Historical Review Committee

Recent Articles

‘A Really Wonderful Model for the Neighborhood’: Officials Offer High Praise for Forest Street Home Design in Voting 4-0 To Lift Demolition Delay

Calling the redesign of a new home on Forest Street tasteful, respectful of the property’s historic past and exemplary for an important neighborhood, town officials last week voted unanimously to lift a delay on the demolition of an existing structure. Members of the Historical Review Committee voted 4-0 at their Jan. 5 meeting to lift a delay instituted last month on demolishing the ca. 1830-built home at 74 Forest St. “You have made significant changes—positive changes—I think you have created a winner here, a really wonderful model for the neighborhood and an example for others who will come after you,” committee member Martin Skrelunas said during the group’s meeting, held at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Town House. Continue Reading →

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Officials Vote 4-0 To Delay Demolition of ca. 1830-Built Forest Street Home

Saying that more information is needed about a new two-family house planned for Forest Street, town officials on Monday voted unanimously to impose a 90-day delay in the demolition of an existing antique structure on the .3-acre lot. Members of the Historical Review Committee during a special meeting described the architecture of the approximately 1830-built home at 74 Forest St. as a “vernacular” type that rapidly is disappearing in a historically important area. Committee member Martin Skrelunas, an architecture and landscape preservationist, said the red-painted house “represents and is one of last of this style in New Canaan.”

Addressing Tom Sturges, the contractor on the construction project, Skrelunas said, “I think the thing that could be special about your project is, knowing you’re building from scratch, is that you can demonstrate that you can build in a non-designated historic street but maintain that history, maintain that spirit, which in turn could benefit the rest of that block.”

“I think there will be change on the rest [of the street] and if you are able to do that, I could see others following suit and becoming a much more valuable area,” Skrelunas said at the meeting, held in the Janet Lindstrom Room at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Town House. Committee member Rose Scott Long, an architectural preservationist, added: “This is kind of a crucial point because there is definitely going to be more development in that area and what you do here it is really going to have a great impact.”

The committee voted 4-0 to impose the delay. Continue Reading →

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‘The Town’s Heritage Is Being Eroded’: Objection Filed in Planned Demolition of 1829-Built Forest Street Home

A town resident and historic preservationist has filed a formal objection to the razing of a multi-family house on Forest Street that once was cited for blight. The red-painted, 2,500-square-foot house at 74 Forest St.—the fifth residence on the west side of the street, running north out of downtown New Canaan—dates to 1829, tax records show. The property in July was purchased for $603,750 by a limited liability company whose principals are James and Gregory Demirjian of New Canaan, according to records on file with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. It was transferred the following month to a different LLC controlled by the same two individuals. It isn’t clear what is planned for the lot—no building permit application has yet come into the town. Continue Reading →

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New Canaanites Eye Expansion of State Law That Allows for ‘Demolition Delay’ of 180 Days

New Canaan preservationists are watching the progress of an addendum to a state law that alllows Connecticut towns to delay by 180 days—as opposed to just 90—the razing of a structure, following a demolition application filed with local building officials. Senate Bill 330—an updated version of which arrived on the governor’s desk Monday and was endorsed 4-0 by New Canaan’s delegation to the state legislature—would take effect Oct. 1. The local ordinance that New Canaan developed exactly 10 years ago, outlined in section 12a of the Town Code, allows for a 90-day delay on a proposed demolition in cases where a formal letter of objection is filed with the Town Building Official and a committee then finds that the structure in question has “architectural, historical, or cultural importance.” Under the update to the state law, a homeowner during the delay would not be able to perform asbestos abatement, an important change. The new text reads, in part: “If a waiting period is imposed by a town … the person seeking the permit shall take no action toward demolition of the building, structure or part thereof, including, but not limited to, site remediation and asbestos abatement, during the waiting period. Continue Reading →

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