Facing Zoning Violations for Parking Arrangement, Longtime Resident Seeks To Sell Family RV

Since he purchased a Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite recreational vehicle in 1987, town resident Willie Blue and his family have visited each of the contiguous United States.

Willie Blue, a New Canaan resident for more than a half-century, is selling or seeking to donate to a good cause the RV that he and his family have used to travel throughout the United States on holidays. Credit: Michael Dinan

The 33-foot RV logged some 120,000 miles through years that Blue recalled with a smile on a recent morning, and the vehicle itself remains in very good condition—with a 2001-installed motor and well-maintained interior.

Returning home with his wife and four kids through those years—as they moved up from Center School and then South School, to Saxe and New Canaan High School—Blue would park the RV behind the garage of the modest Hoyt Street ranch-style house he purchased in 1972.

Then two years ago, the Summer Street antique that backed up to his property was purchased, demolished and replaced by two new townhouses, and the developer told Blue that the RV was an eyesore.

Understanding, Blue re-parked the RV alongside his garage, and officials told him that it needed to be covered, so he purchased a $2,400 canopy cover for it.

Yet though (mostly) covered, the vehicle juts forward of the house itself, into a front yard setback, and appears to sit in a sideyard setback, too, prompting town officials to issue a “Zoning Fine Warning Notice” that could see him penalized $150 per day.

Now 72 and (mostly) retired from the Master Cleaning Service business he launched not long after arriving in New Canaan in 1963, Blue said he is eager to sell (for $8,000, though he’ll come down to $5,000) or—if he finds a worthy and willing charity—donate his well-used RV.

“I wanted to get it fixed so I could either give it to my daughter, because she’s in Oklahoma, or sell it,” the Alabama native told NewCanaanite.com. “I tried to give it to a church, tried to give it to Feed the Children, tried to give it as a donation. What they want is, if I sell it, then give them the money. But they have no place to store it.”

The RV runs and though it needs brakes and a muffler, Blue said, “There is nothing major wrong with it.

“I have got all the papers,” he said.

Blue is known to scores of locals as he continues to work for the New Canaan Field Club, New Canaan Library and “a couple of churches here in town,” he said.

“I used to do a lot of work for residents but I don’t do as many any more since I had a hip replacement,” Blue said.

Blue said his four children— Edward, Portia, Marilyn and Christine—all are grown, that the RV has served his own family well and he would like to see the vehicle land somewhere where it will get good use.

“I really loved to travel,” Blue said of his family outing days. “We have been in every state in the United States. We have been all around. When the kids were small, we really enjoyed it.”

He added: “I think it’s too good to junk. I really think it’s worth more than to just junk it. If I can get something out of it or give it to somebody who could use it, rather than taking it to the dump for them to tear apart.”

Mr. Blue can be reached at 203-952-9038 for those interested in inquiring about the RV.

22 thoughts on “Facing Zoning Violations for Parking Arrangement, Longtime Resident Seeks To Sell Family RV

  1. Mr. Blue should have a Go Fund Me page. I am sure he could easily raise the amount he wants to get for his Rv.

    • I should underscore here that Mr. Blue’s choices are between junking the RV or trying to sell it, though I never got a sense that there’s some pressing need for the money it would fetch—it’s a solid vehicle with great memories, and he would prefer to see it used and enjoyed.

  2. Wondering if the complaining neighbor acted “neighborly” and reached out to Blue directly to see if a resolution could be achieved or was it their intent to just go the “legal and punitive” approach first?

    • In this case, the complainant did go directly to Mr. Blue to have the RV moved out from behind the garage. However, once it was conspicuous from the street, complaints surfaced and that prompted the town to advise him about covering it, etc. There was a situation around the corner a year or so ago with a longtime East Avenue resident whose fence had partially fallen where a neighbor went directly to P&Z with a complaint instead of addressing it directly with the homeowner, and that was unfortunate. I will say that in both instances, the town officials who fielded the complaints have been responsive and respectful to all parties, seeking a good resolution all around.

