Greenwich Reform Synagogue (GRS), a Reform Jewish congregation serving the Greenwich community for over 35 years, was given unanimous approval by the Town of Greenwich Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency (IWWA) Feb. 3 for its plans to construct its new home in Cos Cob. The building will be only the second purpose-built synagogue constructed in the town’s 374-year history.

All seven members of the IWWA board voted in favor of the GRS plans for the property’s wetlands, drainage requirements, and other site-specific issues relevant to the agency’s mission. The board members said that their outstanding questions were answered and that the plans, in some instances, exceeded the town requirements.

“We’re proud of the plan that we put together, because we believe that it protects the wetlands both on and off the site and responsibly develops the property,” said GRS Board Chairman Robert Birnbaum. “It reflects our commitment to being good neighbors and our concern for the environment.”

The IWWA recognized that the GRS plan surpassed the minimum storm drainage and water detention requirement for a 50-year storm event. The Town of Greenwich Drainage Manual only required GRS to comply with a drainage and water detention plan for a 25-year storm event.

Included in the approved GRS plan is a green roof, covering a portion of the synagogue; it will have plants and other vegetation to help absorb and treat rainwater.

GRS has filed plans with the Town of Greenwich to build its synagogue on a 1.75-acre site on Orchard Street in Cos Cob. The building will be 2.5 stories, housing a sanctuary, classrooms, and offices in approximately 12,300 square feet.

Architectural firm Mark B. Thompson Associates LLC is designing the building. The firm’s principal, Mark Thompson, is a former Greenwich resident and has designed numerous well-received buildings in Greenwich, including the Perrot Library Radcliffe Children’s Wing, First Presbyterian Church, and the Boys & Girls Club.

The synagogue location is close to Central Middle School, Greenwich Baptist Church, the Cos Cob Community Center at Bible Street and the Montgomery Pinetum.  Like almost all of the houses of worship in Greenwich, it’s located in a convenient residential area.

About Greenwich Reform Synagogue (www.grs.org)

Greenwich Reform Synagogue was founded in 1976. GRS provides a flexible, progressive environment for prayer, study, celebration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays and for all life cycle events. GRS’s mission is to be a spiritual home that is welcoming to all, and to connect the congregation through friendship, tradition, community and love. GRS is a member synagogue of the Union for Reform Judaism.


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