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

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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‘A Failure of Town Leadership’: Audit Committee Critical of How NCHS Fields Projects Unfolded

Though the donors and volunteers who gave time, money and energy to the partially completed fields projects at New Canaan High School deserve sincere thanks, the town also saw failures on multiple levels that led to undisclosed cost overruns, the chairman of the Audit Committee said Wednesday night. There were “adequate controls in place which should have helped avoid the issues and surprises that we had,” Bill Parrett told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting. “This is really important to understand, because if there were not adequate controls, we would have had material weaknesses from an accounting standpoint and having material weaknesses from an accounting standpoint would be very difficult to rectify in a short period. It looks to us that the issues are more about bad management—possibly waste—versus poor controls. There was a failure of town leadership, department leadership, boards, committees and councils, in our judgment.”

He spoke during an update for the Council on the Audit Committee’s review of how the projects at NCHS—rebuilding of a turf field, creation of two more and total overhaul of the track—came to cost New Canaan an estimated $800,000 more than originally thought. Continue Reading →

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Officials Uphold Three Tickets for Downtown Worker Who Parked Outside Shop All Day

Parking officials last week voted unanimously to uphold three tickets totaling $105 for a downtown retail shop worker who said she inadvertently had parked all day outside the Main Street business. During an exchange that became testy at times, Jamie Friend told members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting that she parked in front of Wave on Main Street on a Saturday morning “because I had a bunch of things to bring into the store where I work, and once I got into work it was crazy.”

“It was busy and I completely forgot that my car was parked there,” she said while appealing her tickets at the commission’s Nov. 9 meeting, held in Town Hall. “So I didn’t leave until the end of the day at 6 o’clock and I had three tickets on my car so I was pretty upset because that is pretty much my whole day’s wages.”

Commissioners Keith Richey, the body’s chairman, Pam Crum and Peter Ogilvie voted to uphold the tickets—$25 for the initial overtime parking violation and then $40 each for two subsequent violations. Parking on Main and Elm, and other downtown streets, is 90 minutes though it will change to two hours once new signs are installed, following a recent decision. Continue Reading →

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Town to Ferris Hill Road Homeowner: Screen or Move Winterized Boat in Driveway by Thursday

A Ferris Hill Road homeowner has until Thursday to move, screen or otherwise make less conspicuous a winterized boat now parked in his driveway in violation of local regulations, officials say. After that, New Canaan’s zoning enforcement officer will kickstart “the process toward compliance” with a formal notice of violation, according to email correspondence obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a Freedom of Information Act request. The wrapped boat at 42 Ferris Hill Road first came onto the radar of Planning & Zoning staff last December after a neighbor complained about its location, prompting the town to issue a municipal notice of violation. Ultimately, last year, it was moved to a boatyard, but was flagged again last week by a zoning enforcement officer with the town, according to an email sent to the Ferris Hill homeowner, Geoffrey Marshall. Marshall’s initial response to the town’s question of whether it would return to the boatyard, according to the FOIA’d emails, was: “Yes as soon a my son returns from Puerto Rico he is a ER dr. He will either move it or put up a screen. Continue Reading →

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