Chris Schipper

Recent Articles

Garden Club, Landscape Architect at Odds Over Future of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

New Canaan should pause before approving a plan that would see a formal garden at Waveny house changed from its original design, according to local landscape architects. Located directly east of the balcony out back of the 1912-built Waveny house, the parterre garden is “the most important formal garden in town,” an “historically significant” area that “deserves a great deal of thought before it gets radically changed,” Keith Simpson told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting. “That configuration of the boxwood hedge has been there for over 100 years and I think it has stood the test of time,” Simpson said at the Nov. 8 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “And also, the Olmsted office is probably the best known firm in the history of landscape architecture in the country. Continue Reading →

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‘The Holy Grail’: Land Trust Seeks To Complete Walk-able ‘Greenway’ in New Canaan

Members of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to open space on Monday will seek approval from the town to build a raised walkway in the woods off of Weed Street in order to complete, after years of advocacy and planning, what they call a “dream greenway” in New Canaan. The New Canaan Land Trust’s proposed project—to install four raised walkways over wetlands and a bridge over a brook—is the final piece needed in order to create a walk-able loop that encompasses the downtown, Irwin Park and the Nature Center. “This has been, since I started on the Land Trust, the Holy Grail, to make this connection,” said Chris Schipper, a board member and former president of the organization. The Inland Wetlands Commission is scheduled to take up the Land Trust’s application at its regular meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. If approved, Schipper said, the project could be completed by spring. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Grace Farms a Sanctuary for Natural Habitat, Wildlife

The town of New Canaan received a major gift of open space when the Grace Farms Foundation acquired Windsome Farms in 2008 and choose to develop less than 5 percent of the now 80-acre parcel. A 2003 Open Space Committee commissioned by then-First Selectman Judy Neville and led by Selectman Paul Giusti had identified these rolling hills as a “top” candidate for town purchase along with the Irwin Estate. The town subsequently acquired Irwin for a total of $19 million, and today hundreds of town citizens and youth enjoy Irwin Park daily. Not only did our town not have to acquire the Windsome Farms parcel at a taxpayer cost in excess of $20 million, we avoided the projected park maintenance costs as well. Today, nature is one of five Grace Farms’ initiatives. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen Signal Support for New Canaan Land Trust’s Purchase of Fowler Property

Town officials on Tuesday morning voiced support for a special appropriation to help a local organization dedicated to land conservation acquire a wooded 6-acre parcel now available for purchase. Though the three-person Board of Selectmen stopped short of an official vote—the discussion of the Silvermine Road property came before the trio as a non-voting, informational item—the group spoke in favor of helping the New Canaan Land Trust buy it. At the time of the selectmen’s regular meeting, the Land Trust was seeking $320,000 from the town to close the $1,070,000 purchase (overall, $1.3 million is needed). Selectman Nick Williams said that he was “generally supportive” of the Land Trust’s efforts to acquire what’s called the “Fowler property,” named for its owner, award-winning zoologist and longtime New Canaanite Jim Fowler. “These opportunities do not come along that often,” Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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‘A Lane To a Beautiful Nature Park’: Finance Officials Hear Land Trust Request for Funds To Acquire Fowler Property

Saying it would preserve unique natural habitat and expand an important open space greenway, members of a nonprofit organization dedicated to land conservation in New Canaan on Tuesday night urged town officials to help their group with the timely purchase of a 6.35-acre property. The would-be “Silvermine Fowler” preserve—a private property long owned by award-winning zoologist Jim Fowler and available to the New Canaan Land Trust right now in a $1.3 million deal—is accessible from Silvermine Road just below the intersection with Route 106. An east-west oriented parcel that climbs a wooded hill toward a natural pond, the property is contiguous to a 41-acre sanctuary that the Land Trust already owns (see map below). Among privately raised funds, pledges and grants, the New Canaan Land Trust and Trust for Public Land—a national nonprofit organization headquartered in San Francisco—already have secured all but $365,000 needed to acquire the property. At this time, the organization has first right of refusal, though the offer is to expire in the first quarter of 2017, according to Land Trust officials. Continue Reading →

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