Merritt Village

Recent Articles

Officials: Opponents of ‘Merritt Village’ Project Arrested After Refusing To Leave Burial Ground [UPDATED]

Police on Thursday afternoon arrested two New Canaan residents—longtime opponents of the 110-unit ‘Merritt Village’ redevelopment on Park and Maple Streets—following what eye-witnesses call their refusal to leave a long disused burial ground adjacent to the property. Terry Spring and Jack Trifero each were charged with third-degree criminal trespass. Spring additionally was charged with interfering with an officer. According to representatives from property owner M2 Partners LLC, Spring and Trifero some time around 12:20 p.m. walked onto what has been called the “Maple Street Burial Ground” after parking in a contiguous private condominium’s lot. After New Canaan’s Planning & Zoning Commission approved the Merritt Village project last November, the question of appropriate protections for (and ownership of) the burial ground—a collection of scattered gravestones, disinterred grave shafts and even bodies that M2 itself discovered—lingered before the property owner could pursue its redevelopment project in earnest. Continue Reading →

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Republican Candidates for Town Council Face Off in Second Debate

Republican candidates for Town Council offered their views on on some of the town’s most controversial planning and zoning applications during the Republican Town Committee’s second candidates’ debate held at Town Hall Wednesday. Currently there are six Republican candidates for Town Council: Roy Abramowitz, Tom Butterworth, Mike Mauro, Rich Townsend and incumbents Penny Young and John Engel. They are jockeying for seats opening up on the Town Council this fall and thus are seeking party backing. When asked for his opinion on the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recent approval of the Merritt Village redevelopment downtown, Engel, who missed the first RTC debate in June, said, “Real estate is what I do—and I have a deep understanding of the Merritt Village project.”

“Number one, I respect the process,” he said of the recent approval. “We heard earlier that the Town Council doesn’t get involved in what P&Z should do—just like the first selectmen doesn’t tell them what to do—and I don’t think we should have a thumb on the scale with P&Z. Continue Reading →

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‘There Is a Hint of Hypocrisy’: P&Z Rejects ‘Cemetery’ Claims, Signaling Cleared Final Hurdle for Merritt Village

Planning officials on Tuesday night voiced support for proposed changes to the town’s approval for the Merritt Village, signaling the clearing of a final hurdle for the 110-unit condo-and-apartment complex. Because archeological excavations have been undertaken since the Planning & Zoning Commission’s November approval—creating a need to reword parts of it—the group at its regular meeting stopped short of formally voting on an application filed on behalf of property owner M2 Partners. Yet P&Z spoke favorably of updating conditions regarding a burial ground on the Maple Street site that M2 had found objectionable because, if upheld, they would have required the property owner to seek approval for an amended site plan. Saying they’re concerned about preserving local history, some in town have called for P&Z to designate as “cemetery” ground areas of the Maple Street property where, archeological experts have said, people who had been buried there were deliberately dug up and moved to more desirable resting places, such as Lakeview Cemetery. The remaining disinterred grave shafts are scattered throughout a substantial parcel at Merritt Apartments. Continue Reading →

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Consultants’ Report on ‘Maple Street Burial Grounds’ Addresses Merritt Village Conditions

Though a tooth, coffin fragments and pieces of arm, finger, leg and pelvis bone turned up following an archeological study of the “Maple Street Burial Grounds,” the only bodies still buried there already have been identified, according to a new report. The body and coffin pieces speak to shoddy work in transferring 13 bodies long ago from the burial grounds to sites such as Lakeview Cemetery, and do not constitute current interments, two experts from a Westport-based archeological and historic structure consulting firm said in a report published last week. As such, construction of a new, 110-unit housing complex approved in November by the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission can proceed with a few basic protective measures, Cece Saunders and Dawn Brown of Historical Perspectives Inc. said in their Feb. 16 report. “The archaeological excavations confirmed the presence of three intact Law family burials, the historic removal of eleven Hoyt-Keeler family burials and the historic removal of two St. Continue Reading →

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Prospect of Seventh Public Hearing for ‘Merritt Village’ as Cemetery Questions Linger for P&Z

The owner of the future ‘Merritt Village’ apartment-and-condo complex on the edge of downtown New Canaan is in talks with Planning & Zoning officials about whether yet another public hearing will be needed to sort out whether any of the property to be developed constitutes a cemetery. Approved with 60-plus conditions by the P&Z Commission in November following six public hearings, Merritt Village is to include 110 total units. In December, property owner M2 Partners filed an administrative appeal citing several of the conditions that involve the ‘Maple Street Cemetery.’

The conditions regarding the burial ground are objectionable to M2 because, if upheld, they would require the property owner to seek approval for an amended site plan. P&Z is asking the hopeful property developer to return for a hearing in February, according to New Canaan resident Arnold Karp, a partner in M2. “We are on hold because if they are going to go take a piece of my property, I can’t design a building,” Karp told NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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