you are disgraceful.
Mike Infante November 29, 2012 at 08:05 PM
In the interest of full disclosure, I submit that I’ve known the Caravellas for quite some time; if you’re reading this the chances are that you have also. A great deal of ink has already been spilt on the proposed merits (or apocalyptic consequences) of Cos Cob’s incorporation of the Greenwich Reform Synagogue (GRS) and I hold out little hope that my opinion will change yours. Personally, I am very surprised by the hardline characterization of Cos Cob as strictly “residential” community, as this has never been my experience. Nearly 20 years ago my family moved here from Brooklyn in search of great public schools and in fear perhaps, of an utterly unfamiliar landscape (as if to emphasize the point our address was to be “Suburban” Avenue) and the reputedly austere New England manner. We found our concerns to be unfounded however, as we were welcomed to an open and diverse community with a sense of cohesion and local pride, that I’d argue to be the envy of Greenwich’s many “boroughs.” We arrived to find Cos Cob as it is and always has been; a vibrant amalgam of civic, commercial, residential and yes, religious institutions.
Mike Infante November 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Growing up between Cos Cob School and Cos Cob Library I spent summers playing in the shelter of our school’s cul-de-sac and passed afterschool evenings amongst the wealth of children’s books available in our library. I walk to play tennis at Lockland Avenue and bocce at Bible Street, I walk to some of Connecticut’s best short-order restaurants and if ever there was a fire I could call Cos Cob Station without even the benefit of a phone! My house is utterly engulfed by non-residential establishments, it has no private lake or half-mile driveway but I wouldn’t trade it for any backcountry mansion you’d offer me. Cos Cob is not a population cluster of woodsy seclusion, even if a vocal minority might prefer that it were. Cos Cob (neither a city nor a town) is a community in the most literal sense of the word. If it turns out that inclusion of a house of worship, is in someway antithetical to the “fabric” of this community then I confess I’m not so sure what that fabric is made of. Regrettably, I’ve taken to wondering about that a lot lately.
Mike Infante November 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Later this week Cos Cob will hold it’s first annual Winter’s Eve Festival. The festival, described as a “community building event” founded to “give back” and “support the needs of our community” has been made possible by the tireless efforts and unheralded generosity of Randy and his wife Kim. Meanwhile the anti-GRS effort is engaged in an ill-conceived local boycott (as if this lost business would somehow diminish his imperative to sell) and a campaign of public slander, the contents of which will not be dignified by duplication in this space. In a rush to judgment and submission to the type of mob mentality that represents the very worst of small town America, many opponents of the GRS transaction have reverted to a pettiness unbecoming of a thoughtful and organized citizenry.
Mike Infante November 29, 2012 at 08:07 PM
To be clear, I am a supporter of the GRS in Cos Cob, but I am also a supporter of the right to dissenting opinion, of assembly and community action. It is cruelty and fickleness, hostility and small-minded mudslinging by which I cannot abide. Between Randy and his father Lou (a man who has literally dedicated his life to Cos Cob) the Caravellas have been serving the community for 60 years now. Instrumental in countless charitable endeavors, unwaveringly magnanimous and fiercely loyal to the neighborhood, you’d have thought them entitled to benefit of the doubt. It turns out you’d be mistaken. As long time friends and neighbors make clear their priority: “what have you done for me lately,” those purportedly concerned with traffic have gridlocked the low road to its shoulders. In all this conjecture and rhetoric there has been a lot of talk about the “true nature” of Cos Cob. The conversation has been incredibly revealing.


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