Patrick Barnard

Recent Articles

ZBA Green-Lights New Two-Family Home on East Avenue

The Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved two variances allowing for the construction of a two-family home at 72 East Ave.—however, the project still needs approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission in order to move forward. William Panella plans to raze an existing 1,400-square-foot home on the property, where his late mother Mary had lived, and remove a non-compliant detached garage in the rear in order to build a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. However, in order to get a special permit for the project he needed relief from a requirement that the property have a minimum of 100 feet of frontage (it has only 93 feet) and that the site allow for a conceptual 100-foot diameter “circle” of open area where there is no building footprint (the “circle” is just short at 97 feet) —both of which were granted at the ZBA meeting. The application was continued from the board’s October meeting after some board members expressed concerns over the driveway shown in a preliminary site plan. The initial plan showed the driveway running from East Avenue all the way to the rear of the property, where it was to connect with the parking lot for a new residential and commercial development currently underway at 23 Vitti St. Continue Reading →

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Committee Mulls Whether Town Should Continue As Owner of Playhouse

Does it make sense for the town to continue to own the New Canaan Playhouse building downtown, especially considering that it needs more than $2 million in repairs? That’s a topic that members of the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee broached during their most recent meeting at Town Hall. The town acquired the building at 89 Elm St.—which also includes street-level retail space and second-floor offices—in August 2007 for about $2.2 million. However, officials have been mulling in recent years whether it makes sense for the town to continue to lease the facility to BowTie Cinemas and have it operate as a private movie theater, considering the major capital investment needed to make it safe, structurally sound and ADA-compliant. The figure three years ago was pegged at $2.1 million (major line items at the 1923 building include partial roof and brick exterior replacement, elevator and ADA-compliant wheelchair access, new gutters and drainage system and new layout for its sprinkler system). Continue Reading →

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Superintendent: School Administration ‘Open’ to Relocating to Town-Owned Facility

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi on Thursday told officials that the school administration is open to the idea of relocating its offices from leased commercial space on Locust Street to Waveny House, Irwin Park or possibly another town-owned facility, provided that the space is configured properly for administrative offices. Luizzi told members of the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee during a special meeting that although the town paid to have the current Board of Education offices renovated about a year and half ago and that he and his staff are very happy with those renovations, “we are not tied to any physical location.”

“But it is important that wherever we are, it is structured to facilitate the work that we have to do,” Luizzi said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. He added that although Waveny park and Irwin Park “are the most beautiful places on Earth … it is about the work for us.”

“We are open to that discussion … but we need to discuss what the structure would look like, what it would be,” Luizzi said. “I have a concern… or at least I’ve seen … places that aren’t purposely designed for the work, where it looks like everyone is working out of a home office. And as the New Canaan Board of Education, I feel that the professional piece is important for us.”

Should the idea of relocating the school administration gain traction (for now it is just an idea for discussion, not a formal proposal), Luizzi said the main thing the town will need to consider is how much it would cost to renovate Waveny House in order to properly accommodate the Board of Education offices—and whether the cost of such renovations might exceed the cost of new construction elsewhere in town. Continue Reading →

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District Wants To Use ‘Outback’ Building for Alternative Special Ed Program

Officials from New Canaan Public Schools on Thursday discussed publicly for the first time a proposal that would see the long-vacant Outback building behind Town Hall used to house a new alternative special education program. During a meeting of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee, held at Town Hall, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi revealed that the school administration has for the past year been developing a new alternative special education program designed to bring out-placed students back in-district. The goal in developing the program, he said, is to improve special education in New Canaan and to realize potential operational savings. He told the committee—which is charged with reviewing the uses, physical condition and capital needs of more than 40 town-owned structures (not including school buildings)—that the former teen center would be an ideal location for such a program because it is the right size and centrally located in town. “[There] is the possibility of that building being used for students in the future—as a way to house a small alternative program that we are discussing at the Board of Ed, internally,” Luizzi told the committee members. Continue Reading →

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ZBA Grants Height Relief for Addition on Lincoln Drive Home

The Zoning Board of Appeals at its most recent meeting granted two variances allowing for the construction of an addition at 37 Lincoln Drive. Homeowners Robert and Catherine Pangrossi are planning to construct a 2.5-story addition, as well as a second floor addition over an existing garage and a rear wood deck, at their 1966-built Colonial. But they needed a variance for the height of the dormers, which will be about 33 feet in the rear of the house, due to a slope on the property, as opposed to the maximum allowable height of 30 feet. They also requested a setback variance of the ZBA because the addition, as planned, will encroach very slightly into a side yard setback. Robert Pangrossi, who came before the board Oct. Continue Reading →

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