Town Council

Recent Articles

‘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 →

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: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , ,

First Selectman ‘Intrigued’ by Idea of Purchasing Unimin Building on Elm Street, Relocating Police Department, District Offices

The town’s legislative body on Wednesday night approved a $500,000 bonding package designed to help plan for a renovation of the New Canaan Police Department, though the municipality’s highest elected official said the question of whether or not to follow through with the project is uncertain. Even though members of the Town Council at their regular meeting voted 12-0 to approve funds for design, engineering and consulting services for police headquarters, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told NewCanaanite.com during an interview prior to the meeting that he was “intrigued” by the prospect of relocating the New Canaan Police Department to a prominent office building on Elm Street, negating the need for that renovation. Unimin first put put its building at 258 Elm St.—on the corner of Grove Street, overlooking the Lumberyard Lot—on the market 18 months ago. The industrial mineral producer has said it employs 100 to 110 people in the structure. “I am intrigued by the Unimin building but we don’t know yet whether it could accommodate a Police Department,” Moynihan said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

First Selectman Breaks 6-6 Tie To Advance Demolition of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

Though some argued that it makes little sense to rush an irretrievable decision when a viable alternative has emerged, members of New Canaan’s legislative body and the first selectman on Wednesday pushed forward the demolition of a widely discussed brick structure on Richmond Hill Road. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan broke a 6-6 tie on the Town Council to preserve $65,000, as part of a larger proposed bonding package, for razing the “Mead Park Brick Barn” or “Richmond Hill Garage.”

New Canaan Baseball has said it’s interested in using the 1901-built, two-story structure, opposite the bottom of Grove Street, for meetings and storage. Yet some on the Council questioned the organization’s ability to make the structure usable and maintain it. “I am totally in favor of giving [New Canaan Baseball] a reasonable amount of time, but I think the building should be taken down unless there is a credible plan,” Moynihan told members of the Town Council as he cast a vote in favor of preserving the money for demolition. It wasn’t immediately clear what are the criteria for “a credible plan,” or how long “a reasonable amount of time” is, though Councilmen noted that a 90-day delay is likely from the time the town applies for the demolition permit. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,