Town Hires Engineering Firm To Design New Sidewalk from Mead Park Exit to Marshall Ridge Road

Town officials last week approved a $16,000 contract for survey and design services from a Bridgeport-based engineering firm for a new sidewalk to run up the hill from the exit of Mead Park toward Weed Street. About 70 families in the area signed a petition requesting the sidewalk, which will run along the south side of Richmond Hill Road up to Marshall Ridge Road, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. The town in a 2003 update to its guiding document for land use—the Plan of Conservation and Development or ‘POCD’—said it would “try to connect everyone to our greenways and to our parks,” Mann told the Board of Selectmen during its regular meeting, held Jan. 8 at Town Hall. 

“And this fits within not only the expansion of sidewalks from 2003 but also the though from the 2014 POCD to try to bring more people into the downtown area and the train station,” Mann said. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kit Devereaux voted 2-0 in favor of the contract, with Cabezas- DeAngelis Engineers & Surveyors.

First Selectman: New Police Station at Saxe Baseball Diamond Proposed

New Canaan may consider building a new police station on the Saxe Middle School baseball diamond adjacent to the YMCA, according to the town’s highest elected official. The possibility for a new police headquarters there for an estimated $16 million represents a third option, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, behind renovating the existing New Canaan Police Department for about $10 million or moving the agency out of South Avenue and into a commercial building downtown. “The only problem with a new building is where do you put it on town land? And that has been identified as most likely prospect for building on town land,” Moynihan said during a press briefing Thursday in his office at Town Hall. The idea was floated by former Police Commissioner Stuart Sawabini, Moynihan said.

Town Appoints 16 To Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday appointed 16 people to a newly formed Committee that will study New Canaan and make recommendations on promoting  its economic development and tourism. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kit Devereaux voted 2-0 during the Board’s regular meeting to appoint a slate of candidates with expertise in local business (list below) to the Tourism and Economic Development Advisory Committee. Selectman Nick Williams was absent. “We know a lot of these individuals,” Moynihan said during the selectmen’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “Some of them are individuals who are residents and volunteer, others are are individuals who work in town but do not reside in town.

Attorney: Town Can Rescind $65,000 Allocation To Demolish ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

As an apparent deadline for the town to move forward with the demolition of the Mead Park Brick Barn looms, preservationists have obtained the opinion of a prominent attorney that New Canaan’s legislative body may legally undo its approval of funds to raze the widely discussed structure. Citing case law that specifies a town’s legislative body “possesses the unquestioned power to rescind prior acts,” attorney Daniel E. Casagrande, a partner at Danbury-based Career & Anderson, concludes that “the Town Council has the inherent power to rescind or reduce its appropriation for the demolition of the Barn.”

“Neither the Charter nor the General Statutes contain any provision barring the Town Council from rescinding or reducing an appropriation,” Casagrande wrote in a Dec. 18 opinion sent to members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, which had retained him. 

“Similarly, the Town Council’s rules contain no restriction on its authority to rescind or reduce an appropriation. Finally, since the Board of Selectmen has not yet acted to award a demolition contract, no vested rights in any third party have intervened that would limit the Town Council’s rescission power.”

Casagrande referred to the Town Council’s vote in May to approve $65,000 for the Barn’s demolition—a 6-6 tie broken by the first selectman, as per the Town Charter. The attorney’s findings come as New Canaan nears a deadline with respect to two companies that won bids to tear down the century-old structure at the northern edge of Mead Park— where Standard Oil’s horse-drawn delivery wagons used to fill containers for fuel delivery in New Canaan—and dispose safely of its remains.