51 thoughts on “102-Unit Residential Development Planned for Weed and Elm Streets

  1. This is a 1 acre single home zoned area. Should this project proceed as proposed it would green light everybody with similar zoned properties and connections to town sewer to also consider building 30 unit per acre developments to take advantage of in effect the changed zoning rules that would be put in place for this particular project to proceed.
    The question is not can the town sewer system take 100 more homes, the question is can the town sewer system handle changed zoning due to this development and other projects in the planning stages. Remember we just had a discussion on storm water surge flowing through the town system https://newcanaanite.com/illegal-sump-pump-hookups-prompt-town-to-commission-200000-inflow-study-of-sewer-system-4993821. Sewer is above and beyond the impact on town services i.e. schools if we see rapid densification of the town.
    And for transparency I am a neighbor to the project.

    • May I suggest the following to all readers who are concerned about this development in a residential/one-acre zone:

      Please email your comments [with your full name and street address] to:

      bofdistribution@newcanaanct.gov

      There will be a BOF meeting tonight (Thursday, February 10) at 7pm.

      For those readers who posted comments, please copy/paste them into separate email and send it to the BOF now. Your voices count but they must go to to appropriate town bodies.

  2. I would sincerely hope that the Board of Finance does not approve another development just like the Vue which has changed the character of New Canaan forever. That complex added 99 units to the town yet our taxes continue to go up? This would be a black eye for New Canaan, the neighbors on Weed and Elm and forever change one of the beautiful entries into our great town!

  3. My family lives on Weed Street. We love the charm, the old world New England homes which are both stately and cozy. My husband’s family still resides in New Canaan as well – it’s been fifty years now. And within those decades there have been good and not-so-good changes, or rather, developments which chip away at that New Canaan charm. The Vue (as previously mentioned in a comment) is an example of a swing and a miss. The faux wall, the condominium landscape looks out of place. I can’t imagine a similar project as you drive into town from Weed and Elm. Immediately detracts from such a beautiful place. Thank you

  4. Appears to be the institution of Statute 8-30g (CT Affordable Housing Act). The owner can use this to override local zoning regulations to put multi-family housing almost anywhere in town, subject to having adequate utilities. Unfortunately this parcel seems to have public water and sewer, enabling its use for multi-family. Very unfortunate situation.

  5. I cannot see anywhere near 100 units on the corner of Weed and Elm Street. At one point, we had considered purchasing this property and even designed (we did Jelliff Mill Falls) a little Village of about 9 Greek Revival Style homes for this property, but abandoned the idea because we felt as though even those would be not in keeping with the character of the town, and did not want to upset the neighbors by attempting it. I have lived in New Canaan for over thirty years and love this town dearly. While I do see the need for senior housing and perhaps condo units that are more affordable to people working and living in town, that very, very many units in a place directly across from so many lovely, historic single family homes, on a corner all of us pass so often, in my opinion will seriously hurt the character and beauty of New Canaan. Hopefully a significant compromise can be reached.

    • Judy,
      Thank you for letting us know the thought process you went through when considering this property. Thank you for putting the character of New Canaan and its residents first, before profit. It speaks to the quality, ethics, and motivations of your company.

  6. That is way too much density for that corner. It is a busy intersection as it is now. It will continue to change the character of our charming village and town just as The Vue has. While the Vur may be considered attractive by some, it is not in keeping with how this town looked previously. Regardless of how attractive the construction will be and that remains to be seen, the mere density will never be reversed once we go down that rabbit hole. Stop it before it is too late.
    For transparency, I do not live near this project but do live in the village.

  7. This property is zoned for single family. The developer Karp is trying to confiscate value from neighboring properties by asking P&Z to change the zoning of the property to multi family. If Karp can get this, why shouldn’t every homeowner zoned for SF in NC be able to do the same and build condos? It’s simply wrong for P&Z to even consider this.

  8. I created this petition to stop this before it gets any further as Karp is ruining the landscape of our town.
    Please sign and forward. I plan to compile a list of all the signatures and comments to give to the BOF and P&Z.

    https://chng.it/HKgYdgwh

    Thank you!

    • I am a new widow and moved to New Canaan to be closer to my family living here and live in a lovely condo and beautiful town. I use every restaurant in town, exercise in the athletic clubs on Main Street, use the YMCA, get my hair done on Main Street, use the pharmacies, the doctors, shop locally for all my clothing, purchase my books at the book store, food shop at the local markets, drink coffee at cafes morning and evening, walk the town, attend church and support it, support the library and never drive a car because I am walking distance everywhere. . This is how all of us live whether we rent or buy at the Vue. We support the town with our taxes and our dollars. The insults here listed describing our home as a monstrosity and faux Disney and what I have heard ever since I arrived here in April 2021 regarding my home at the Vue are unfriendly and misplaced. The people who live in the condos and the apartments are well educated citizens who deserve to be treated with respect, appreciated for their support of the town. All of us here demonstrate by our dollars our love of the businesses and the town and that we are grateful to live and support a beautiful town and to be citizens of this wonderful place. The drawbridge mentality exhibited here is surprisingly old fashioned and frankly quite rude.

