Still Standing: Selectmen Forgo Vote on ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’ Demolition, Opening Question of Board’s Powers
After 90 minutes of debate and public comment at a tense meeting Tuesday, town officials ultimately decided to forgo voting on whether to approve contracts to demolish the “Mead Park Brick Barn” and remove its would-be contaminant-laden debris. By taking no action on a pair of proposed contracts—one for about $44,000 to raze what some call the “Richmond Hill Garage,” and another for about $9,000 to safely dispose of its remains—a divided Board of Selectmen effectively stalled the structure’s demolition.
After hearing from the public and echoing much of the same thinking they had voiced last month, the selectmen also opened up a new question about whether or not the Board is acting appropriately by forestalling a demolition already approved by other decision-making bodies in local government. “My problem is I think it is a nullification of the bodies that voted on this,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the Board’s regular meeting at Town Hall. Moynihan referred to the Town Council’s 6-6 vote in May—which he himself broke, as per the Town Charter—to include $65,00 to raze the Barn as part of a larger bonding package. After that, the town applied (to itself) to demolish the 1911-built structure on the northern edge of Mead Park, where Standard Oil’s horse-drawn delivery wagons used to fill containers for fuel delivery in New Canaan.