John Conte Reflects on His Term as RHA President

Outgoing RHA president John Conte reflects on his experiences, contributions, and observations during his five-year tenure. Presiding over an exciting and, at times, challenging era for backcountry, he highlights why Round Hill is so special and what is needed to maintain its character.

I’ve been a dedicated member of the Round Hill Association for over 12 years, serving as its president for the last 5 years. My family and I have been proud residents of Greenwich our entire lives. I met my wife 42 years ago and we’ve been married for 40 happy years here in town. We’ve lived in several different neighborhoods in Greenwich throughout our lives and have had the pleasure of enjoying the special features and variety of them all.  We moved to our current home in the Round Hill area 16 years ago and it has been our favorite home location by far. 

Beyond my role in the RHA, my personal and professional ties to the community include owning and running our family businesses as a landscape architect running my design practice, Conte & Conte LLC, along with my wife and sons, who additionally run our construction firm, Fairfield House & Garden Company.  I’ve also found great joy in volunteerism and have served as vice chairman of the Greenwich Wetland Agency, currently as vice chairman of the architectural review committee, vice president of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, board member of Greenwich Green & Clean, and past board member of the Greenwich Audubon and the Greenwich Land Trust, among other non-profit boards. Raising a family here has been incredibly rewarding. The community’s support, the quality of education, and the amazing beauty of Greenwich’s neighborhoods including backcountry and coastal Greenwich, with so many activities, make it an ideal place for family life.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed Greenwich evolve significantly. While change is inevitable, much of it has been positive, thanks to the proactive efforts of our community members. One thing that has pleasantly surprised me is the passionate dedication of residents who willingly volunteer and get involved when common issues arise. We’ve faced pressures on backcountry development projects that threaten to diminish the nature of this very special backcountry’s open land setting. The resilience and unity of our community have been instrumental in navigating these challenges.

As president of the RHA, my proudest achievements include growing our membership, seeing the implementation of new programs that welcome residents, strengthening neighborhood bonds, holding forums with prominent political figures, and educating members on upcoming events, as well as staving off unwanted development projects that could threaten the tranquility of this special forested community. These

efforts showcase our collective power and commitment to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in the Greenwich backcountry.

We faced several challenges during my term, but the one that stands out most was when a developer sought to purchase a large historic parcel, one of Greenwich’s “great estates”  to develop over 27 cluster homes on a quiet and narrow scenic roadway. It would have not only created intense environmental pressures on the land, removed many mature trees, and demolished historically significant buildings, but it would also have set a tone for a dramatic change as an invitation to other developers who might seek to do the same. Navigating these challenges required diplomacy, persistence, and invaluable input and support from our community members who came together of one mind and generously supported the counter-effort to make it clear that this was not how residents wanted this land developed. The  outcome of this effort could not have been more positive. After the developer withdrew their plans when the community made its opposition clear, one of our neighbor members bought the parcel in its entirety and created an asset for the whole community to enjoy for generations to come, with open trails, public event opportunities, cultural and environmental learning classes, and the preservation of all the historic buildings. An almost fairy tale outcome that can happen when people come together in a common cause.

To those considering making the Round Hill area their home, welcome! You’re joining a vibrant, tightly-knit community. My advice is to get involved, whether through the RHA or other local initiatives. Your voice and contributions are valued here, and there’s no better way to feel at home than to be an active part of the community’s ongoing development and preservation.

I firmly believe that with continued vigilant stewardship and active community involvement, mid and back country Greenwich can maintain its bucolic charm. It’s about balancing development with preservation and ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same beauty and tranquility we do today.

Protecting the area’s attractive qualities requires ongoing attention to zoning laws, tree preservation, roadway maintenance, neighborhood beautification initiatives, and traffic islands and roadsides. Addressing these will demand not just the efforts of the RHA, but also the engagement and collaboration of town government and the entire community.

Having the opportunity to serve the RHA as its president has been an honor and an enriching experience beyond my wildest expectations. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. And I am forever thankful to the board and the membership at large for entrusting me with this duty. I look forward to serving our next president in any way that I can. The breadth of issues, interests, and opportunities that fall within the reach of the RHA never ceases to amaze me.  My thoughts go out to you all and I wish you all the very best!


John R. Conte

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