Penny Young

Recent Articles

Seeking Less Costly Option, Town Council Rejects $550,000 Renovation Project at Vine Cottage

Saying they need to understand the building’s long-term purpose first and whether it could be passably restored (and legally occupied) for less money, members of New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday night unanimously rejected a proposal to renovate Vine Cottage for $550,000. The Town Council voted 10-0 against the bond issuance during its regular meeting. Councilman Christa Kenin said that though she appreciates the work that Architectural Preservation Studio, DPC put into a more comprehensive plan for the ca. 1860-built gabled structure, “I was a little surprised to see it on the agenda as a request for a bond.”

“It is a sweet house that needs a lot of work,” Kenin said, yet she’s a member of a recently appointed committee that’s been charged with making recommendations about town-owned buildings “and this is one of buildings that is at the top of our list to evaluate.”

“And I think even approving—whether it’s $550,000 or to come back to $100,000 before it falls to the ground—makes the assumption that we are going to hold onto this building, which may or may not be the case six months from now when we study the 44-plus buildings that the town is responsible for,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Ultimately, the Town Council charged New Canaan’s buildings superintendent with figuring out what would be the least costly project at Vine Cottage to make it inhabitable—by the town’s Human Services Department, its current occupant—for the next several months, until the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee comes forward with a recommendation on what to do. Continue Reading →

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PHOTOS: Christopher Lloyd Regales Waveny Park Conservancy, Supporters Ahead of Dec. 2 ‘Golden Gala’; Lloyds To Serve as Honorary Chairpersons

Christopher Lloyd on Wednesday night stepped toward the limestone fireplace in the grand hall of his childhood home in New Canaan, turned and told about 50 town residents gathered there that returning to Waveny House reminds him of his past. On this evening—a cocktail party hosted by the Waveny Park Conservancy to honor the organization’s founders and supporters, and kick off fundraising plans for 2017—the actor said he found himself thinking about “one particular incident” involving his father, Samuel R. Lloyd Jr.

“My father liked to have a cigar from time to time, and there was a humidor in that room, the billiard room,” he said, pointing past the staircase that New Canaanites for decades have climbed to reach the Recreation Department’s offices. “There’s still a billiard table in there, though for some reason it’s kind of dark. And there’s a humidor, and when I was seven, eight, nine years old, I became aware that it contained cigars, and I experimented. I kind of secreted one, went outside, lit it up. Continue Reading →

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Newly Appointed Town Building Committee Elects Officers, Sets Priorities

A committee charged with evaluating the uses, condition and future needs of town-owned buildings decided Monday to start its work by figuring out what data points it must have to conduct an analysis and make recommendations. Ultimately, the work of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee is expected to help officials prioritize taxpayer funding for competing capital projects—a job made more difficult without a basis for comparison, according to Amy Murphy Carroll, a committee member elected as co-chair of the group during its first meeting. “There is a lot of information for all these buildings,” Carroll said during the meeting, held in a board room at Town Hall. “What I am seeing is that we have all these buildings—the Nature Center and whatever—but I don’t feel we have a good sense of how they are used.”

With institutional knowledge and documentation from Department of Public Works officials in hand—such as each building’s operating expenses and an estimation of future capital needs—two-person “teams” from within the seven-member committee could made field visits to the various structures and collect all the desired information, Carroll said. “So then we have ‘This is the state of our building,’ This is what it needs,’ ‘This is how we use it’ and ‘This is how the town uses it,’ ” she said. Continue Reading →

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‘I Will Not Be Harassed Nor Bullied’: Despite Acrimony, Town Council Votes To Create ‘Land Acquisition Fund’

Saying they felt bullied after fellow members of New Canaan’s legislative body took an unusual step to force a specific item onto their meeting agenda, two officers of the elected Town Council on Wednesday night abstained from voting on it. Ultimately, the Town Council voted 7-0 in favor of establishing a “land acquisition fund”—a state law-sanctioned vehicle that’s designed to allow New Canaan to purchase property and use it for open space, recreation or housing. Yet the Town Council’s secretary, Penny Young, and chairman, Bill Walbert, abstained from voting. Originally discussed in January after councilmen John Engel, Kevin Moynihan and Cristina A. Ross argued in favor of its immediate creation, the land acquisition fund item was to be taken up again in March, according to Young, under an agenda set by herself, together with Walbert and the Town Council’s vice chairman, Steve Karl. Under the Town Council’s own rules, if five members of the body sought to add it to the agenda for this month, they could have done so, according to Young. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen Appoint Committee To Study Uses and Capital Needs of New Canaan’s Public Buildings

Town officials on Tuesday dissolved a volunteer committee tasked one year ago with studying New Canaan’s use of Waveny House and appointed what amounts to a successor group that will carry out the same work but more broadly, evaluating and making recommendations on a number of public buildings. The Board of Selectmen during a regular meeting voted 3-0 to form the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee “to evaluate over a six-month period the uses, physical condition and future capital needs” of structures such as the former Teen Center, Vine Cottage and Irwin Park main house. The newly appointed group will “not have to start from scratch” because enough studies are “in the book to lay the groundwork,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “It’s important that we look at it holistically and everything is on the table. If there is a use that isn’t fitting for a certain building, we will take input from them. Continue Reading →

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