Town Council

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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 →

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Town Councilman: Two Parties Interested in Leasing Space in Former Outback Teen Center

The town has selected a Realtor to work with as it tries to find a future use for the former Outback Teen Center building, officials said last week. However, the municipality hasn’t signed a contract with that Realtor “because there are two entities who have expressed interest in leasing space in the building,” according to Town Councilman Penny Young. “And until those negotiations are completed, either effected or rejected, we are not going to engage a Realtor,” Young said at the Council’s regular meeting on July 18, held at Town Hall. “So that process is underway. It takes time, but it’s underway.”

Inherited by the town three summers ago, the Outback has been a subject of wide discussion among New Canaanites ever since. Continue Reading →

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‘We Are Not Going for Bad Architecture’: Housing Authority Chairman on Proposed Redevelopment of Canaan Parish

As redevelopment plans for an affordable housing complex materialize, New Canaanites must balance safeguarding the town from a punitive state law with creating buildings that look just how they want and doing so in a financially viable way, project leaders said this week. Specifically, increasing the number of units at Lakeview Avenue and Route 123 in order to gain relief in the future from an affordable housing law known by its statute number ‘8-30g’ means working within restrictions in terms of building height and even style, according to the chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners. Such considerations long have weighed on the minds of the Housing Authority and an organization called New Canaan Neighborhoods, which created and manages Canaan Parish, a 60-unit Section 8 housing complex, Chairman Scott Hobbs told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting Wednesday night. And though early-stage renderings of a redeveloped Canaan Parish have been received poorly by at least some in New Canaan, those schematics are not final and, in many ways, result from careful considerations in how to achieve a workable balance between financial viability and legal qualification on the one hand, and usefulness and aesthetics on another, Hobbs said. “If you want to build a giant box and put a low-sloped roof on it, you have more options,” Hobbs said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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‘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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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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