‘We Have To Figure Out an Answer’: Need To Expand ‘Covia’ Building Complicates First Selectman’s Proposal for Combined Board of Ed-NCPD Home

The commercial building at the corner of Grove and Elm Streets downtown—a structure that New Canaan’s highest elected official has eyed as a possible future home for both the Police Department and Board of Education—isn’t big enough, as it is, to accommodate both agencies. An addition would need to be put on the ‘Covia’ building at 258 Elm St. to house them, and that may involve acquiring two properties to the south that are owned by Stamford Hospital, or else building east into the Lumberyard Lot, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In any case, finding a way to make the 28,000-square-foot Covia building (which is for sale) work for both agencies is preferable to renovating the existing Police Department on South Avenue or building a new one while continuing to pay about $300,000 in annual rent for the New Canaan Public Schools’ administrative headquarters. 

“It’s kind of complicated,” Moynihan said Thursday during a press briefing in his office. “This [the Covia building] is my preference, it’s a modern building.

Improving Cell Service: Development on Proposed Soundview Lane Tower Imminent, Officials Say

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Thursday that residents should expect a development this month regarding improved cell coverage in the northeast part of New Canaan. A Soundview Lane resident’s plan to use his uniquely situated property to bolster service in the area has been on hold for nearly one year, as no lease agreement with a cell service carrier has materialized—a necessary step for the proposal to come before state officials. Moynihan during a press briefing in his office said, “There are things happening there,” with respect to the Soundview Lane proposal. “There should be news by Thanksgiving on that front,” Moynihan said, declining to provide more details. The first selectman did say he’s met with cell service carriers and that he envisions improving service in the northeastern part of town first, then in northwestern New Canaan through a proposed tower near the reservoir property of off Ponus Ridge, and finally in downtown New Canaan.

Selectman: More Public Input Is Needed on Future of Vine Cottage, Irwin House

More public input is needed before New Canaan gets closer to funding projects that bring major changes to the use and ownership of town-owned buildings such as Vine Cottage, Irwin House and the former Outback Teen Center, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday. There hasn’t been any real discussion in public about renting Irwin House to nonprofit organizations, for example, yet a process appears to be underway to start funding work to that end, according to Devereaux. “I am concerned, for instance, that in renovating—and I have no idea how much it would cost to do the full renovation of the Outback,” Devereaux said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “By doing that I presume it would be a fait accompli to move Human Services over there which then creates a vacant building, and I just think before the Vine Cottage is put on the block, that there should be a lot of public discussion and the public should weigh in, even a referendum.”

Her comments came as the selectmen discussed proposed bond resolutions that are to go before municipal funding bodies and are related to future capital projects. They include $50,000 to plan for the renovation of the lower level at the former Outback Teen Center for office use and $80,000 for similar work at Irwin House.

Town Officials Puzzled by Low Use of ‘Boxcar’-Designated Parking Spots at St. A’s

On its busiest day, the mobile app that allows commuters to park in the St. Aloysius Church lot has seen fewer than half of the available spaces taken, officials say. 

It isn’t clear whether the limited use of the Boxcar app reflects lack of demand or awareness, limitations in the mobile service itself, overly high rates, rigid parking habits or something else, officials said during Thursday’s meeting of the Parking Commission. Though use of the St. A’s lot has grown since the Boxcar spaces opened in September with $7 daily rates, “the state lots at $5 fill up first,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the Commission’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “So at $7 I think it is probably a bit high,” Moynihan said.

Town Council To Consider Regulating Lawn Signs in Public Spaces

With multiple political lawn signs crowding traffic islands, street-side grass verges and other conspicuous public areas throughout New Canaan, local officials say they’re eager to figure out whether and how the town may regulate them. With Election Day rapidly approaching, it’s probably too late this year to solve the problem of over-proliferating lawn signs, according to members of the Town Council Bylaws and Ordinances Committee. 

Yet some sort of public service announcement is in order, according to Committee Co-Chair Steve Karl. “There are a lot of people who have looked at the number of signs and say, ‘What happened?’ “ Karl said at the Committee’s special meeting, held Monday in Town Hall. “This particular election is so competitive that there are more signs out than normal. And a lot of the separate candidates have their own people coming to town sticking signs wherever they think there are high traffic areas—off the Parkway, rotaries, that type of thing.