TV’s original home improvement show has a webcam on the God’s Acre Greek Revival that made headlines this week when town officials voiced support for a sensitive restoration and rebuilding project. The antique at 4 Main St. is the 2019 “Idea House” for “This Old House” and will track developments there. ***
The peacock seen wandering around Wahackme Road on Monday afternoon is back home, according to police. The exotic bird’s Ponus Ridge owner saw an article about it, and the peacock was located and returned to its pen with three others.
We commend the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission for its responsiveness, diligence and care in updating the rules that say what types of businesses can occupy street-level commercial space in the downtown. More than one year in the making and with contributions from individuals within and outside the appointed body, P&Z’s work culminated in two changes recently that commercial property owners are hailing as proactive and timely. First, following several months of discussions, P&Z voted unanimously in April to update the New Canaan Zoning Regulations so that service businesses in the “Retail A” zone—the very heart of the downtown, including Elm and Main Streets—may occupy first-floor spaces so long as there’s a retail component facing the street. The idea for the text change came to the Commission because P&Z actively sought ways it could help the downtown. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy advised a P&Z committee led by Secretary Jean Grzelecki, and the Zoning Regulations amendment went into effect in May.
Municipal officials last week unanimously approved changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations that are designed to help commercial property owners, downtown retailers and the wider community.
The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 9-0 in favor of text changes to the regulations that re-establish first floor office use in the “Business A” zone with site plan review. The Business A zone includes nearly all of the two-way stretch of Elm Street in New Canaan, parts of Grove Street, all of Pine Street and commercial lots on both sides of Cherry Street as it curls past Cross Street, almost to Locust Avenue (see map here). As local land use attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC said in applying to the Commission for the text changes (on behalf of the the new owners of the former Beval Saddlery building on Pine Street), though the Business A zone was created in 1985—at a time when the owner of the Lumberyard site was considering building an office park—more than half of it serves first-floor general office use on a legally nonconforming basis. Re-establishing first-floor office use will help the zone become more viable for both the owners of buildings, some of which are vacant, and the town, he said. “The office use itself is actually already occurring,” Rucci said at the Commission’s regular meeting, held Nov.
Saying the change would help commercial property owners, retailers and the wider community, a local land use attorney has applied to the town to allow first-floor offices in a business zone that skirts the center of downtown New Canaan. Representing the new owners of the former Beval Saddlery building on Pine Street, attorney David Rucci of Main Street’s Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC is seeking to amend the New Canaan Zoning Regulations to “re-establish first floor office use with site plan review in the Business A zone.”
“The Business A zone was created in 1985,” Rucci wrote in an application filed Monday with Planning & Zoning. “It is the largest of the business zones and represents the second ring of the core. While there is a prohibition on new first floor office use today, over 50 percent of the zone serves first floor general office use. The remaining properties serve retail, bank, medical, second floor office use and single purpose type of business use.”
The application continued: “By re-establishing first floor general office use in the Business A zone, we believe the zone would become more economically viable for both A zone building owners and the Town of New Canaan.
Because he must pay attention to people in the district who are opposed no matter what, the superintendent of schools isn’t in a good position to lead an internal working group looking into starting school later in the morning, according to members of a parents’ group that wants the change. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi is expected some time in June to share the administrative group’s thoughts on starting school later in the morning, but he should be arriving at a recommendation with input from the wider community, lifelong resident and New Canaan Public Schools parent David Rucci told members of the Board of Education at their most recent regular meeting. “It is very difficult, [according to] all the research that we have done, for the superintendent to be in charge of this,” Rucci said at the meeting, held May 21 in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “He is going to get a lot of internal pressure from other places and we understand that that is a problem for him. And it’s not easy for him to sort of negotiate through that.