Rucci Law Group

Recent Articles

Second Neighbor Files Suit Following P&Z’s Conditioned Approval of Grace Farms Application

A second set of Grace Farms neighbors this month filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the town’s decision to grant the organization an amended zoning permit that allow for wide-ranging activities on its Lukes Wood Road campus. The New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission’s heavily conditioned Sept. 26 approval of Grace Farms’ application was made “illegally, arbitrarily, and in an abuse of its discretion” in several ways, according to an appeal filed on behalf of Danita and Paul Ostling of Smith Ridge Road. The application did not conform to various requirements of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, according a complaint filed Nov. 1 in state Superior Court in Stamford, including a section that outlines what is allowed by Special Permit in those regs (see page 42 here) and others that lay out the criteria and considerations for making a decision on such applications (page 170). Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

The Animal Control section of the New Canaan Police Department issued a written warning to the owner of a terrier mixed-breed dog in the area of Ogden and Wakeman Roads in New Canaan after the dog attacked another dog on Oct. 30, officials said. The victim dog’s owner said it was the third such scuffle, however, the earlier incidents had not been reported. ***

New Canaan’s Veterans Day ceremony is to start promptly at 10:55 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 at God’s Acre. Continue Reading →

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23 New Canaanites Sue Water Company over Plan To Use Indian Waters Drive in Connection with Proposed Two-Lot Subdivision, Development

Saying Aquarion has no legal right to use their street, 23 of Indian Waters Drive in New Canaan are collectively suing the water company as it pursues a plan to subdivide and develop a wooded parcel that includes use of the private road as an access way. The approximately 10-acre lot owned by Aquarion historically has been served by a driftway running from Weed Street to Frogtown Road, and Indian Waters Drive itself didn’t exist at the time a predecessor water company acquired the parcel in question 110 years ago, according to a complaint filed Oct. 17 in state Superior Court in Stamford. Those who own properties along Indian Waters Drive itself own portions of it up to the centerline, and those who own other homes on the road may pass and repasss it, according to the complaint, filed on the neighbors’ behalf by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. Yet use of the road is deed-restricted to those property owners, the lawsuit said, so what Aquarion proposes to do “constitutes trespass on the Indian Waters Drive property owners’ property.”

“The Indian Waters property owners request that the court issue a declaratory judgment determining that Aquarion does not have the right to use Indian Waters Drive,” the complaint said. Continue Reading →

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‘Negative Ramifications for the Community of New Canaan’: Consultant on Grace Farms’ Proposed Changes to Zoning Regulations

Proposed changes to the regulations that govern land use in New Canaan, now before the town, appear harmless but in fact have dramatic and harmful implications, according to a consultant hired by a set of neighbors opposed to them. Grace Farms’ proposed text amendments to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations appear “innocuous at first blush,” according to Don Poland, senior vice president and managing director of urban planning at East Hartford-based Goman+York. Yet if the Planning & Zoning Commission were to approve the organization’s application, it would “exacerbate the issues of appropriate scale, intensity of use and threats of encroachment across all zones—residential and commercial—in New Canaan,” Poland said in a report filed with P&Z. Specifically, Grace Farms—a “religious institution,” under the regulations—is for practical reasons seeking permission to have more than one such principal use designation. Yet “if the proposed regulation amendment is approved, not only can Grace Farms Foundation be allowed to continue its request for multiple principal uses, but also could subsequently apply for additional principal uses, such as Elderly Housing, Adult Housing, Congregate Care, Bed and Breakfast, Private School, Day Care and Private Recreation,” according to Poland’s May 15 report. Continue Reading →

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Four More New Canaan Homeowners Seek Lower Property Assessments through Legal Filings

The town has received four more lawsuits from homeowners appealing to the courts recent decisions to leave their property assessments unchanged following initial appeals in March. A total of 77 property owners appeared before the Board of Assessment Appeals through five hearings in March to make their cases following the Oct. 1, 2016 Grand List valuation. Of those, 25 saw a reduction in their assessments, ranging from $7,000 to $243,000. The town earlier this month received one appeal state Superior Court in Stamford, from a Ponus Ridge homeowner. Continue Reading →

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