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

Parks Officials by 6-0 Vote Back Garden Club’s Plan for ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

Parks officials on Wednesday night voted unanimously in support of a longstanding nonprofit organization’s plan to redesign, re-plant and otherwise improve a prominent garden at Waveny. The New Canaan Garden Club’s plan for the “parterre garden”—located east of the balcony of Waveny House (down that first set of stairs, en route to the sledding hill)—is “timeless and classic” and “engages both visually and physically,” according to Tori Frazer, a member of the organization’s Waveny Walled Garden Committee. “This has always been a formal garden,” Frazer told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “We intend for it to stay a formal garden. All the plantings and the plans are classic and will stand the test of time.”

The commission voted 6-0 in support of the plan. Continue Reading →

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Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee Unveils Its Recommendations [IUPDATED]

Members of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee—which for the past eight months has been looking for ways to make more efficient and cost-effective use of town-owned facilities—presented its draft report to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. Among the recommendations included in the group’s massive 91-page report (available here in full) are moving the Board of Education offices from the current leased space on Locust Avenue to a town-owned facility—preferably the second floor of Waveny House or the main house at Irwin Park; using former Outback Teen Center building for an alternative high school program; renovating the Police Department building; razing the Richmond Hill garage; using the three-bay garage at Irwin Park as additional space for the Public Works Department; and developing policies for the storage of documents and other items in town buildings, among other recommendations. “The idea here is to look at where we might find some savings—or, if not, lower costs, moving forward—by optimizing the use of our buildings,” committee co-chair and Board of Finance member Amy Carroll said during the special meeting. “That’s what really drove this whole analysis. In tough times, [the Board of Finance] going to go through every department and say, ‘Please sharpen your pencils, what can we do better?’ It seems to me that from a town perspective, we should be saying, ‘How can we do better with our own buildings?’ ”

With regard to the general cost of the committee’s recommendations, which is still largely yet to be determined, Carroll said: “Yankee frugality is awesome—in that you don’t spend too much—but sometimes it might be penny wise and pound foolish. Continue Reading →

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Officials Recommend Raising ‘Fee-in-Lieu’ Parking Rates for Commercial Projects Downtown

Saying New Canaan’s rates lag other towns and haven’t been upped in years, officials are recommending that the town raise its fees for those seeking to pay money into a parking fund in lieu of providing the required number of spaces for commercial construction projects. A committee of the Planning & Zoning Commission proposed at its most recent meeting that the baseline fee for the first “fee-in-lieu” space go up from $17,500 to $20,000, with increases in other categories to follow. “We have seen some resistance at $17,500 but I think it would not seem unreasonable to me to bump it a little bit this year,” Jean Grzelecki of the Plan of Conservation & Development Implementation Committee said at the group’s most recent meeting, held Nov. 28 at Town Hall. Going to $20,000 “seems pretty reasonable,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Officials To Recommend Creation of Town-District Combined ‘Task Force’ To Determine Future Home of Board of Education [CORRECTED]

New Canaan should appoint a task force of town and school district representatives to evaluate what are the best options for a future Board of Education home, according to a primary recommendation committee that’s writing a soon-to-be-released report on the state, uses, capital needs and future of municipally owned buildings. Referring to the former Outback Teen Center as the ‘Town Hall annex,’ the committee also is to recommend that the long-vacant structure be used to house an alternative high school program. The Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee also will recommend that New Canaan “provide funds for architectural engineering designs to address long-delayed, necessary capital improvements at the police station,” co-chairman Amy Murphy Carroll said at the group’s most recent meeting, held Nov. 29 at Town Hall. She read from the Executive Summary of a draft report that’s expected to be presented this month to the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Town Council. Continue Reading →

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‘The Gramercy of New Canaan’: New Building with 8 Residential Units Planned for Vitti Street

The town this week received an application to build a new mixed-use building on a vacant .56-acre Vitti Street lot. The new construction proposed for 23 Vitti St.—dubbed ‘The Gramercy at New Canaan’ on building plans—will include eight residential units and three tenant spaces for office use, according to a permit application filed Monday. A permit for the commercial building that used to stand there, a dry cleaning business, had been issued in April. Sold for $1,525,000 in February 2016, the property is owned by a limited liability company whose principal is a New Canaan man, according to records on file with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. The second floor will include two-bedroom and two-bathroom units at 1,295, 1,573, 981 and 1,355 square feet, the application said. Continue Reading →

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