Police Commission Chairmanship Turns Over at Heated Meeting

The appointed municipal body that oversees the New Canaan Police Department elected a new chair Wednesday night during an awkward organizational meeting. Paul Foley, a member of the Police Commission since December 2013, was elected chairman by a 2-1 vote following a heated exchange between his predecessor in the role and the town’s highest elected official. 

Sperry DeCew, a member of the Police Commission since June 2012, had served the past two years as chair. 

As per section 15-3 of the Town Charter, the three-member Commission meets “promptly after” Dec. 1—typically in January—for the election of its own officers “at the call of the First Selectman.” 

As First Selectman Kevin Moynihan opened the organizational meeting, held during the Commission’s regular meeting at police headquarters, DeCew said, “Let’s get on with this circus. Nominations for Commission chairman.”

Commissioner Jim McLaughlin—himself appointed one year ago to the Police Commission—nominated Foley. DeCew called for any other nominations.

Elm Street Poised To Regain Lost Parking Spaces by Playhouse

Advised that a 25-foot buffer doesn’t apply to the area because it’s not an “intersection” under the state’s definition, town officials say they plan to re-stripe parking spaces on either side of the crosswalk in front of The Playhouse on Elm Street. Public Works Director Tiger Mann said plans include a “bump-out” to prevent vehicles from parking too close to the crosswalk and “protect pedestrians.”

“So we actually kind of kill two birds with one,” Mann said during a Jan. 9 meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held at Town Hall. “It’s not actually just putting the parking spaces back.”

It wasn’t immediately clear just how many spaces New Canaan will regain once the plans are approved by the Police Commission. 

The town had lost a total of 13 spaces in the summer of 2018 after a town resident put New Canaan on formal notice about its noncompliance with a 1949 state law that prohibits parking within 25 feet of a marked crosswalk at an intersection. After repaving Elm Street, which has four crosswalks between Main and Park, the town redrew parking spaces in observance of the law.

Parks & Rec: Kiwanis Park ‘Is Not Fully Being Used’

Attendance at Kiwanis increased by more than 40% last summer and the park potentially could more than cover costs associated with its operation, officials said last week. Kiwanis Park “is not fully being used for what it should be,” according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Rona Siegel. “The facility is incredible inside that concession,” Siegel said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Jan. 8 at Town Hall. “It is restaurant-grade for the summer and spring months.

Selectmen Approve $500,000 for New Fire Rescue Truck

The Board of Selectmen last week approved a $500,000 contract with a Watertown-based company to build a new rescue truck for the New Canaan Fire Department. 

Bid proposals that came in for the new truck ranged higher than the budgeted half million dollar figure, so the department removed about $41,000 in modifications to the vehicle—some of which it hopes to re-add in the future, according to Fire Chief Jack Hennessey. 

“Everything we cut out we thought we needed,” including a 360-degree camera, Hennessey said during the selectmen’s regular meeting, held Jan. 7 at Town Hall. “But we needed to make our number so we had to delete things. That was a lower-priority thing so we had to take as much stuff truck off of the truck as we could. There might be money in future budgets in other lines that we might be able to put some of these things back in.