Ira Bloom

Recent Articles

New Canaan Committee Conducted Illegal Meetings, State Official Says

The town of New Canaan violated state sunshine laws by failing to notice or open to the public a series of meetings held over several months last year, state officials say. Site visits conducted by two-person teams of the Building Evaluation & Use Committee—a group charged in February 2017 with studying and making recommendations about town-owned buildings—constituted “special meetings of a subcommittee” and “were subject to public notice and meeting minutes requirements,” according to attorney Valicia Dee Harmon, hearing officer of the state Freedom of Information Commission. After overseeing hearings at the Commission’s offices in Hartford on Dec. 5 and Feb. 6, to address a complaint about the meetings brought by NewCanaanite.com, Harmon found that the town, committee and Co-chairpersons Penny Young and Amy Murphy Carroll violated two provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Continue Reading →

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Town of New Canaan Broke FOI Law by Withholding Draft P&Z Document, State Official Says

The town of New Canaan failed to comply with state sunshine law when it took more than two months to deliver a public document to a resident who had asked for it, officials said. According to an attorney with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, “there is no reason why” the town should’ve taken until Nov. 7 to hand over a 15-page document that the Planning & Zoning Commission had discussed at a public meeting on Aug. 29. The document, revised extensively at that August meeting, spelled out in a draft the conditions of approval that P&Z was considering for Grace Farms’s application for an amended permit. Continue Reading →

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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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Did You Hear … ?

Urged by local leaders, dozens of New Canaanites attended Tuesday night’s ConnDOT hearing in Stamford on proposed service cuts to the New Canaan branch of Metro-North Railroad—reductions that government and business officials both have called potentially devastating. Scroll through the gallery above for photos and a transcription of First Selectman Kevin Moynihan’s comments at the hearing. ***

South School failed the most recent surprise health inspection of its cafeteria kitchen, and East School and New Canaan High School, as well as St. Luke’s School, also failed recent inspections. Food items in a 2-door Hobart at South were discarded after the cooler was found to be at 63.7 degrees—far higher than required—during a May 2, 2017 inspection. Continue Reading →

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