Saying a walk through the house at 1031 Oenoke Ridge Road with its owners and contractor showed that it has been modified so extensively as to negate historic value, the objecting party withdrew its objection. The withdrawal was registered Monday with town officials. Original Article
The town has received a letter objecting to the planned demolition of a ca. 1800 home on a 7.6-acre Oenoke Ridge Road property. The owner of 1031 Oenoke Ridge Road—a Delaware-registered limited liability company that purchased it for $5.8 million in August 2016—applied April 20 for permits to demolish both the 6,742-square-foot house and pool.
Saying that buying some time prior to a planned demolition could help the owner of an antique and conspicuous Valley Road home find a way to transfer the structure to preservationists or otherwise avoid the wrecking ball, officials voted unanimously last week to impose a 90-day demolition delay. Representatives of the owner of 1124 Valley Road, Norwalk’s first taxing district, are not fighting against that delay, members of the Historical Review Committee said at their March 1 meeting. It would be interesting for the public at large “to know the purpose of the use” of the 18th Century home, committee member Laszlo Papp—formerly a neighbor of the house, for 54 years—said the meeting, held in the Town House of the New Canaan Historical Society. “Is there going to be open space attached to the land the water company has or do they intend to build a McMansion there or exactly what is the future?” Papp said. He added: “During the period of the delay, I think, all political pressure should be borne to Norwalk to influence that [trustee].
The New Canaan Historical Society has extensive files that document houses, many of which are gone now, including by demolition, the head of the organization said Thursday. Curious people, such as descendants of those who used to live in those homes, often visit the Oenoke Ridge Road organization’s research library to find out what they can about them or to view photographs of the structures, according to Executive Director Nancy Geary. Yet in the case of a pre-American Revolutionary War era White Oak Shade Road home that’s undergone an unpermitted demolition of its second floor, that’s no longer possible. “From our point of view, for there not to be a process where we can at least get out and document what was there, what was the original 1750 house, to preserve that for the records of New Canaan history, to me is a great shame,” Geary said during a meeting of the Historical Review Committee. The volunteer group convened in the Historical Society’s Town House to decide whether to delay the demolition-in-progress at 251 White Oak Shade Road, a project that’s been under a cease-and-desist order from New Canaan’s chief building official since Feb.
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.
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.”