Neighbor of New Canaan Country School Sues P&Z over Approval of Rebuilt Athletic Facility

A neighbor of New Canaan Country School this month filed a lawsuit appealing the Planning & Zoning Commission’s approval of a two-story, 25,000-square-foot athletic facility near their shared property line. According to the administrative appeal filed in state Superior Court on behalf of the plaintiff, Katherine Moore, the new facility’s location “is such that it will have more negative impact on the use, enjoyment and value of the Moore property than it would literally anywhere else on the 70-plus-acre school property.”

P&Z’s decision, ultimately, to approve the Country School’s site plan “is illegal, arbitrary, capricious and constitutes an abuse of discretion for a variety of reasons,” according to the complaint, filed Aug. 9 by attorney Ted O’Hanlon of Stamford-based Robinson + Cole. According to the complaint, those reasons include that the Country School’s initial application was incomplete and inaccurate, failed to meet New Canaan’s Special Permit criteria, that P&Z reached its decision through “incomplete, non-conforming and illegal plans” that the Commission then tried to address through conditions of approval and that the plan allows the school to exceed maximum allowable coverage illegally (by applying a 2006 Zoning Board of Appeals decision that’s no longer relevant). “The Commission ignored competent and unrefuted evidence offered by Moore that the facility could be located elsewhere on the school property, in a location that fully complied with the Zoning Regulations, and without impacting neighbors so severely, if at al, and which did not present the traffic or safety complications at the approved location,” the complaint said.

Newly Formed Company Spends $5.1 Million on Seven Properties in New Canaan

A newly formed company last week acquired seven residential properties in New Canaan for a combined $5.1 million, records show, including three contiguous homes on East Avenue totaling .8 acres. All of the properties—they’re multifamily dwellings on East Avenue, as well as Mead Street, South Avenue and Park Street (see below)—were sold by New Canaan Country School. It isn’t clear just who the buyer is. Created in June, the company that acquired the properties—called ‘New Canaan Realty Partners LLC’—is itself owned by a New York City-based limited liability company, according to Connecticut Secretary of the State records. 

That company is called ‘Capricorn Investment Group LLC’ and is based in New York, N.Y., the records show—yet a search of the New York Secretary of State’s business filings show no such company. 

A California-based ‘Capricorn Investment Group LLC’ does exist, however—one of its managing directors is a Canadian billionaire who had worked as eBay’s first president. A woman who answered the phone there Thursday said she could not confirm or deny that it was the same Capricorn that purchased the New Canaan properties.

‘A Second Family’: Horizons in New Canaan Launches Alumni Association for Program Graduates

For 54 years, Horizons at New Canaan Country School has worked to provide better futures for K-12 students from low-income families by creating year-round academic, artistic and athletic opportunities through a variety of programs.

This year, Horizons has consolidated a major part of its support base by creating an Alumni Association. The program is something that the Board of Directors has been “working on for a long time, and tried many different approaches,” said New Canaan native and Board Chair Jennifer Barnard, who has been active with the organization for over 10 years. “The organization started 54 years ago, so there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have gone through the program, and it can be difficult to keep track of everyone involved,” Barnard said. “But with social media, everything has been made much easier.”

Brian McGregor, who works in IT Solutions at Bankwell in New Canaan who is from Stamford and attended Horizons through middle school, said he lost contact with fellow participants after they went off to different high schools. “After Horizons we would take SAT and ACT test prep, small programs to keep us together after graduation and help with the college process,” McGregor said.

‘It’s My Passion’: ‘Early Lingo’ Founder Returns to New Canaan with International Early Language Learning System

Caryn Antonini grew up speaking foreign languages. The New Canaan High School graduate’s father ran an international division for his company and spoke different languages, “so I was always exposed to different languages and cultures,” the town resident recalled Friday morning. Fluent in French, Spanish, Italian and German (as well as English), Antonini continued her education at Georgetown University, where she studied children’s acquisition of language at the School of Language and Linguistics. Then, while in Europe on vacation and speaking to a friend of her husband’s, she was asked  why she wasn’t developing her own language program. The question stuck with her for the rest of the trip.

‘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.