John Goodwin

Recent Articles

P&Z Denies Aquarion’s Bid To Subdivide Indian Waters Drive Property

Saying a wooded property at the end of Indian Waters Drive is too narrow to subdivide and that a development proposal is out of keeping with the residential neighborhood at the end of a private access way, officials on Tuesday night denied an application to carve out two building lots there. The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to deny the closely followed special permit and two-lot subdivision applications, filed on behalf of Aquarion. Though the proposed subdivision would set aside 4.1 acres of open space, it provides no real access to it, according to commissioner Laszlo Papp. “I do not believe that the commission has the authority to waive that requirement [for accessibility to open space], either by Special Permit or otherwise,” Papp said during the commission’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “So that I see as a serious problem for approval. Continue Reading →

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Cell Service: Town Hires Consulting Firm To Help Draft Updated Telecom Regulations

Saying expert help is needed, officials on Tuesday approved a $7,500 allocation to hire an Simsbury-based consulting firm to help New Canaan review and revise the telecommunications section of its zoning regulations. The Board of Selectmen by a 3-0 vote approved the request from Interim Town Planner Keisha Fink during its regular meeting. According to Fink, Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Goodwin had recommended hiring Planimetrics since the town had “identified a need to be proactive in updating” the relevant section of the regulations. “Myself and other members of the Planning & Zoning Commission have reviewed the current telecommunications zoning regulations and feel it is prudent that the town have in place standards that should address any future applications affecting the siting of antenna facilities in town,” Fink said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We believe that the Hiring of Planimetrics is the most efficient use of the town’s time and resources in order to bring forth a more comprehensive telecommunications regulations.”

Selectman Beth Jones said the general consensus is that “everyone wants to move ahead with this as quickly as possible, so we can get some professional help from people who have dealt with this before.”

Jones, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of the allocation for Planimetrics. Continue Reading →

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Officials Dissolve P&Z Subcommittee on Wireless

Saying a subcommittee of the Planning & Zoning Commission appeared to have overstepped its charge—developing a town-wide strategy for wireless communications rather focusing on more specific areas such as screening and height—officials last week dissolved the group. P&Z Chairman John Goodwin said in an Aug. 17 email that the commission has made “very good progress on this complicated and contentious issue” since the question of specifics on wireless in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations came up last year. Yet “the process has become more politicized than would have been ideal,” Goodwin said. “While in many public statements, we have stated that the commission should not be the entity to be developing a wireless strategy for the town, we have tended to wander into that realm in some of our discussions. Continue Reading →

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‘We Are Going To Miss Him’: Town Planner Steve Palmer To Step Down Next Month

Steve Palmer, town planner of New Canaan since late last year, is stepping down from his position with the municipality to join his family’s business, officials said Friday. Town employees received word from New Canaan Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering-Jones in a midmorning email. “We are going to miss Steve and the work he has done in just a  short time for Planning and Zoning,” she said in the email. In a relatively short period of time, Palmer has tackled multiple dense and divisive P&Z applications and appeals before the town, including the Merritt Village, sober house, Grace Farms and Roger Sherman Inn. Asked about the development, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said that Palmer has done “a magnificent job while here.”

“We are going to miss him,” Mallozzi said. Continue Reading →

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‘It Seems a Little Excessive’: P&Z Voices Concern over Request for Second Sign Behind Bank-Owned Building

Saying a proposed second sign out back of a corporate building on Elm Street was too large, the Planning & Zoning Commission at its most recent hearing continued an application filed on behalf a community bank. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see the final paragraph on page 127 here), P&Z may grant a business a second sign larger than one square foot for the rear entrance of a first-floor use. Yet what Bankwell had proposed for the non-walk-in, corporate headquarters at 220 Elm St.—a building that houses other commercial tenants—appears to be too big at 12-by-134 feet, according to P&Z Secretary Jean Grzelecki. “It seems a little excessive,” Grzelecki said at the group’s June 26 special meeting, held in Town Hall. “I could see this being totally appropriate if in fact Bankwell were moving into this building, with one sign on the front and one sign on the back, to identify for its own customers coming. Continue Reading →

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