Letter: In Support of Waveny’s Oenoke Ridge Proposal 

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Dear Editor,

Since I was not given the opportunity to speak at the Planning & Zoning meeting [Tuesday] night, I am writing to express my personal support for the proposed project for a Waveny CCRC on Oenoke Ridge Road.

There are many considerations for approving the proposed CCRC or not allowing the proposed project to go forward.

I am a twenty-year resident of New Canaan and an active community volunteer. My husband and I have raised our three children in New Canaan and are very grateful to be members of this wonderful community,

What I did not hear mention of at last night’s Planning & Zoning hearing was the predicament many persons in my generation face when trying to care for their elderly parents and relatives. There are very limited resources for elder care in New Canaan, and we need to support those resources we have.

The reason I am in favor of such a project is based on my personal experience in caring for my father here in Connecticut a few years ago. When my father became legally blind as a result of developing macular degeneration and a form of dementia, he could no longer live independently in his home in California where he had resided for 50 years. As his eldest daughter, it became my responsibility to find an appropriate residence that was close to my busy family and me.

We researched many facilities in the area and ultimately decided on Brighton Gardens in nearby Stamford where I could look in on him almost daily and bring him to our home for Sunday dinners while he was well enough to visit. Waveny Life Care was not an option as The Inn was full with a long waiting list as was Waveny Care Center. As my father’s health declined I assisted with all aspects of his care including any necessary outside doctor’s visits and other errands that were important to him. After some time and many visits to the hospital my father later required skilled nursing. Again I tried to get him into Waveny for care but there was no room, and I had to turn elsewhere. Waveny was the most convenient to our home but unfortunately was not available.

There are many others in my generation who need to take care of elderly and declining parents and loved ones who want to utilize Waveny LifeCare for the needs of their families. Waveny LifeCare is nationally recognized as a top facility providing quality health care, and we, as a community, should do everything we can to help shore up its finances and its future as it does a great service to our community. Allowing Waveny LifeCare to build a CCRC would expand its model and ensure its long term viability. The nonprofit world is a difficult environment with increasing needs and decreasing financial support.

While I have no expertise in the law, architecture, or zoning regulations, I cannot but help to be impressed by the opponents of this project. The objections put forth by the neighbors surrounding the proposed project are fierce, loud and well organized.

Too often in our town the immediate neighbors who don’t want things to change right where they live reject ideas for positive change. As a result progress that is needed is not allowed to happen.

This current project would be a win-win because it would both support the futures of Waveny Care Center and The New Canaan Historical Society and Museum. We need to support our town, its economy, and our institutions. One way to do this is to help keep our seniors here in New Canaan rather than watching them move to nearby communities who offer the services they need.

I fear that if we cannot come together as a community to better provide for the needs of our citizens we will not progress either economically or as a community. Those who oppose this proposal should step up to suggest a viable alternative so that the needs of our community as a whole can be met.

Sincerely Yours,

Christina Fagerstal

7 thoughts on “Letter: In Support of Waveny’s Oenoke Ridge Proposal 

  1. I completely agree with Christina Fagerstal’s well thought out letter. I have been in the same situation and continue to be with my mother. Caring for aging population is a reality in all our lives.

  2. Well-stated, Christina. Thank you for your calm, dispassionate appraisal of this CCRC proposal. Seniors are good to have around. New Canaan can deal with change that comes with progress. Waveny LifeCare is a world-class organization.

  3. Although a true CCRC near Waveny Career Center would be an asset to New Canaan, this project is just too big, too grand and in the wrong spot. It looks like a fancy Hilton Garden Inn shoe-horned into a one family home lot.

    I have been to every meeting regarding the Oenoke location and could not disagree more with the shifting rationales as presented by proponents of the proposed site. Most important, it is NOT a true CCRC–it is much more akin to many existing condos in town– with extra amenities (movie theater, restaurant, etc.) I believe a more suitable location could be found if the Waveny group really wanted to spend the time and money to find one. But, it appears that the Waveny group has found low-priced lots that will maximize the “financial” benefit to the Waveny group and the Historic Society and does not want to find a more appropriate site.

    This project will not provide the kind of assisted living capacity New Canaan seniors need and want. It will adversely impact St. Marks, God’s Acre and the neighboring residents at Heritage Hill and close Oenoke Ridge homes. The legal impediments were clearly stated at the P&Z meeting on Tuesday. I hope the P&Z commission agrees.

    • Totally Agree with your letter. It isn’t a for or against problem. We
      Need assisted living near by for New Canaan citizens, and their relatives but the Hotel idea
      Plunked down inside a tight space in God’s Acre is not solution.
      Search for another space..change the design more in keeping with
      The New England village look, pare down the extras,…and people
      Will behind the idea of a asst. living, done the right way. Pamela McFeely

  4. Christina, you have voiced a concern in New Canaan. There are things that could make the facility more amenable to the town, including it less prominent, but that said, there appears to be a need for a facility like this in New Canaan.

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