First Selectman: Town May Consider Selling Piece of Former Lapham Property Below Merritt Parkway


"Parcel A" of the former Ruth Lapham Lloyd estate is located below the Merritt Parkway, at Talmadge Hill and Lapham Roads. Streetview

Saying revenues would go toward the renovation of Waveny House, New Canaan’s highest elected official said he’s discussed the possible  sale of a disused and disconnected portion of the former of Lapham estate for residential development.

The approximately 6.25 acres located below the Merritt Parkway and on the west side of Lapham Road could be sold for as much as $2 million for two residential building lots, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.

The property known as “Parcel A” is one of several parcels that New Canaan acquired from Ruth Lapham Lloyd in 1967 and is the only one whose deed allows it to be sold, Moynihan told  

The idea of selling the property has been discussed quietly for years, and could become a formal proposal as the Board of Finance has “talked about disposing of assets,” Moynihan said during an interview last week.

“The money would be put into the renovation of Waveny House, so it would be respectful of the fact that it was part of Waveny,” Moynihan said. “But the town gets no use out of that property.”

Lapham Lloyd in 1962 had gifted New Canaan six acres “downhill” from the parcel in question to build the upper levels of the Talmadge Hill Parking Lot, Moynihan said. In 1966, she donated 46 acres to the town for the “new” high school, and then 20 more, and in 1967 the town made its major acquisition of nearly 300 acres that encompasses what most know as Waveny Park. That acquisition was made with a series of deeds that divided up the property into several parcels, including the one in question.  

The property does not currently benefit New Canaan, Moynihan said, and he’s discussed the idea of selling it for years with the leadership of the finance board.

The only type of sale that Darien residents living on the south side of Talmadge Hill Road would stand for is to convert the parcel into two building lots, Moynihan said. (Under the Darien Zoning Regulations, the Talmadge Hill properties that front Parcel A are in the “R-2” or residential two-acre zone.)

A committee currently is studying ADA requirements and preparing to make recommendations about how best to make accessibility upgrades to Waveny House including an elevator, accessible routes and toilet facilities.

9 thoughts on “First Selectman: Town May Consider Selling Piece of Former Lapham Property Below Merritt Parkway

  1. The purpose of Waveny is for all New Canaanites to enjoy it; don’t forget it belongs to all of us, not just the First Selectman and the Board of Finance!
    It’s an amazing asset that most towns do not have. Back in the 1960’s our forward thinking town government understood its value. It’s very special to be able to walk the trails, or be at the house the playing fields or even watching the fireworks without seeing other houses, a housing development or even senior housing. It’s a wonderful thing!
    How is chipping away at the property something only being discussed between our First Selectman and the Board of Finance?? The recently approved ADA changes to Waveny are actually at the First Selectman’s direction. Given Waveny’s historic provenance, the town could apply for a waiver. Now this renovation has become an excuse for selling off parcels of the property?
    Our BOF is basically recommending we sell our principal rather than reducing our spending? What accountant would recommend that and in this low housing market?
    Thank god for Darien! Otherwise our Selectman and BOF would be considering yet another condo village with faux walls!

  2. Our first selectman has a pretty narrow view of what “benefits New Canaan.” Between wanting to pave soccer fields and now this, it’s obvious he sees no value in nature for nature’s sake. Pieces of land like this “benefit” New Canaan a lot more than putting buildings up everywhere there’s a green space.
    Please, get back to the two things you promised to do if elected – fix the lumberyard lot wait list and get good cell coverage for the entire town. Stop trying to develop every green space we have.

  3. Never knew that this land was there — Kevin is a genius —
    When the gift was given maybe there should have been a fund
    with the gift –so that the taxpayers did not have to pay for repairs
    not much upkeep on the land — the house is another thing all
    together – we should have budgeted for the repairs over many years
    but we didn’t –sell the land !!!

  4. Your comments are spot-on, Neele. Arnold will be so happy when Kevin sells 6.25 acres of Town park land for just $2MM in order to “renovate” Waveny House.

    Let’s stop this nonsense and stop coming up with more creative ways (or excuses) to spend taxpayer money. We all know Arnold wants the Vine Cottage and the Police Station.

    Please, Kevin, just focus on LESS spending. Read James Basch’s March 28, 2019 Op-Ed and the comments from NewCanaanites.

    • Betty Lovastik why do you seem to think that you have any idea on what my firm’s commercial interests might or might not be. Why don’t you stick to your business and leave me out of future comments?

  5. Excellent idea! The land is of no use to town and doubt if any New Canaanite has
    Ever Set foot on that land as almost impossible to walk it due to growth and dead trees etc. as well as the location!
    Sell the land , fix the Lapham cottage and
    Pay some debt with the rest!

    • Apparently one plus acre was of use to the Town when it expanded the parking lots for the Talmadge Hill railroad station. The Town just approved $50,000 for “open space” in next year’s budget and deferred an additional $1.2 million to the following year for parking lot land acquisition. The Town should keep the remaining 6 acres for future needs.

  6. I am in favor of selling the land, but do the proceeds necessarily have to go to Waveny House or can they be put toward reducing our town’s debt? While some may cry out and demand we keep every single woodlot vacant in perpetuity, it isn’t necessarily the worst idea to have two additional developed and tax paying parcels in town to generate future revenue. Currently the land is not part of Waveny Park nor is it being utilized for anything in its location wedged between Talmadge Hill Rd and the Merritt. I say if someone wants to buy it, have at it. While open land is nice, our town needs some additional revenue. We have 2 and 4 acre zoning, private land donations to the land trust, and parks to keep our town green.

  7. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble speaking of debt reduction above…. BUT….

    Say the Town gets optimistic $2MM proceeds from this one time sale – it reduces the $150MM? estimated Town Debt by only 1.33%. Worth losing this land near Waveny Park? The land is more valuable to the look/feel of the Town and attracting new residents to a natural setting and future options. Much of the land is wetland and was the site of the Lapham Family Horse Stables and an old historic home – which would be an interesting archeology dig (possible activity for the Land Trust/Conservation Commission)?

    As far as more tax revenues each year from 2 houses – I would rather have the Town keep the land – and reduce 1 head count in Town of New Canaan – in any department – instead of selling 6 acres of Waveny open space to get $40-50,000 in tax income a year. The Town would save that in salary (and actually more expense with no healthcare/pension) by reducing one head count to save that land.

    Besides….. Waveny House is town a money generator – so the funds to upkeep and improve it should be a non-issue. From prior financial reports – seems like annual rental of Waveny generates about $250,000 a year – that money should go to any building renovations – since the rental causes the wear and tear on the building and any improvements help the rental. Rental Rates:

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