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

Parking Commission Upholds Two Tickets Issued to Downtown Employee

Parking officials last month upheld two tickets issued to an employee of a business downtown who had overstayed the time limit for on-street parking there. Maria Ju told members of the Parking Commission during her appeal hearing that she received two tickets about one week apart after overstaying in her space by about 10 minutes. “I was working at the ophthalmology office and I got stuck,” she said at the hearing, held July 12 at Town Hall. “We were busy in the office … I was with a patient and I could not get out, so I missed it by 10 minutes.”

Commissioner Peter Ogilvie noted that one of the office’s patients had also overstayed in his parking spot and was ticketed, and came before the panel seeking to have the ticket voided recently. Chairman Keith Richey told Ju that the Commission is “pretty much against employees of the shops along Main and Elm parking in the street.”

“We want them to park with a very cheap permit in the Center Lot, or parking in Morse Court and paying by the hour,” Richey said. Continue Reading →

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In Court Filing, Lukes Wood Road Homeowners Appeal Town’s Tax Assessment

The owners of a four-acre property on Lukes Wood Road last week filed papers with state Superior Court to appeal New Canaan’s valuation of their house and land. 

According to an amended complaint filed July 23 by New Canaan-based attorney JT Hoffman LLC on behalf of Rebecca and Ori Bukai of 260 Lukes Wood Road, the total appraised value of $3,576,300—upheld by the Board of Assessment Appeals in March—is “unreasonably excessive, disproportionate and unlawful.” 

The figure makes its assessed value about $2.5 million. The homeowners are “aggrieved” by the assessment and “provided” recent and relevant comparables and evidence demonstrating the real and current value of the subject property to be at or below $2 million. The property had been purchased last August for about $1,987,500, tax records show. It includes a 1996-built, 7,700-square-foot Colonial. Hoffman in the complaint calls for the valuation “to be reduced to 70 percent of its true, current and actual value.”

The town, assessor and Board of Assessment Appeals are listed as defendants, represented by Westport-based Berchem Moses PC, firm of Town Attorney Ira Bloom. Continue Reading →

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Neighbor Voices ‘Deep Concern’ Over Canaan Parish Redevelopment; P&Z Hearing Opens Tuesday

Though some of those behind a proposal to redevelop an apartment complex on Lakeview Avenue say its impact on nearby properties will be minimal, one neighbor of Canaan Parish is voicing what he called “deep concern” about the project. In a letter filed last week with Planning & Zoning, a Fitch Lane man who lives across Route 123 from Canaan Parish said that although officials with the New Canaan Housing Authority claim “that this area does not affect any residents, that is inaccurate.”

“Several homes from the Hoyt Farm neighborhood will look straight at this complex when the leaves are off the trees in the fall and winter,” Gregory Pepe said in his July 26 letter, part of the public file on an application for the redevelopment that will come before P&Z at its regular meeting Tuesday. “Our family home will have a direct eye level view of an apartment complex which will impact housing values. Canaan Parish existed long before us and I have no issue with that fact. However, replacing it with something far, far bigger and out of character with the town is not acceptable.”

Pepe also said that the proposed redevelopment appears to be five stories, not four, and urges P&Z not to “change or compromise current rules and regulations when it comes to height or density of housing as that becomes a slippery slope for future development, whether affordable housing or not.”

Those behind the proposal at Canaan Parish are seeking to create a new zone within the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to make the project possible. Named for the federally subsidized rental complex that’s stood at Lakeview and 123 for four decades, the “Canaan Parish Housing Zone” would allow the two organizations collaborating on the project to create 100 new units where 60 now stand. 

Specifically, Canaan Parish would be rebuilt with two L-shaped four-story buildings, according to an application filed this month with P&Z: one that replaces the 60 apartments now spread through 10 buildings and a second structure with 40 units built specifically to help New Canaan achieve relief in the future from a punitive state law. Continue Reading →

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Formal Objection to Demolition of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’ Filed; 90-Day Demo Delay Possible

Days after New Canaan’s highest elected official dismissed a bid to preserve a long-vacant town-owned structure on Richmond Hill Road, a resident seeking to stave off demolition has filed a formal objection to that end. Mimi Findlay, a founder of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, in a letter filed with the town’s chief building official, reviews the history of the “Mead Park Brick Barn” and makes a case for its historical and architectural significance. 

Under the Town Code, the volunteer Historical Review Committee will study the matter and, if that panel finds that the structure “is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan,” it can force a 90-day delay on the demolition from the date of the demo permit application. 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that application went into the town last week. 

The question of whether to demolish the building has come before the town in the past, and has stirred high emotion on both sides. The question of whether to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn—or “Richmond Hill Garage,” as it has been called—has divided the town for many years. Though the town did vote in favor of razing the building—records show that demolition permits had been issued in April 2009 and August 2010—doing so proved to be cost-prohibitive due to the need for asbestos and lead paint remediation, sending the estimated cost of demolition to about $400,000. Then a new, far smaller figure of $65,000 emerged during last budget season. Continue Reading →

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First Selectman: Police Building Ultimately Could Be Sold, Converted into Senior Housing

If a plan to purchase a building downtown to house both the New Canaan Police Department and Board of Education materializes, the town likely would look to sell NCPD headquarters on South Avenue for conversion into senior housing, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said last week. Opened in 1927 as the original New Canaan High School, the police headquarters could “become senior housing like the Schoolhouse Apartments, but not necessarily income-restricted,” Moynihan said Thursday during a briefing with local media, in response to a question from NewCanaanite.com. “We have talked to people already, developers” regarding such a project, Moynihan said. He added: “We want to monetize that building, not tear it down. Have it repurposed, probably for housing.”

Moynihan has said the town is “very interested” in purchasing an office building at Elm and Grove Streets for NCPD and the Board of Ed. Continue Reading →

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