Keith Simpson

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Did You Hear … ?

After years of anticipation, the vacant and deteriorating antique home at 4 Main St. finally has been sold, according to a property transfer recorded Wednesday in the Town Clerk’s office. Arnold Karp bought the ca. 1780-built Greek Revival from James Talbot for $810,000. ***

State officials this week voted in favor of a recommendation from counsel for the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, finding that the town broke the law by withholding a draft document of the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is a Massive Building’: Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Proposed Athletic Facility at New Canaan Country School

Saying a proposed new athletic facility at New Canaan Country School would loom too close to their property line as currently envisioned, neighbors of the private Frogtown Road institution are calling on officials to deny an application now before the town. To be located east and a bit further away from Frogtown Road from an existing and outdated facility that will be razed, the new structure would sit 40 feet from the eastern property line—a distance that, though it technically meets the setback requirement of 35 feet laid out in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, is at “astonishingly close range” to the residential property that’s been in George Moore’s family since about 1938, he said. “We respectfully ask that the New Canaan Planning & Zoning board reject this proposal,” Moore told members of the P&Z Commission at their Jan. 30 regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “We feel like this is a real affront to our family’s property and property value. Continue Reading →

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Despite Calls To Slow Down, Town Council by 7-3 Vote Approves Redesign of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

Thanking the volunteers who conceived of the plan and vowed to fund it—and despite opposition from some professional landscape architects—New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday night voted in favor of a redesign of a prominent garden at Waveny. The Town Council—New Canaan’s land use authority—at its special meeting voted 7-3 in favor of what some have called a “substantial redesign” of the parterre or “upper garden” at the beloved town park, though a national organization and prominent local landscape architect cautioned against a hasty approval. During an emotionally charged meeting at Town Hall, councilmen expressed regret that the two parties holding different opinions on what is best for the garden—the New Canaan Garden Club on one side with the redesign, and Keith Simpson Associates and a Washington, D.C.-based coalition on the other, advocating for a historic restoration—could not find a middle ground. Councilman Joe Paladino said he would like to see an “expanded dialogue” between the two sides—calling the Garden Club “an agency with decades and decades” of service to the town, and Simpson himself “an individual with hundreds and hundreds of hours that have benefitted our town.”

Yet a respectful exchange of ideas did not appear to be forthcoming, and the Town Council after some discussion approved the Garden Club’s plan. Those voting in favor included Chairman John Engel, Vice Chairmen Sven Englund and Rich Townsend, Steve Karl, Christa Kenin, Cristina A. Ross and Liz Donovan. Continue Reading →

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Officials Weigh New Parking, Traffic Proposal for Mead Park

Town officials are weighing a proposed parking and traffic plan for Mead Park that would preserve its one-way entrance and exit while making other major changes to how and where motorists can go and pull in. Under a proposal from local landscape architecture firm Keith E. Simpson Associates, traffic in the first long area that motorists enter from Park Street would become two-way, while the often-disregarded traffic island in the center of the park would be re-shaped so that it’s more intuitive to motorists, and new curbing would come to a second traffic island near the Apple Cart at Mead Park Lodge so that nobody parks directly on top of it. During a Nov. 8 presentation to the Parks & Recreation Commission, the firm’s Bill Pollack said it was possible to have 90-degree parking for the long stretch along the pond, though some officials said they’d prefer to have more comfortable angled parking there, even if it means losing some spaces. Commissioner Francesca Segalas said she would prefer angled parking because it’s far easier to open a front door “because the front of the next car is not even next to you.”

The proposal also calls for new parallel parking spaces beyond the right-field wall of the large baseball field, new directional arrows on the pavement and crosshatched areas between newly designated handicapped spaces and fire lanes. Continue Reading →

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Garden Club, Landscape Architect at Odds Over Future of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

New Canaan should pause before approving a plan that would see a formal garden at Waveny house changed from its original design, according to local landscape architects. Located directly east of the balcony out back of the 1912-built Waveny house, the parterre garden is “the most important formal garden in town,” an “historically significant” area that “deserves a great deal of thought before it gets radically changed,” Keith Simpson told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting. “That configuration of the boxwood hedge has been there for over 100 years and I think it has stood the test of time,” Simpson said at the Nov. 8 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “And also, the Olmsted office is probably the best known firm in the history of landscape architecture in the country. Continue Reading →

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