Laura Budd

Recent Articles

Chamber to P&Z: It’s Time To Review New Canaan’s Zoning Regulations for Main and Elm

New Canaan’s charming downtown remains attractive to prospective merchants as well as visitors, though changes in retail in recent years should prompt officials to update some of the zoning regulations that restrict the type of businesses that can occupy street-level storefronts, according to the head of the local Chamber of Commerce. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations now (see page 72 here), non-retail uses are largely restricted on the street level throughout the “Retail A” zone (in purple here) of Main and Elm Streets. For example, the only service establishments allowed are on the first floor of any building are “personal service” businesses such as salons. Medical, educational or fitness-related uses are relegated to upper floors or business zones beyond the “magic circle” downtown. Those downtown business zones “have served us well over the years, but the time might have come that we want to consider some of the businesses in the Retail A zones and places like that, that complement retail,” Tucker Murphy, the chamber’s executive director, told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission during their regular meeting on Tuesday night. Continue Reading →

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Officials To Weigh Two Changes to Parking in Downtown New Canaan

Officials on Thursday will consider two changes to parking in New Canaan that are designed to meet the needs of shoppers and diners as well as those who staff downtown shops and restaurants. One change would see the maximum parking time at Morse Court raised from two to three hours, and the other would set aside new premium-priced permits in the Park Street and Playhouse parking lots for workers in the village center. The proposed extra hour at Morse Court could give downtown visitors what appears to be a much-needed buffer when using services-oriented businesses, according to Stacy Miltenberg, interim superintendent of the New Canaan Parking Bureau. “I get feedback from people using the salon on Main Street, getting their hair done and the process is going over two hours and then they have thave somebody run out, or at a doctor in Morse Court, they would get stuck in the waiting room, so in the middle of a procedure their time is running out,” Miltenberg told “So it seemed that they needed a little longer. Continue Reading →

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‘InstaGroom’: Area Woman Turns Love of Dogs Into Mobile Grooming Biz

Though her dog-centered business is brand new, Marie Maguire’s love of “man’s best friend” goes back decades. A yellow Labrador retriever, ‘Sammy,’ arrived in the Maguire family’s home on the north side of Dublin, Ireland when she was 13. Sammy was “a perfect yellow ball of love and licks” who would “talk” with Maguire and her four siblings on the phone when they were away from home,” Maguire, 43, a Stamford resident, recalled on a recent afternoon. Maguire and her brothers and sisters—Susan, Patrick, Ciaran and Roisin—considered Sammy a “fifth sibling,” she said. Though the beloved yellow Lab has passed, Maguire’s abiding love and respect for dogs has endured, and after eight years of laying the groundwork—with a few detours along the way— she’s recently launched her own mobile dog grooming business. Continue Reading →

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JoS. A. Bank on Main Street Closes

JoS. A. Bank, the national men’s clothing retailer that for years has occupied the street-level commercial space at 70 Main St., has closed. A worker on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that the store is closing, though it isn’t clear why. Boxes of tailored and causal clothing are scattered about much of the sales floor, and the JoS. A. Bank name has been removed from an awning out front. Continue Reading →

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Survey: Downtown New Canaan Employees Need Off-Street Parking Options

Some 365 employees of downtown New Canaan businesses are looking for parking on a daily basis and nearly one-fifth of them park on Main and Elm Streets, according to the results of a newly released survey. About 20 percent of employees incur parking tickets on a weekly basis, and most of them are not reimbursed for parking expenses by business owners, according to the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s survey. Presented to the Parking Commission at its special meeting on Thursday, the chamber’s findings are drawn from the on-the-ground work of an intern as well as a survey released in June that drew more than 150 responses, including a response rate of about 60 percent from employees of the “magic circle” downtown. Though the data is not inclusive of the entire, it encompasses some 80 percent of merchants in the “magic circle” and “does show some directions,” the chamber’s Laura Budd told commissioners at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “What we basically saw is that many businesses have multiple parking options where the owner may have a private spot and everybody else is on their own,” she said. Continue Reading →

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