Government

We’re writing not only about those municipal bodies that all local media outlets cover—New Canaan Board of Selectmen, Town Council, Department of Public Works—but also the Public Tree Board, Traffic-Calming Work Group, Parking Commission and Park & Recreation Commission.

Recent Articles

Second Neighbor Files Suit Following P&Z’s Conditioned Approval of Grace Farms Application

A second set of Grace Farms neighbors this month filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the town’s decision to grant the organization an amended zoning permit that allow for wide-ranging activities on its Lukes Wood Road campus. The New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission’s heavily conditioned Sept. 26 approval of Grace Farms’ application was made “illegally, arbitrarily, and in an abuse of its discretion” in several ways, according to an appeal filed on behalf of Danita and Paul Ostling of Smith Ridge Road. The application did not conform to various requirements of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, according a complaint filed Nov. 1 in state Superior Court in Stamford, including a section that outlines what is allowed by Special Permit in those regs (see page 42 here) and others that lay out the criteria and considerations for making a decision on such applications (page 170). Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Like Being a Little Bit Pregnant’: Officials Uphold $75 Ticket for Woman Who Parked ‘A Little Bit’ in Crosswalk

Officials are upholding a $75 fine for a woman who parked her car such that it obstructed a pedestrian crosswalk at Main Street and East Avenue while she ran into the now-closed Turkish coffee shop there for a cup of joe. Though the motorist, Ying Emma Zhang, told members of the Parking Commission that her car was just “a little bit” into the crosswalk, that claim alone has no bearing on the violation committed, officials said. “Unfortunately, in the parking world, it’s like being a little bit pregnant,” Chairman Keith Richey said during Zhang’s appeal hearing, held Nov. 9 at Town Hall. Zhang said she incurred the ticket more than one month prior to the hearing. Continue Reading →

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Audit Committee Chairman: New Canaan Should Review Bonding Practices

New Canaan’s bonded debt is the highest among all neighboring towns, the chairman of the Audit Committee said Wednesday night. What the town has bonded and plans to fund through bonding—typically large capital projects and equipment—would come, together, to nearly 100 percent of its revenues, Bill Parrett told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting. “It was a surprise to me,” Parrett said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The question of just what New Canaan funds through bonding is “a significant issue,” according to Parrett, because though the IRS has rules and regulations around the practice, “that should not govern what we do as a town, as to what we in fact bond or don’t bond. “And when you bond something, as you all know, that is borrowing money±—sort of like a home equity loan, you have to pay it back … and we bonded quite a bit over last couple of years. Continue Reading →

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Officials To Renew $10 Fee for Commuters Seeking Parking Permits To Remain on Waitlists

Town officials last week voted to institute again a $10 fee for commuters seeking to retain their places on waitlists for coveted municipal parking permits in New Canaan. Following approval from the selectmen, the New Canaan Parking Bureau last fall sent out 1,281 letters to those on any of three waiting lists for the Richmond Hill, Talmadge Hill and Lumberyard Lots, according to Parking Superintendent Stacy Miltenberg. The idea was to “clean up” the lists by dropping anyone who had moved out of town or otherwise had no reason to remain on them, and it worked, Miltenberg said. “This year, 636 [letters] are going out,” she told members of the Parking Commission at their Nov. 9 meeting, held at Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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Garden Club, Landscape Architect at Odds Over Future of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

New Canaan should pause before approving a plan that would see a formal garden at Waveny house changed from its original design, according to local landscape architects. Located directly east of the balcony out back of the 1912-built Waveny house, the parterre garden is “the most important formal garden in town,” an “historically significant” area that “deserves a great deal of thought before it gets radically changed,” Keith Simpson told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting. “That configuration of the boxwood hedge has been there for over 100 years and I think it has stood the test of time,” Simpson said at the Nov. 8 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “And also, the Olmsted office is probably the best known firm in the history of landscape architecture in the country. Continue Reading →

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