New Canaan Preservation Alliance

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Did You Hear … ?

The video above was produced by New Canaan High School seniors Sean Manzella and PJ Sensbach as part of their work in the Senior Internship Program. The pair have an internship with the program’s coordinator, Heather Bianco, and are spotlighting participants. More videos can be seen here. ***

NCHS has been ranked No. 7 in Fairfield County and No. Continue Reading →

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How Involved Should Residents Be in Deciding the Future of Public Buildings?

Though their input is valuable, New Canaan taxpayers ultimately should rely on their elected and appointed representatives to make decisions regarding the future of town-owned buildings rather than put such questions to a public referendum, officials say. Structures such as Gores Pavilion, Vine Cottage and Irwin House “don’t exist in a vacuum” and their capital needs are part of “a very fluid process,” Board of Finance member and Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee co-chair Amy Murphy Carroll said during the recent Forum on Public Buildings. Responding to a suggestion that putting key decisions on public buildings to a ballot so that residents can determine “what they do with their tax dollars,” Murphy Carroll questioned “how that it would be all that productive to do that.”

“You elected the people on the Town Council, right?” she said during the April 26 forum, held at Town hall. “You elected your representatives.”

While Murphy Carroll and her fellow panelists—First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Town Council Chairman John Engel, and Town Council members Cristina A. Ross and Penny Young, who also served as committee co-chair—agreed that input from the community is greatly encouraged and appreciated, she and others stressed that residents should also trust them to make the best decisions for the town. Young said that there need to be more public forums allowing residents to express their opinions about how the buildings should be used. Continue Reading →

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Public Buildings InfoSheet: Irwin House

[Editor’s Note: The following “Statement of significance” has been prepared in advance of the April 26 Forum on Public Buildings, to be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Town Hall—more information is available here and questions for panelists can be submitted here. Most of the information in the bullet points below is drawn from the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee report.]

Built: 1963
Square Footage: 7,963
Current Uses: Recently provided swing space offices for the town, though a long-term use has not been identified. Committee Recommendations: Either put Irwin House to work or consider whether continued maintenance and the contingent liability is warranted. Potential use would be relocation of the Board of Educaiton from its leased office space either through a renovation/expansion or replacement, depending on the most cost effective and building appropriate analysis. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Owners of Valley Road Antique Slated for Demolition: We Will Sell House with Some Land, Not Entire Parcel

The owners of a prominent, antique Valley Road home that’s slated for demolition say they’re confused by a letter that New Canaan town officials sent Monday, urging them to work toward preserving the house. That’s because the owner of 1124 Valley Road—Norwalk’s First Taxing District—on March 27 met with New Canaan’s highest elected official and others and proposed selling the house and property it sits on to a local organization for a price that group has said it can afford, according to Dominick DiGangi, general manager of the First District Water Department. Specifically, DiGangi told NewCanaanite.com, he proposed a lot line reconfiguration that would bring the 18th Century home onto an adjacent New Canaan Land Trust parcel for less than $1.2 million while then also adding some land to the existing 4-acre parcel at 1124 Valley Road so that it still meets setback distances under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations. The 4-acre property itself is no longer for sale as such, DiGangi said. “We are not going to change our mind about the land,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Town Imposes 90-Day Demolition Delay on Antique Valley Road House

Saying that buying some time prior to a planned demolition could help the owner of an antique and conspicuous Valley Road home find a way to transfer the structure to preservationists or otherwise avoid the wrecking ball, officials voted unanimously last week to impose a 90-day demolition delay. Representatives of the owner of 1124 Valley Road, Norwalk’s first taxing district, are not fighting against that delay, members of the Historical Review Committee said at their March 1 meeting. It would be interesting for the public at large “to know the purpose of the use” of the 18th Century home, committee member Laszlo Papp—formerly a neighbor of the house, for 54 years—said the meeting, held in the Town House of the New Canaan Historical Society. “Is there going to be open space attached to the land the water company has or do they intend to build a McMansion there or exactly what is the future?” Papp said. He added: “During the period of the delay, I think, all political pressure should be borne to Norwalk to influence that [trustee]. Continue Reading →

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