Grace Farms

Recent Articles

Court Documents: Grace Farms Worker Filmed Up Unsuspecting Women’s Skirts

A 37-year-old chef at Grace Farms is scheduled this month for a pre-trial hearing in state Superior Court connection with his arrest on 12 counts of felony voyeurism. The accused, Patrick Bowdoin of Norwalk, followed a 29-year-old woman into the women’s bathroom at Grace Farms’s restaurant, ‘The Commons,’ one Saturday afternoon in December, entered the stall next to her, then slid a Samsung phone underneath and started recording—until she screamed and he fled, according to New Canaan Police Department arrest and search-and-seizure warrant applications filed in court in Stamford. Though the charges against Bowdoin’s had been reported in March following NCPD’s months-long investigation, police withheld many details as well as information about where the offense had occurred, saying they did so in order to protect the victim. Referred to generally as a “security incident” in an email from Grace Farms officials to the interim town planner and in Grace Farms’s monthly reports to the town, the arrest also has not been detailed in either and no connection to the publicly reported arrest of Bowdoin in March was disclosed. The victim went to police headquarters to report the incident at 1:40 p.m. on Dec. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Did You Hear … ?

Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, on Thursday morning assisted a snapping turtle that had fallen into the window well of a home on Sleepy Hollow Road. Now is the time when females are setting out from ponds and other water sources to lay eggs, so motorists should be on the lookout for the prehistoric reptiles on local roads and try to avoid them or else help the animals across in the direction they’re already headed. ***

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a press briefing Thursday that New Canaan filed a Freedom of Information Act request in connection with the antique Valley Road home and 4-acre property that the New Canaan Land Trust has offered to purchase and preserve. The town is seeking documentation from the First Taxing District of the Norwalk Water Department about its plans for the future. “They are known to be a very difficult party to deal with, and that is why we have taken the stance we have,” Moynihan said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , ,