Skip Hobbs

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Selectmen Signal Support for New Canaan Land Trust’s Purchase of Fowler Property

Town officials on Tuesday morning voiced support for a special appropriation to help a local organization dedicated to land conservation acquire a wooded 6-acre parcel now available for purchase. Though the three-person Board of Selectmen stopped short of an official vote—the discussion of the Silvermine Road property came before the trio as a non-voting, informational item—the group spoke in favor of helping the New Canaan Land Trust buy it. At the time of the selectmen’s regular meeting, the Land Trust was seeking $320,000 from the town to close the $1,070,000 purchase (overall, $1.3 million is needed). Selectman Nick Williams said that he was “generally supportive” of the Land Trust’s efforts to acquire what’s called the “Fowler property,” named for its owner, award-winning zoologist and longtime New Canaanite Jim Fowler. “These opportunities do not come along that often,” Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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Historic Ferris Hill Home To Be Rented, Back on Market in ‘Several Years’

Now that the property has been safely transferred, volunteers spent several hours Tuesday afternoon cleaning up a historic farmhouse on Ferris Hill Road in order to make it rentable in the next couple of months. Tom Nissley, who holds title to the property with his wife, Emily, said his long-term goal is to sell the 1735-built house at 8 Ferris Hill Road, though it could be “several years” before it’s ready to go on the market again. “Somebody who loves history is going to have to buy the house,” Nissley said. “My theory is that everything sells. There is always a buyer for things, and there are a lot of people who are interested in history.”

That’s a major reason why the historic farmhouse still stands. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is Really Exciting’: Conservancy Unveils Plan for Waveny Pond

Members of the private nonprofit group that formed to recommend, fund and oversee improvements to a portion of the grounds at Waveny on Wednesday night unveiled a dramatic plan to create a more visible, functional and attractive pond at the foot of the sledding hill. The Waveny Park Conservancy is calling for new trails, stream system, fishing dock, bridges and wildlife lookout area as well as a full dredge, re-routing of a conspicuous utility line overhead, installation of underwater bubblers to prevent hypoxia, improved spillway and extensive landscaping around the pond, such as the removal of several trees in order to restore the area to the Lapham family’s original vision and create better sightlines toward the main house, according to Keith Simpson, New Canaan-based landscaped architect and member of the group. “A project such as this is a major construction project, no question about it,” Simpson told members of the Park & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “We will be cordoning off a significant area, and we will be putting in erosion controls. All these things have to be done and they are costly. Continue Reading →

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‘Dream Greenway’ in New Canaan Poised for Important Step

The possibility of a “dream greenway” in New Canaan—essentially, a loop that would include a new walk through the woods between Weed Street and Oenoke Ridge Road—is poised to take a major step forward following an application formally received this week by town officials. A prospect that’s eagerly supported by both the New Canaan Land Trust and New Canaan Nature Center, including board President Skip Hobbs—a prospect, in fact, that includes land owned by each of those venerable nonprofit organizations—the greenway requires only a traversable 425-foot-long strip of land for completion (see map at right). That land is part of a private property on Weed Street, near the intersection at Wahackme. When that property, on the market for more than one year, recently received an accepted offer, advocates for the greenway—anticipating that its 9-acre lot likely would be subdivided—pointed out that in the case of subdivision, the town could take up to 10 percent of the property, as per New Canaan’s zoning regulations. This month, site plans for that subdivision emerged, including a conservation easement along the property’s northern edge—in other words, the very strip of land required to complete the greenway. Continue Reading →

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Open Space Advocates Eye Dream Greenway in New Canaan

Open space advocates are eagerly anticipating the sale of a Weed Street property that could lead, if all goes well, to the creation of a pedestrian path connecting Irwin Park to the New Canaan Nature Center. If things pan out as they hope, New Canaan could see a “greenway” from the woods out back of the Nature Center, through New Canaan Land Trust property and all the way to Weed Street and Irwin Park (which itself may eventually connect via sidewalk to the top of Elm)—in other words, a walk-able loop encompassing the heart of downtown New Canaan and all those town treasures along the way. All that’s needed is the transfer to the town of a strategically placed 425-foot strip of land that’s about 15 to 30 feet wide (see map detail at right), according to New Canaan Land Trust Board of Trustees President Chris Schipper. Right now, that strip is part of a property at Weed Street near the intersection of Wahackme that has been on the market for a little over one year. Asked about the status of the property, listing agent Susan Blabey of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty confirmed that there’s an accepted offer and declined to say more, citing the owner’s privacy and the fact that the deal is not yet done. Continue Reading →

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