‘We Need To Do Everything We Can’: P&Z Approves First-Floor Office Use for ‘Second Ring’ of Downtown New Canaan

Municipal officials last week unanimously approved changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations that are designed to help commercial property owners, downtown retailers and the wider community. 

The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 9-0 in favor of text changes to the regulations that re-establish first floor office use in the “Business A” zone with site plan review. The Business A zone includes nearly all of the two-way stretch of Elm Street in New Canaan, parts of Grove Street, all of Pine Street and commercial lots on both sides of Cherry Street as it curls past Cross Street, almost to Locust Avenue (see map here). As local land use attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC said in applying to the Commission for the text changes (on behalf of the the new owners of the former Beval Saddlery building on Pine Street), though the Business A zone was created in 1985—at a time when the owner of the Lumberyard site was considering building an office park—more than half of it serves first-floor general office use on a legally nonconforming basis. Re-establishing first-floor office use will help the zone become more viable for both the owners of buildings, some of which are vacant, and the town, he said. “The office use itself is actually already occurring,” Rucci said at the Commission’s regular meeting, held Nov.

Did You Hear … ?

The Greenwich Free Press is reporting that an arrest warrant has been issued for Heidi Lueders, a former town resident and head of a pit bull rescue organization who has been identified as the subject of an animal cruelty case in Fairfield. 

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New Canaan Police through the department’s Instagram account has issued safety tips for residents making online purchases in order to avoid becoming a victim of package theft. They include signing up for delivery alerts, ensuring someone is ready to collect the package, requiring a signature when possible and having packages sent to a workplace if feasible. ***

Asked about the Tourism and Economic Development Commission he plans to create, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said locals have expressed strong interest in joining and that, after candidates are approved by local town political committees, the group will see about 15 total members. ***

The town on Wednesday issued an after-the-fact building permit for a $10,000 job at a Putnam Road home. A new bathroom with a shower had been installed in the basement of the home by New Canaan-based Hoffman Contracting LLC, the permit said.

‘Not Only Ugly But Unnecessary’: P&Z Critical of Sign Proposed for South Avenue Doctor’s Office

Though a conspicuous South Avenue property has seen significant improvements since a local doctor acquired it for his medical practice, town officials this week voiced criticism for a sign proposed for its front yard. 

New England Healthcare LLC, owned by family medicine practitioner and longtime New Canaan resident Dr. David Dayya has done a “really nice job” with the doctor’s offices at South Avenue and Oak Street and “super” work in addressing what had been traffic problems under past occupants of the two-story building there, Planning & Zoning Commissioner Bill Redman said Tuesday night. Yet an approximately seven-foot-high, cedar post sign proposed for the front yard 194 South Ave. is “a really ugly sign,” Redman said. “It’s huge,” he said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “I have been up and down South Avenue.