  3. I drove down Hoyt yesterday. It’s unfortunate that this is the battle zoning chooses to pick. The home loooks well maintained, and to me she RV shoes nothing more than a lover of travel lives there. The house next to it, however, is the one that should be getting attention. Junk all over the yard and porch, sometimes a boat and other random vehicles, and next to a playground of all things. Not exactly what you want to look at when playing with the kiddos

    • It’s not “the battle zoning chooses to pick”—once a complaint comes in from a resident, the town is required to respond to it. In this case, the response (i.e., noting the setback violations) clearly is in line with New Canaan’s regulations. If you want to be upset with someone that all of this has resulted in an uneasy situation for Mr. Blue, be upset with the complainant or complainants. Keep in mind that the citation letter mentioned in the article had been issued last summer, threatening the prospect of a fine though Mr. Blue has not been fined to this point. My strong sense is that the town wants to see this resolved in a way that favors the complainant (the RV goes) as well as Mr. Blue (he incurs no unwanted costs), and though it’s a legal requirement that officials follow up when neighbors complain, I have never known P&Z to do anything but right by residents such as Mr. Blue. Far as I can tell, that holds in this case, too. I have no comment on the home to the north of Mr. Blue’s, except to say that it also appears to have been in the same family for many, many decades. It also is the house that the late Tommy Sirico—WWII veteran and NCHS baseball and basketball standout as well as regular and anchor of the Dunkin Donuts morning crowd for many years—was born and grew up in with his siblings during the Great Depression.

    • Jackie S. Glad you are the neighborhood “Junk” patroller … seriously, making fun of another’s property in New Canaan shows snobbery at it’s finest. Think of the residents in that home that you just embarrassed. I know them and they are good people. Maybe helping them get rid of their “stuff” might be a better approach than calling them out on this website.
      Mr. Blue is a genuine good guy. I am sorry to see him forced to get rid of his camper. I only hope the person who gets this camper (if any) will be able to create the same memories with their family like he did.

      • Thank you Karen. Jackie knows nothing about my situation with my house and just likes to start trouble with people who just mind their own business and work very hard for the little dollars they earn. New Canaan is not like it used to be with people like Jackie living here and giving this town a bad reputation.

    • I am at the house next door to Mr. Blue and the stuff on my porch is a grill some chairs ect. Not junk and the cars in my drive are owned and registered to me and my family. Who are you to say how many cars I can own?

    • Do you even live on Hoyt street? Everyone in this little neighborhood of streets are very friendly to each other. Thank god I don’t live next to you!!!! I bet you have a lawn service that takes care of your property

  4. Willie Blue is a town gem. I am saddened to hear he has had to jump through all these hoops to conceal his RV only to now be forced to sell it.

    • Thank you, Sue. I believe Willie would be seeking to sell his RV in any case, though it is true he’s had to jump through some hoops to keep it on his property while trying to do so. I think it says a lot that he’s paid good money to keep the RV with the thought that the right charity could come along that could use it.

  5. I know some of these vehicles have “big block” engines now worth more than the vehicle itself. Any idea what powers this rig?

    • An RV of that vintage would have certainly had a Big Block Engine put in if it is gas operated, it could also be a Diesel Engine , if he goes to a website RV.Net he may find a collector that would buy it as a restoration project. Another site would be IRV2 there are lots of RV restoration folks out there.

  6. Thank goodness we are all being protected from this visual abomination. If only we required ALL the houses in New Canaan to sit on at least 4 acres then this sort of setback violations could not occur.

  7. Michael, thank for your thoughtful and informative commentary to the various postings on the Willie Blue story. It seems that the town is working hard to help the 54 year resident deal with this unfortunate situation. Let us hope for a win-win outcome. Mr. Blue deserves no less.

  8. Mr. Blue is my next door neighbor, where I have lived since 1986 in my husbands mother’s family home which was purchased in 1911. My property is right next door to the builders who bought the property knowing that Mr. Blue had the RV parked right next to my house. I am a good neighbor and never complained about the RV because I mind my own business and don’t care what a neighbor has on their property.
    I also had problems with these ruthless out sided builders trying to make a quick buck. Destroying my stone wall making me get rid of my boat, threatening me, calling the police on me trying to make me move my legally parked cars because they were having an open house. To the point I suffered a slight stroke. Now I have a legal right to sue these builders if they continue to harass me. Mr. Blue had permission from the town to put up the temporary garage with my ok and nobody else complained but the builders because they think the reason they can’t sell their 2 houses is because of the RV and my boat ect… wrong. Karma is a ….. they were jerks and for a year have not been able to sell the houses. They came in trying to bully us long time residence. Why does every other town allow, boats, RV’s , trailers ectparked in their drive ways but New Canaan gives us residence a hard time? This needs to change!!!!!!!

  9. My name jay greco one of the owners on summer st condos we have only tried to help Mary and Mr. Blue through this whole process, for that don’t know we paid for Mary’s property to be cleaned last summer which cost us $2,000 to help her out and mr blue I have reached out to help which he refused!

    • Wrong Jay. You threatened us and told us you would go to the town and get us for blight. Mr.Blues camper was there before you even bought the property. It was a constant daily battle with you and your partners and the workers dumping their garbage on my property. And that $2,000.00 is paid for by you putting me in the hospital with a stroke and forcing me to get rid of my boat and every other aggravation you caused me and my family.