Steve Karl

Recent Articles

Town Officials To Take Up Abandoned Effort To Rid New Canaan of ‘For Sale’ Signs

Weeks after real estate organizations in New Canaan abandoned the widely discussed effort, the town’s legislative body is looking into what it might do to create a ban, at least temporarily, on ‘For Sale’ signs here. 

Town Councilman Steve Karl said that members of a committee he helps lead will meet with the chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission to study how Greenwich accomplished its own ban “because if we want to get this thing going, we are going to have to mirror what Greenwich did.”

“And it is sort of a halfway agreement between the real estate offices and with the town,” said Karl, co-chair of the Council’s Bylaws and Ordinances Committee. Saying prospective homebuyers identify properties online and that ridding New Canaan of hundreds of ‘For Sale’ signs would improve the town’s appearance, the New Canaan Board of Realtors, with support from the New Canaan Multiple Listing Service, announced in June that a six-month “trial ban” would start in July. But before the month was out, the plan was scrapped. Officials said the turnaround came following talks with the National and State Associations of Realtors. At the Town Council’s most recent meeting, held July 18 at Town Hall, Chairman John Engel asked Karl whether a new effort to realize a ban was “on the burner” and he replied that it was. 

Asked about it, Karl said that even with a re-worded ordinance or regulation, there likely would need to be wide agreement among real estate professionals to effective rid New Canaan of the pervasive signs (there are hundreds of residential properties on the market). 

It isn’t clear whether the matter is best addressed in New Canaan through an ordinance or a zoning regulation. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Town Council Votes 10-0 To Support Boundary of Waveny Described in Application for Listing on National Register

New Canaan’s legislative body last week voted unanimously in support of a boundary set forth in an application to list Waveny on the National Register of Historic Places. Once a matter of deep division and some agonizing among Town Council members, the elected body’s 10-0 vote marks a big step toward formally seeking the largely honorific designation for Waveny. 

Worked out by a Pawtucket, R.I.-based nonprofit organization with input from the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, state historic preservation officials and others, the boundary that will define the Waveny listing encompasses much of the park as regular visitors have come to know it. “The boundary reflects the development of Waveny lands over time from the 18th Century to the present day and the layers of settlement and agriculture and state and town park history that make it such an interesting and attractive place,” Rose Scott Long, co-president of the NCPA, told member of the Town Council at their regular meeting. 

“As stated in the nomination documentation, Waveny is a testament to the town’s thoughtful stewardship of the property, in keeping with Ruth Lapham Lloyd’s wishes and use restrictions that she conveyed to the town for public benefit,” Scott Long said at the July 18 meeting, held in Town Hall. “Listing in the National Register is primarily an honor, makes properties eligible for owners to apply for public grants for preservation and consideration for fire and life safety code compliance alternatives.”

The boundary follows the Merritt Parkway to the south and South Avenue to the east. On the west side, it follows the Metro-North Railroad tracks to Old Stamford Road and runs north but does not include the Waveny Care Center property. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

PHOTOS: Bargain-Hunters Hit New Canaan for Annual Sidewalk Sale

Bargain-hunters descended on New Canaan in droves starting Saturday morning for the Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale, running through 4 p.m.

Parts of Forest, Main and Elm Streets were closed to pedestrian-only traffic for the major annual event, organized by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going awesome,” the Chamber’s Laura Budd said as the Sidewalk Sale got into full swing. “It’s a beautiful day. The vendors are up and running and people are already shopping. We love to see it. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

‘It’s a Great Town We Live In’: Councilmen Praise Public-Private Partnerships in Funding Waveny Trails, Platform Tennis Court [UPDATED]

Citizens’ generosity helped push New Canaan’s legislative body last week to approve taxpayer funding of projects that will enhance Waveny for two sets of park users. Members of the Town Council in approving bond issuances of $50,000 and $70,000, respectively, to improve trails at the popular park and to create a fifth platform tennis court—an additional requested for several years—cited donations from two private groups as reasons to move forward. Specifically, the Waveny Park Conservancy is matching dollar-for-dollar the town’s $50,000 investment in improving trails starting with those that run behind “the cornfields” (soon to become ‘Waveny Meadows’), and platform tennis users are contributing $35,000 upfront toward a fifth court. “Those two projects are just a great example of how lucky we are to have the public and private combination of funds because without the private part of this, we would not be able to get this done,” Town Councilman Steve Karl said at the group’s regular meeting, held May 16 at Town Hall. “With the trails, we are basically doubling the amount of money we are spending there, and in the case of the platform tennis court, it’s another $35,000 in. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Did You Hear … ?

An attorney representing a New Canaan homeowner last week filed an appeal in state Superior Court of the town’s decision in March to uphold a property valuation from October. The property, 1248 Oenoke Ridge Road, was valued at $7,961,300 and assessed at $5,572,910, according to the appeal, filed May 11 by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. The New Canaan Board of Assessment Appeals on March 20 notified the plaintiffs, Helene and George Pyne, that it would not change that valuation, which “did not reflect the true fair market value of the property, but rather it was grossly excessive, disproportionate and unlawful,” according to the complaint. ***

Sandra Dennies, New Canaan’s finance director, received a standing ovation from the Town Council on Wednesday night when First Selectman Kevin Moynihan closed the meeting by announcing that she has been made permanent in the job. The former Wilton CFO had been working in New Canaan on an interim basis since last May. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,