Government

We’re writing not only about those municipal bodies that all local media outlets cover—New Canaan Board of Selectmen, Town Council, Department of Public Works—but also the Public Tree Board, Traffic-Calming Work Group, Parking Commission and Park & Recreation Commission.

Recent Articles

Baskin Robbins Earns High Marks on Unannounced Health Inspections

Baskin Robbins has earned an average score of 95.5 out of 100 on health inspections through the past nine years, records show. A fixture of Main Street in New Canaan, the candy and ice cream shop has scored 92 and higher through 16 unannounced inspections conducted by sanitarians with the New Canaan Health Department since October 2008, according to a review of the organization’s files at Town Hall. Sanitarians use a state Department of Public Health standard, citing eateries for violations that range in seriousness and corresponding weight from 1 to 4 points. A “failed” inspection is triggered either by one or more 4-point violations or a total score of less than 80 points. Owned by New Canaan resident and 1987 NCHS grad Anna Valente, employing a number of local teens and residents and site of the most-read NewCanaanite.com article of 2016, Baskin Robbins consistently has earned the equivalent of A’s and A+’s in its inspections (article continues below):

 

Officials in the health department said a score that consistently comes in at or near perfect is “optimal for any establishment.”

Speaking to such high scores generally and not to Baskin Robbins specifically, Sanitarian Carla DeLucia said it would the establishment is “without any four-point violations, without temperature violations and likely without any critical violations.”

“Sanitarians work to help food establishments maintain compliance and, as a result, New Canaan on the whole fares well on inspections,” DeLucia said. Continue Reading →

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Consultants’ Report on ‘Maple Street Burial Grounds’ Addresses Merritt Village Conditions

Though a tooth, coffin fragments and pieces of arm, finger, leg and pelvis bone turned up following an archeological study of the “Maple Street Burial Grounds,” the only bodies still buried there already have been identified, according to a new report. The body and coffin pieces speak to shoddy work in transferring 13 bodies long ago from the burial grounds to sites such as Lakeview Cemetery, and do not constitute current interments, two experts from a Westport-based archeological and historic structure consulting firm said in a report published last week. As such, construction of a new, 110-unit housing complex approved in November by the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission can proceed with a few basic protective measures, Cece Saunders and Dawn Brown of Historical Perspectives Inc. said in their Feb. 16 report. “The archaeological excavations confirmed the presence of three intact Law family burials, the historic removal of eleven Hoyt-Keeler family burials and the historic removal of two St. Continue Reading →

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‘I Will Not Be Harassed Nor Bullied’: Despite Acrimony, Town Council Votes To Create ‘Land Acquisition Fund’

Saying they felt bullied after fellow members of New Canaan’s legislative body took an unusual step to force a specific item onto their meeting agenda, two officers of the elected Town Council on Wednesday night abstained from voting on it. Ultimately, the Town Council voted 7-0 in favor of establishing a “land acquisition fund”—a state law-sanctioned vehicle that’s designed to allow New Canaan to purchase property and use it for open space, recreation or housing. Yet the Town Council’s secretary, Penny Young, and chairman, Bill Walbert, abstained from voting. Originally discussed in January after councilmen John Engel, Kevin Moynihan and Cristina A. Ross argued in favor of its immediate creation, the land acquisition fund item was to be taken up again in March, according to Young, under an agenda set by herself, together with Walbert and the Town Council’s vice chairman, Steve Karl. Under the Town Council’s own rules, if five members of the body sought to add it to the agenda for this month, they could have done so, according to Young. Continue Reading →

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‘It’s That Dire’: Town Pursues Backup Plan To Erect Standalone Cell Site by Water Towers at Waveny

Saying the owner of the Waveny water towers appears unwilling to renew leases with four wireless carriers whose antennas are perched atop one of them, town officials on Tuesday pursued a backup plan to erect a new standalone cell site in the same area. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to amend the town’s contract with a Danbury-based wireless solutions company so that it can design and build a tower or other infrastructure there that not only provides cell service to a wide swath of the town but also carries New Canaan’s primary radio transmitter for all emergency services. It appears that Aquarion, which owns the towers and the land they’re built on “has no appetite to renew” its leases with AT&T Wireless, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “This is the right and proactive approach that the town must take so that we are not caught in 2018 with not serving one-third of our community with cell service and the entire community with radio emergency,” he said. “It’s that dire.”

Flagged by town officials last summer and made public in September after Mallozzi and others worked for months to facilitate communications between the two parties, the threat that wireless service gear will come off of the water towers grows more real as time passes and the end of the carriers’ leases approach. Continue Reading →

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Town Council To Take Up Vote on Creation of ‘Land Acquisition Fund’; 54 Signatures on Petition Seeking Quicker Decision

The town’s legislative body is scheduled during its regular meeting Wednesday to take up a vote on the widely discussed question of whether New Canaan should establish a standing fund to tap for the acquisition of open space. Included on the Town Council’s Feb. 15 agenda (instead of next month’s) following the filing of a petition with 54 signatures, the “land acquisition fund” discussion had emerged during the group’s January meeting as a divisive topic among councilmen. Members of the Town Council on Jan. 18 voiced support generally for local open space preservation—in fact, the meeting itself saw the legislative body approve a special appropriation of $267,000 to help the New Canaan Land Trust acquire the Fowler property on Silvermine Road—but urged caution in setting up a fund without first establishing an updated, comprehensive plan to guide acquisitions that had received public input. Continue Reading →

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