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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Town Approves Smaller Kogan Mansion

GREENWICH, Connecticut -- Russian millionaire Valery Kogan has won unanimous approval from planning commissioners for a mansion with 15 bathrooms and a winter garden featuring statues that may resemble "guitar gods" after reducing the size of the proposed house from 3,700 square meters to 1,950.

The house in Greenwich, Connecticut, required a special permit because of its total volume of 13,200 cubic meters. The proposed home is within the town's limit of 2,500 square meters.

"There is something intangibly wrong with this application," said Commissioner Frank Farricker, before voting to approve it because the Kogans had modified their plans to comply with town regulations.

Commissioner Margarita Alban said she wished that there were regulations to preserve historic landscapes. She asked the Kogans to consider a plan that would be more in harmony with its environment.

Kogan, chairman of Eastline Group, which operates Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, also has sought to build a large mansion in Caesaria, Israel, on the Mediterranean coast, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last year. The Kogans' representatives at last week's hearing declined to be identified or comment. The Kogans did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Kogan and his wife modified an original plan for a much larger house with 26 toilets that was rejected by town planners in a 3-2 vote in May. It would have been the largest single-family home built in the Connecticut town since it began reviewing plans in 2001.

The Kogans bought the site in 2005 for $18 million and have said they planned to raze the 1,750-square-meter structure located there.

Two neighborhood associations, the Northeast Greenwich Association and Round Hill Association, also opposed the new house, saying it was part of a trend of "mega-mansions" that threatens the quality of life in the wealthy New York City suburb.

According to statements by the commissioners and Kogan's architect during a January hearing, the millionaire added to his plans an indoor pool in the basement and a gym totaling more than 100 square meters. The basement also would feature a theater seating 12, a billiards room, game room, massage room and wine cellar.

The plans include fiber optics that arch into an outdoor swimming pool. The house is to have a patio shaped like an electric guitar and a winter garden with four statues that may represent the four elements, seasons, senses or four "guitar gods," according to notes in the plans. The septic system would be large enough for 480 people, twice the size required by law.

"It would appear to be designed with the aim of entertaining large numbers of people," Commissioner Raymond Heimbuch told architect Richard Granoff, who designed the house, at the January hearing.

"Why would anyone in a private residence who wasn't planning on massive entertainment want 15 toilets?" Commissioner Frederic Brooks asked at the time.

The Kogans "just like big spaces," Granoff answered at the January hearing. "There is a bathroom for each bedroom, and then there are powder rooms convenient to every part of the house."

In an effort to assuage commissioners and residents, the Kogans modified the plans by pushing the house back on the lot and sought to cover a lit rotunda to shield neighbors from ambient light, according to planning documents.