      • I don’t think anybody’s passing judgment on the people who live there, they’re passing judgment on the fact that it was built in such a way that it changes the character of the town.

  9. I had to read this article twice to register that it is indeed 100+ apartments on 3+ acres in an area dominated by single family homes.

    Grotesque. Don’t turn New Canaan into the Upper West Side.

  10. Agree. This aggressive overreach by this builder needs to be stopped. It will undoubtedly ruin the charm of New Canaan.

  11. Elected officials, where is your outrage?! We need your leadership as a predatory builder tries to take advantage of 8-30g rules and grossly and unsafely overbuilds in our town; overtaxing our community resources, schools, roads, and environment. What’s the plan?!! The onus shouldn’t be on the citizens.

    Sentiments that this project will ruin town character, violates zoning, etc are true but aren’t valid arguments against mandated affordable housing laws! We don’t need sympathies- we need action and a game plan. Karp owns property all over town so this won’t be the last of it. Passive leadership will fail us all!

  12. (Andrew Ault – here goes, with conditions) This would be a much better location for Waveny’s CCRC than the site Waveny proposed on Oenoke Ridge, but Waveny’s CCRC proposal would only have served multimillionaires. These apartments would be market rate (whatever ‘market rate’ is; the price tag of some of the new condos right in town is astounding). Many of the seniors who signed up for Waveny’s CCRC might like one of these apartments. 1 & 2 bedroom apartments within walking distance of Irwin Park and town (for those healthy enough to walk) are ideal for senior housing (especially on the 1st floor), although the long uphill from Acme to Weed St is too tough for various health problems. Train commuters would also find these apts convenient. It probably would not have that much impact on our schools, as only 8 apts could be configured to pretend that they’re 3-bedroom, although parents with 1-2 children (same sex) could live in 2-bedroom apts. What ruins our town is that developers keep pushing (exceeding) the town’s height restrictions. A 2-story development could be well-screened by trees and setbacks; a 4-story development (on top of a hill, besides), can not. We haven’t seen the plans, but given that he’s trying to jam 102 units onto the site (maximizing his profit, at the cost of our town’s character), given his recent past projects in town, there’s a high probability it will be another massive hulk.

    • This proposal is in a one-acre residential area. Please see Judy Larson’s remarks above.

      However, critical is the vote by BOF whose members serve as the Water Pollution Control Authority to oversee the activities of the Sewer District.

      In October 2021 BOS approved $200k for our town’s consulting engineers to conduct an inflow study of our current waste water system. According to a presentation given to BOS by our Superintendent at the Waste Water Treatment Facility during that October 2021 meeting, the facility reached its maximum capacity of 7MM gallons during recent storms.

    • Barbara if we look at the residential map of the center of New Canaan it is remarkably well done (i.e. managed). You can get a clear understanding of how the town wanted to develop over time. Symmetry exists between the different parts of the core of the town – average and pretty consistent lot and structure sizes is the most visible reflection of this.
      The question before us is do we want to move off this plan and instead go to a more ‘ad-hoc’ type of operation and reply to projects as they come up. Remember each person has their own person view of where things should be, and we are all influenced by our own situation i.e. we have personal bias that drives that view.
      My personal view is the town needs to have a plan that everybody understands and everybody operates under long term (my understanding is we do and that is the zoning regulation). One-off (large) exceptions lead to bad outcomes, and can be subject to worse issues considering the amount of money that is at stake.
      So if we want to change zoning – which is in effect what we would be doing by approving this proposed project – we need to change it for all and provide the opportunity for anybody to develop under similar terms with similar social goals.
      The result of this change for all, not just a few, is that symmetry that the town has worked on for so many decades will be broken. Some people will be ok with that and some will not – that again is a judgement issue.
      If however we just change zoning (or take additional sewer or water flow) for one party and not anybody else – well you know what that can lead to and what kind of behavior it will encourage.

  13. Perhaps we need a new P&Z that is more reflective of the wishes of the citizens of New Canaan rather than individual real estate developers. Time for New Canaan to decide what it wants for now and the future. A vue or a view. Mimi Dickerson

  14. The developer is a very smart operator, who understands how to work the system to his advantage. By the way, there is nothing wrong with that. He knows he will never get a permit for 100 units on three acres, but by focusing the issue on number of units, he causes the discussion to go away from the primary concern, which is whether it should be built in the first place. This would seem to be the perfect time for the First Selectman, who apparently never met a controversy he didn’t want to control, to weigh in. It’s clear that left unchecked, people will want to build on anything they can find. In addition to the Vue, which this builder has already done, one has simply to look at the recent Burtis Avenue proposal, as well as the number of multiple dwellings in the Locust and Forest Ave confluence, to see the creeping concentration. I would be surprised if the developer hasn’t tested the water before launching the project. No sense in spending time on a low probability undertaking. Just the opinion of a 42 year former resident, who lives most of the year in Florida, and as such, knows a little bit about over developing nice places.

