John Mahoney

Recent Articles

‘We Have Got Something Else’: Town Officials Deny Bid To Redo Century-Old Barn’s Exterior in Stone without New Application

Town officials last week denied a West Road homeowner’s request to amend without an entirely new application the exterior of a renovated barn, from the traditional red-painted wall boards of a century-old structure to stone. Saying a stone exterior would create a more substantive change than what they already had approved, members of the Zoning Board of Appeals during their regular meeting on April 3 said a new variance would be needed in order to redo a barn at 416 West Road with a stone exterior. The ZBA’s rationale for approving an application that came before the board in December was to match existing barns along that stretch of West Road, but “I feel like this is completely in the opposite direction,” board member Luke Tashjian said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “The only thing still looks like barn is it has got these doors on it,” he said of a new set of drawings. “If you take these doors off, it looks like a stone house to me.”

The ZBA voted 5-0 to approve only a minor change to the windows on the barn, which is to undergo a comprehensive renovation. Continue Reading →

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After Contentious Hearing, Town Officials Call for Fresh Legal Advice on ‘Sober House’ Appeal

During an emotionally charged, at times contentious public hearing that saw a line of lawyers paint vastly different pictures of what’s required of the town, officials on Monday night said they would obtain yet another legal opinion prior to deciding whether a “sober house” may operate in a single-family home in northwestern New Canaan without obtaining a permit. Those opposed to a sober house operating out of a West Road residence criticized the town’s finding that the for-profit facility needs no permit to do so, saying New Canaan should have a formal application process for the business and pooh-poohing legal advice that imposing such would trigger liability for discrimination. Those who have found that The Lighthouse may operate at 909 West Road without a permit point to federal laws that govern treatment of the disabled and fair housing practices. During a public hearing on next-door neighbor Thom Harrow’s appeal of the town’s finding before the Zoning Board of Appeals, what emerged were competing legal interpretations of what would constitute a “reasonable accommodation” for the sober house on New Canaan’s part. According to Town Attorney Ira Bloom, whose advice led to an assertion that The Lighthouse may operate its facility in the 8,000-square-foot home, New Canaan is required “to reasonably accommodate” the sober house within its own regulations. Continue Reading →

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‘I Am Really Troubled’: Town Officials Weigh In On Unpermitted Shed, Retaining Walls That Cross Knapp Lane Property Line

Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals at their most recent meeting said they were concerned about a Knapp Lane backyard shed that had been rebuilt bigger and without town approvals and is located near a neighbor’s property line. ZBA member Angelo Ziotas said at the group’s most recent meeting that he also was uneasy with an estimated 80-foot retaining wall created at 109 Knapp Lane that runs some way into the property to the east. Though the retaining wall itself was not part of the property owner’s application for a variance that would grant after-the-fact approval for the shed, “it does color the way in which I am looking at this whole situation,” Ziotas said. “I am really troubled by the trespass and the retaining wall going onto this neighbor’s property,” he said at the ZBA meeting, held at Town Hall. The comments came after town officials issued a homeowner Hasim Sabovic a fine and cease-and-desist order following multiple violations of state laws, building codes and environmental regulations for work done in and near a pond and brooks on his 1.84-property, as well as the built storage shed that sits about eight feet from a neighboring property to the east, in lieu of the 25 feet required under New Canaan’s Zoning Regulations for accessory structures (see page 58 here). Continue Reading →

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‘I Do Not Appreciate Being Put In the Position We Are In Now’: Zoning Board Grudgingly OKs Variance on Silvermine

Scolding a contractor for moving forward with construction work on a Silvermine Road house without proper authorization, zoning officials on Monday night grudgingly approved a variance that will allow the building project to continue. Fred Nigri told members of the Zoning Board of Appeals that what started as an interior renovation (basically, a master bedroom and bathroom overhaul) at 406 Silvermine Road evolved into a larger project when workers discovered mold and rotted framing at the 1948-built Cape. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘A Nice Improvement There’: Praise for Proposed New Home on Locust Avenue

The owners of a Locust Avenue home earned praise and approval from zoning officials Monday night after unveiling plans to replace an awkwardly positioned 3-family structure with a taller, 2-family house that encroaches on no setbacks. Chris Taroli purchased the .16-acre lot at 95 Locust Ave. for $500,000 in July, tax records show. The home there dates to 1880, according to tax records, though flat-roof additions have been added onto the side and back, it’s been “cut up in the middle” and when Taroli purchased it, the multifamily structure needed new HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, had questionable foundations of rumble and unreinforced block and inadequate insulation, he told the Zoning Board of Appeals in a letter and at the group’s regular monthly meeting. The home also encroaches on all setbacks, and Taroli is proposing to build a new one that conforms in terms of those setbacks and coverage, though a variance is required because it would exceed allowable building height. Continue Reading →

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