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

‘Telephone Co. Lot’ Parking Area Purchased by Abutting Property Owner

A New Canaan resident who owns two adjacent properties on Burtis Avenue is listed as the managing principal of a limited liability company that last week bought a parking lot behind what’s commonly called the ‘SNET Building’ at Cherry and Main Streets downtown. According to a property transfer recorded April 16 in the Town Clerk’s office, SNET dba Frontier sold 140 Main St./lot 2—listed as unimproved land—to Cherry Lot LLC for $625,000. Connecticut Secretary of the State records show that Robert Cuda of New Canaan is the managing principal of the purchasing LLC. He and his family own numbers 21 and 25 Burtis Ave. under different companies, according to local tax and state business records. Continue Reading →

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Public Buildings InfoSheet: Former Outback Teen Center

[Editor’s Note: The following has been prepared in advance of the “Forum on Public Buildings,” to be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. on April 26 at Town Hall (questions for panelists can be submitted here). Most of the information in the bullet points below is drawn from the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee report.]

Built: 2001
Square footage: 4,925
Current uses: Vacant
Committee recommendations: Renovate the building to house a new “alternative” New Canaan High School. Relevant articles: See links below. Perhaps no town-owned building in New Canaan has generated more news coverage and opinions on future use than the former Outback Teen Center, a 17-year-old structure wedged between the Playhouse and Town Hall parking lots. That news coverage has come in four waves since the Teen Center began to falter financially in earnest three years ago: first, as the organization’s board sought town support for a rejiggered program and then transferred ownership of the structure; second, as an area organization that serves developmentally disabled adults emerged with a proposed new use for the building (which didn’t pan out); third, when the Outback’s safety and physical viability was called into question; and finally, when the Board of Education proposed launching an “alternative” high school in it. Continue Reading →

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First Selectman: New Canaan Looking into Taking Disputed Valley Road Property by Eminent Domain

With talks stalled between the town and owners of a Valley Road home slated for demolition, New Canaan’s highest elected official said Thursday that the municipality is looking into taking the disputed property by eminent domain. Noting that the owner of 1124 Valley Road—Norwalk’s First Taxing District—has rejected the New Canaan Land Trust’s offer to purchase the 4-acre property, with its 18th Century home, for $1.2 million, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a media briefing that “we are looking into executing eminent domain as a town to take the property as open space.”

With authorization from New Canaan’s legislative body, the Town Council, the municipality would first negotiate on its own with the First Taxing District, Moynihan said during the briefing, held in his office at Town Hall. If those talks did not progress, the town would obtain two new appraisals of the parcel and start the eminent domain legal proceeding “soon,” in part because the conspicuous red-painted house there could be demolished as soon as May 13. “We are very disappointed that the Taxing District is doing what they are doing,” Moynihan said. “The key fact is they have admitted that they do not need it for public water company purposes. Continue Reading →

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Citing Past Concerns, Town Approves July 21 to Labor Day Season for Pop Up Park

Saying an originally requested two-month run was too long given opposition from some merchants and residents, New Canaan’s traffic authority on Tuesday night unanimously approved a July 21 to Labor Day (Sept. 3) summer season for the Pop Up Park at South and Elm downtown. Police Commissioner Paul Foley said that although he personally likes the Pop Up Park, a 9-week season starting July 4—what was formally proposed by the volunteer committee that runs it—would be “excessive” given the “outspoken” concerns of some business owners. “I like the concept of the park, I think it’s been fairly successful,” Foley said at the commission’s regular meeting, held in the New Canaan Police Department. “I just think closing it for two months is a bit excessive for everybody else who uses Elm Street and South Avenue. Continue Reading →

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Public Buildings InfoSheet: Vine Cottage

[Editor’s Note: The following has been prepared in advance of the “Forum on Public Buildings,” to be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. on April 26 at Town Hall (questions for panelists can be submitted here). Most of the information in the bullet points below is drawn from the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee report.]

Built: ca. 1860
Square footage: 2,334
Current uses: Occupied by the New Canaan Department of Human Services
Committee recommendations: Defer a decision on renovation until the future home of the Board of Ed is determined. How other town-owned spaces are used will help inform a decision on the best future home for Human Services. Relevant news articles: Owner: Future of ‘Red Cross Building’ Depends on What Town Does with Vine Cottage (January 2018), ‘They Need To Be Separate’: Town Officials Weigh Future of Human Services’ Vine Cottage Home (October 2017), Seeking Less Costly Option, Town Council Rejects $550,000 Renovation Project at Vine Cottage (March 2017)

With its sunny yellow facade, this large transitional high Victorian gothic revival/Queen Anne building is located next to our Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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