  15. I am a 43-year resident of New Canaan, and I agree with all of the negative responses to this proposed project which is entirely inappropriate to the character and charm of this town.

  16. Why do we keep modifying zoning for developers’ gains? Arnold Karp more or less mugged the town by threatening to build low-income housing where the Vue now looms, an outright sky-scraping eyesore and full of $3MM+ apartments, not what I’d call “affordable to seniors.” His new proposed 102 units at Weed and Elm is so out of character for the neighborhood, and adjoining property owners, as to be dumbfounding. He doesn’t even live here anymore, so this is no longer in his backyard. Andy Glazer got shot down trying to build a few houses where the Roger Sherman stands as “too dense” for the site, what makes Karp’s proposal “better” to gain the town’s approval? The system is being gamed, whether through legal obfuscation or otherwise. You let this giveaway go through, and you will be the custodians of our once quaint town’s ruin. Quaint is what made our town what it is, and they’re not making any more New Canaan’s.

  17. Karp is really destroying our town. First that monstrosity on Park, between Maple and Mead, and now this… I wish there was a way to stop this.

  18. As a Stamfordite born & raised, I thoroughly enjoy and value all the surrounding towns. NC Irwin Park, Darien Sellecks Woods, and Stamford Cove Island are just a few of open spaces that many of us around here use yet are under neighborhood & town stress on its land, proximity to other developments, etc.
    I’ve lived in lower Fairfield County in a variety of neighborhoods & types of housing(single family, renter in both owner-occupied and multi-family/units apartment) through my years.
    Sadly, the existence of ‘single family homes(sfh)’ is considered now a bad thing by folks. The value of sfh doesn’t negate the value/need of other kinds of housing, yet that seems to be how this is going.
    SFH contribute to our need for undeveloped land that isn’t paved over and that most likely has at least one tree vs just landscaped bushes along a concrete wall.
    Value your spaces. Once they disappear under pavement, parking spots, dense-pack homes & housing – it never comes back.

  19. As a new resident of only three years in this beautiful town I have quickly come to learn two things:
    1. That the town (and by that I mean its residents and, especially its elected officials) is allowing itself to be held hostage by Mr. Karp.
    2. Graft is alive and well in New Canaan (something everyone knows but is afraid to talk about).

    I have been a resident of lower Fairfield county for 49 years and I very clearly recall how the residents of the town of Wilton banned together and pooled their resources to stop the super 7 highway from running through their town. This is example is one that demonstrates the true meaning of community. The residents of Wilton also had the courage of their convictions and demonstrated this too by putting their money where their mouth is – as the adage goes.

    Although I’ve only here for a short time I am aghast, appalled and saddened at what I see happening in this lovely town – and I put the blame squarely on Mr. Karp and the failings of the town’s governing officials and, yes, (some of) its residents too !

    If Wilton can stop the state then there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON THE RESIDENTS OF THIS TOWN, WITH ALL THE COLLECTIVE FINANCIAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO THEM, CAN’T STOP MR. KARP AS WELL.

    I am of limited income yet I am more than willing to donate whatever time and money I have to help nip this growing scourge in the bud.

    And this is a perfect opportunity to hold our elected officials more accountable as well.

    Please stand up and let your voices be heard!

    United we stand….

    Thank you.

    Mark DiRollo

    • Well said…I lived in New Canaan for 57 years,at first I regretted moving away,but lately after reading what has been happening to the town how it seems to be changing in a bad way,I no longer regret moving…

  20. OMG!!! I just heard about this – it is an atrocity – how can the Town allow
    another condo complex to be built – is this town not crowded enough with all the condos that have been built and are still being built????
    so many cars and traffic in what was once a quiet, charming town! Are we vying for New Canaan condo town??? instead of New Canaan, charming
    town??? We MUST stop this – The Vue is ugly enough – we DO NOT need another eyesore…

  21. Petition update (https://www.change.org/p/stop-karp-s-102-unit-residential-development-in-new-canaan/u/30206318)

    Feb 13, 2022 —

    Thank you so much for your overwhelming support.

    We would love to see 10,000 signatures – Please repost to your Facebook, email, IG, etc. and spread the word!!

    Just a reminder not to click on the donation/pop-up window after you sign. All proceeds go directly to change.org.

