Grace Farms

Recent Articles

Bid for Temporary Injunction Seeks To Undo Grace Farms Approvals, Return To 2013 Permit

Grace Farms must revert to the terms of its 2013 special permit, as a religious institution only, because the validity of a more recent approval is now in question, according to a recent legal filing from one of the organization’s neighbors. According to a motion filed on behalf of Smith Ridge Road residents Tim Curt and Dona Bissonnette, though Grace Farms itself is appealing some of the 100 conditions imposed by the Planning & Zoning Commission in an approval from last fall, both that Lukes Wood Road organization and the Planning & Zoning Commission “have been proceeding as if the special permit which is the subject of this appeal were in full force and effect, and have been pursuing activities which would only be permitted if this court determines after a hearing that the special permit is valid.”

The motion filed by attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury-based Moriarty, Paetzold & Sherwood also notes that the validity of a prior P&Z decision regarding Grace Farms—specifically, a decision to amend the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to allow for more than one “principle use”—may be invalid due to a filing mistake, as described in a separate lawsuit. Because of that mistake and on the advice of Town Attorney Ira Bloom, Grace in November re-filed its applications for a text change and special permit—then in January withdrew them, saying only that it was satisfied, after all, with the earlier approval. Yet “by reapplying for the text amendment and the special permit on which it depends, at the request of counsel to the commission, the plaintiff and the commission are acknowledging the previous approvals are invalid,” according to the motion filed by Sherwood. “There is simply no other logical explanation for the resubmission of identical applications incorporating thousands of pages of documents nor justification for the inordinate time and expense required t process and consider them if not to correct the errors identified in the Curt/Bisonnette appeals. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Grace Farms Opposes Proposed Cuts to Rail Service on New Canaan Branch

To the Editor,

Grace Farms Foundation stands together with the town of New Canaan and with several of our community partners—the Glass House, The Chamber of Commerce and the New Canaan Nature Center, among others—in strong opposition to the decrease in rail service to New Canaan. Local commuters and visitors to New Canaan depend upon public transportation during the week as well as on weekends. Whether they come for a specific program, an architecture tour, or just to enjoy the beauty of the landscape, visitors who come to Grace Farms from New York City are also eager to explore the town and contribute significantly to its economic vibrancy. Though our site is a few miles from the center of town, our staff and visitors depend heavily on the Metro North spur line to New Canaan. Furthermore, Grace Farms has a demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability, and this access to public transportation is vital to keeping traffic to a minimum. Continue Reading →

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Grace Farms Withdraws Re-Filed Permit Application, Opening Questions About Long-Term Operation

An attorney on behalf of Grace Farms this week withdrew the organization’s re-filed application for a special permit. In a short letter to the town planner dated Feb. 5, attorney Ted O’Hanlon of Stamford-based Robinson+Cole said that Grace Farms looks forward “to working with you on the implementation and enforcement” of an existing special permit, approved last fall by the Planning & Zoning Commission with 100-plus conditions. Coming on the heels of a contentious P&Z hearing where several neighbors complained that Grace Farms already has violated that existing permit in many ways, the withdrawal raises new questions about just what set of rules the Lukes Wood Road organization will operate under in the long term. According to a lawsuit filed by neighbors Timothy Curt and Dona Bissonnette of Smith Ridge Road, the post-hearing legal notices of P&Z’s decision last year were “defective, incomplete and misleading” and also failed to meet the requirements of state law and the town’s own zoning regulations. Continue Reading →

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Interim Town Planner’s Contract Extended through October

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend the contract of New Canaan’s interim town planner by nine months. The 3-0 vote means Keisha Fink will work in the key land use role, advising the Planning & Zoning Commission and reviewing applications that come in both to P&Z and the Zoning Board of Appeals, through October. “Keisha is doing an excellent job as interim and acting and she is a necessary part of our process and we would like to continue her for nine months,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said at the board’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. He voted in favor of the extension, as did Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams.

A former land use coordinator in Westport who hold a master’s certificate in urban and regional planning, Fink succeeded Steve Palmer in the role of town planner—he worked here for less than one year—and has been at Town Hall on an interim basis since September. New Canaan launched its search for a full-time, permanent town planner at that time. Continue Reading →

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Letter: A ‘Thank You’ to New Canaan


On behalf of STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to New Canaan’s local businesses, customers and residents who supported STAR and its mission that benefits local people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) at our recent ribbon cutting and holiday shopping events. STAR is thrilled to have a new office location at 111 Elm Street with the specific goal to bring services for all ages closer to home for those in New Canaan with I/DD and their families. Our generous neighbors welcomed our open house. To Walter Stewart’s Market, ACME Markets and Garelick & Herbs, thank you for your donation of delicious food for our open house guests. To Gregg’s Garden Center and CVS, thank you for your donations of holiday decorations to dress up our front entrance and inside space. Continue Reading →

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