Steve Karl

Recent Articles

‘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 →

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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 →

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Non-Permitted Demolitions: Town Officials Seek To Stiffen Penalty for Negligent Homeowners

Members of New Canaan’s legislative body said Wednesday night that they’ve been asked to bolster what some see as overly lenient penalties for property owners who demolish their homes without first obtaining proper permits. Citing a widely discussed case on White Oak Shade Road, where the owners of a pre-American Revolutionary War era home demolished a second floor without a permit, members of the Town Council’s Bylaws and Ordinances Committee said during their regular meeting that some residents have approached them about creating stiffer fines here in town. As it stands, those who demo a structure without a permit face only a maximum $500 fine and those funds go to the state—that’s “a slap on the pinky,” according to Councilman Steve Karl, committee co-chair. “That’s basically what you are getting,“ Karl said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Under Chapter 541 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the State Demolition Code is administered by the local building official and a permit is needed to “demolish any building, structure or part thereof.” Anyone who violates the provisions of the Demolition Code “shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both,” under state law. Continue Reading →

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Town Council Mulls Development of Long-Term Plan for Budgeting

To aid in the budget process moving forward, the town government may soon be adopting a long-term financial plan (LTFP) which will essentially serve as a forecasting tool. Following the unanimous vote on the final, $151 million fiscal 2018-2019 town budget on Thursday at town hall, the New Canaan Town Council discussed a preliminary document outlining what the proposed five-year plan would include, which was drafted by vice chairman Rich Townsend. The purpose of the plan, as per the draft document, is to “provide all the town funded units the opportunity to participate in setting the financial assumptions and goals for the town” over a five year period. Basically, it would require all town departments and the Board of Education to furnish a five-year forecast including future costs, revenues, goals and needs to the Board of Finance before the budget process commences. “When we went through the budget, there were a lot of things that everybody wanted to do that would help us save money and help us work better with all the other organizations [in town],” Townsend explained after introducing the draft document. Continue Reading →

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‘We Would Have To Move Our Business’: Local Business Owners on the Prospect of Reduced Rail Service to New Canaan

Delivered with a thud last month and underscored by state transportation officials during a recent forum in town, proposed severe cuts in train service on the New Canaan branch line has prompted residents to decry the effect it would have on property values and the ability of visitors—for example, those traveling up from New York City to see the Philip Johnson Glass House—to get here. Less obvious though no less important is the effect that proposed elimination of weekend service as well as off-peak weekday service to New Canaan would have on local businesses, merchants and service providers say, largely because those who work here rely on the train. Steve Karl, vice president at Karl Chevrolet, said that as a business owner in New Canaan, “the news of limiting the train service to our community is the last thing we want to hear.”

“By cutting back the off-peak service and the complete elimination of weekend service it affects our business in a number of ways,” Karl told NewCanaanite.com. “First of all, the employees who use the train to commute will be affected and these are some of our hardest working employees who rely on the train every day. Secondly, due to the proximity of the train station to our store, we frequently sell vehicles to clients who travel by rail to pick them up at our location. Continue Reading →

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