    A private go fund me page has been created if you wish to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-new-canaans-weed-street-from-developers

  22. This development would be another travesty. Where is our government? Please step up and do something about it. I’ve lived in New Canaan for 32 years; housing that dense on Weed Street and Elm? Sounds like a city, not a town.

  23. The developer is very smart, and has demonstrated with the Vue that he knows how to work the system. It’s inevitable that we will see continued development, especially with land values increasing. This proposal is classic misdirection. They know they can never build 100 units in that space, but by focusing on the number of units, they cause the attention to migrate away from the core issue, which is that it shouldn’t be there at any size. He has made friends while previously working in an advisory capacity with the Town.

    That’s smart business. His motives are transparent, but certainly not nefarious. The proposal needs o be resisted on the merits (or lack thereof). Using stereotypes to describe the proponent isn’t helpful, and adds nothing to the conversation.

  24. Whoever it was above that defined Karp as a “predatory developer” nailed it. He cares nothing for the character or capacity of this town, and will put multi-unit monstrosities right on the middle of God’s Acre if we let him.

    Not sure how he keeps getting a free pass from the town on these projects, as all P&Z has to do is say no and enforce existing regulations.

    Clearly there is very little support for more projects like this from current tax paying residents.

    Enough is enough.

  25. Mr. Karp pleads that its his investors that are pushing him to do this project. It’s time to unveil who these investors are so that they feel the heat of the people of New Canaan. Many of them are from New Canaan.

  26. I recently moved to a home on Richmond Hill Rd. I work on getting governmental approvals for development projects every day in a very big city down to the southwest, and do agree 100 units on this corner is way out of scale. Based on experience, you won’t kill this project entirely; however, your efforts can seriously modify it and you can extract lots of local benefits from this developer if you coalesce into a unified group and speak with one voice. Petitions don’t really move the needle–organized community groups with financial support and attorneys to fight this at P&Z and appeal the decision to a court if necessary are most successful. Based on this article, it seems like the proposal is in the early stages and can still be modified. Requests for less density (50 units?), larger units, shorter buildings (consistent with 2/3 story heights of neighboring buildings), reduced lot coverage and more open space consistent with the nearby low-scale condo complexes are asks for which compromise could be met. Separately, this population increase will take a toll on nearby public resources (e.g. Irwin Park and the Elm/Weed corner). I’ve been involved with local groups entering into community benefits agreements (CBA’s) with developers that require them to make certain annual payments to upkeep local resources that could be negatively impacted by the development. These new residents will increase usage at Irwin Park and the nearby street network, so entering an agreement with the developer to create a fund that gets replenished to maintain Irwin Park, or money set aside for a sidewalk, traffic light and crosswalks at Weed/Elm, etc. is not unreasonable. Also, to the extent the town needs any community meeting space, gov’t offices, library branches, etc., you could ask the developer to set aside ground floor space in the building for such uses at no cost to the town.

    First and foremost, you need to get organized (beyond a petition) if you want to affect this development. Then, hire local counsel that can represent and guide the group through the process and determine how best to stop the project or, alternatively, get as many concessions as possible from the developer to reduce the density and negative impacts of the proposal. Its a very plausible approach and I’ve seen it lead to successful outcomes elsewhere. Just my two cents.

  27. Eric Freeman on February 10, 2022 at 5:08 pm said:

    “Appears to be the institution of Statute 8-30g (CT Affordable Housing Act). The owner can use this to override local zoning regulations to put multi-family housing almost anywhere in town, subject to having adequate utilities. Unfortunately this parcel seems to have public water and sewer, enabling its use for multi-family. Very unfortunate situation.”

    Yes – The Town of Darien had to buy out a developer who proposed 8-30g projects in Tokeneke and another residential neighorhood. Very hard to stop and it allows the developer to OVERRIDE LOCAL ZONING REGULATIONS.

    • Mimi Findlay, I agree with your assessment. As I see it, the only way for New Canaan to protect this gateway property to an historic residential neighborhood, is to buy it from the developer and control its development. This was done for the Irwin property, and now it makes sense to protect this property as well. New Canaan has to protect itself.

  28. I would encourage the town to fight this development in Any and All ways possible. From a planning and density perspective it makes no sense. Lawyered-up developers are no different than schoolyard bullies and need to be stood up to forcefully.

  29. Many years during some seasons the stamford water reservoir level goes to a concerning low. I was told by one of the top well companies that the water in the wells are down many feet from years back. The amount of water being used in Stamford is up drastically with their new developments as well as the new developments in several towns in our area including New Canaan. The water situation can change drastically in one season. The draining of water contributes to the global warming effect. The land heats up quicker and dries out quicker and prevents reforestation necessary for returning the land to its original surface. This is overlooked with the addition of the Karp proposal and all large developments that needs to be addressed for its impact for many reasons over the future not for its initial changing seasonal warming.

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