Keisha Fink

Recent Articles

Officials Cite Frogtown Road Nursery’s Violations of Decades-Old Agreement with Town

The owner and operator of a commercial nursery on Frogtown Road have violated the terms of a 1984 agreement by storing materials on the site expressly excluded in it, town officials said last week. The town requires property owner Twin Ponds LLC and Frogtown Nurseries to “remove such unrelated nursery materials, including cement blocks, located on the disputed property between 321 and 259 Frogtown Road,” according to a March 14 letter to the business from New Canaan’s interim town planner. “This removal shall be done in a timely manner and such removal shall be completed no later than 10 days from the date of this letter,” it said. Interim Town Planner Keisha Fink’s letter comes amid a bitter, years-long and ongoing legal dispute between the nursery and three contiguous homeowners next door. That legal matter centers, in part, on the question of whether the nursery had made “continuous and uninterrupted” use of areas near its shared property line for a statutory period of 15 years that would then give the business certain rights to it, such as installing deer fencing. Continue Reading →

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Interim Town Planner’s Contract Extended through October

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend the contract of New Canaan’s interim town planner by nine months. The 3-0 vote means Keisha Fink will work in the key land use role, advising the Planning & Zoning Commission and reviewing applications that come in both to P&Z and the Zoning Board of Appeals, through October. “Keisha is doing an excellent job as interim and acting and she is a necessary part of our process and we would like to continue her for nine months,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said at the board’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. He voted in favor of the extension, as did Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams.

A former land use coordinator in Westport who hold a master’s certificate in urban and regional planning, Fink succeeded Steve Palmer in the role of town planner—he worked here for less than one year—and has been at Town Hall on an interim basis since September. New Canaan launched its search for a full-time, permanent town planner at that time. Continue Reading →

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Officials Recommend Raising ‘Fee-in-Lieu’ Parking Rates for Commercial Projects Downtown

Saying New Canaan’s rates lag other towns and haven’t been upped in years, officials are recommending that the town raise its fees for those seeking to pay money into a parking fund in lieu of providing the required number of spaces for commercial construction projects. A committee of the Planning & Zoning Commission proposed at its most recent meeting that the baseline fee for the first “fee-in-lieu” space go up from $17,500 to $20,000, with increases in other categories to follow. “We have seen some resistance at $17,500 but I think it would not seem unreasonable to me to bump it a little bit this year,” Jean Grzelecki of the Plan of Conservation & Development Implementation Committee said at the group’s most recent meeting, held Nov. 28 at Town Hall. Going to $20,000 “seems pretty reasonable,” she said. 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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Plan to Build Two-Family Home on East Avenue Stalls at ZBA

An application for a variance that would allow a two-family residence on East Avenue to replace a 1900-built single family home there was continued Monday night after town officials expressed concerns over the proposed driveway and pedestrian access way included in the project. On its face, property owner William Panella’s request for a variance for 72 East Ave. is straightforward: The applicant is requesting relief from the residential Zone B requirement for a minimum 100 feet of street frontage, as the property only allows for about 93 feet of frontage, and to allow the driveway from East Avenue to connect with another driveway and parking lot for an adjacent commercial property on Vitti Street. Panella plans to tear down the existing 1,400-square-foot home, where his late mother Mary had lived, as well as the detached garage in the rear and construct a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. Before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, attorney David Rucci of Lampert Williams & Toohey LLC explained that he is, in fact, representing two clients on the project, William Panella, son of the late Mary Panella, whose property is the subject of the application, and Panella’s development partner, Art Collins, who is developing an adjacent property on Vitti Street, directly behind the property on East Avenue and in the town’s Business B zone (see map below). Continue Reading →

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