Some Voice Opposition to Proposed Ban of Thin Plastic Bags; Town Legislators To Meet Wednesday

Saying it’s punitive, unnecessary and unsanitary and represents government overreach, some New Canaan residents are voicing opposition to a proposed ban on thin plastic bags at local shops. 

Though members of New Canaan’s legislative body say most constituents who have lodged their opinions in formal letters are in favor a single-use plastic bag ban, others have been critical of the proposal. Jeanne Russo in a letter to the Town Council said that such bans often have “unintended negative results.”

“Expecting senior citizens or lower income families to buy reusable bags, so some in our community can feel good about themselves by ‘doing their part,’ is unfair and wrong,” Russo wrote. “You represent all members in our community, not just the ones with loud voices.”

Town resident Nicole Busby said that while she’s in favor of people bringing reusable bags with them to local shops, she’s opposed to an outright ban on plastic bags because “it’s an overreach of government.”

Scott Hobbs in a letter to the Council said that while single-use plastic bags may seem wasteful, “they are all sanitary.”

“Recycled bags frequently get contaminated from use with food and most people do not properly maintain them,” he said. “In addition, if you look at the chemicals, water and time involved in properly maintaining the reusable bags, it is likely that they cost more and are at least closer to as harmful to the environment. Please do not pass such a resolution.”

The comments come as the Town Council Bylaws and Ordinance Committee considers draft legislation (see it here in full) that would prohibit retailers from supplying double-handled carryout bags to customers.

Town Upholds $30 Ticket for Woman Who Parked Against Bike Rack on Elm

Town officials last month voted unanimously to uphold a $30 ticket for a Wilton woman who parked against a bike rack downtown and then claimed that there were no lines in the roadway indicating she couldn’t do that. Told that a temporary line already had been painted around the bike rack at Elm Street and South Avenue when she parked there on the afternoon of Oct. 25, Katherine Cornbrooks said to members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting that “there was no line.”

“There was nothing drawn,” she said during her Jan. 10 appeal hearing at Town Hall. “It was all scraped away.

Town Seeks To Enforce Rules About Keeping Downtown Sidewalks Clear

Seeking to ensure that downtown sidewalks are clear for pedestrians, officials said last week that a Planning & Zoning officer could be assigned to enforce local rules. Under the Town Code, items such as benches, tables, chairs, signs or commercial displays cannot obstruct sight lines or pedestrian passage on sidewalks. Though the town allows for “certain things that are considered good,” merchants sometimes take advantage by going too far, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “It’s nice to have bench and put a table out there, but four chairs around it as a display case in front of the building, it’s a little too much,” Mann said during a Jan. 29 meeting of a Planning & Zoning Commission subcommittee.