Letter Opposed to Proposed Retirement Complex on Oenoke Ridge: ‘New Canaan Is a Village’


To the Editor, 

I am writing to encourage members of our town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, leaders of our community and other concerned citizens to reconsider the proposed location for a retirement complex at 65 Oenoke Ridge Road. As a lifelong resident of this community, whose father was the founding president of Waveny Care Center and whose mother proposed the first plan for assisted living to the town of New Canaan back in the 80’s, concern for our aging citizens and their quality of life is in my blood. In the past I’ve served on Waveny Care Center’s Board of Directors and I am currently on the Advisory Board to Staying Put in New Canaan. I am in full support of a plan to create housing for seniors, particularly if it offers graduated levels of care, but I am not in support of the proposed plan that would be located at 65 Oenoke Ridge Road. 

As the gateway into and out of downtown, the campus that exists between and around the Historical Society, St. Michael’s and St. Mark’s would not just be compromised, but destroyed. By allowing the proposed facility to be built at 65 Oenoke Ridge, we’d be breaking the rare and beautiful boundary that distinguishes downtown from out of town. New Canaan is a village. Please don’t let it sprawl into this historic, peaceful area. Please don’t rewrite the rules to allow this. 

I would hope that the leaders of this community, along with town officials, could come together and re-channel the energy that’s going into this current fight to come up with a better location 3⁄4 one that does not shoehorn something into the wrong space. I understand that certain locations were turned down in the past, but that does not prevent us from reexamining them. There is a better place for this. 


Gigi Brush Priebe 

6 thoughts on “Letter Opposed to Proposed Retirement Complex on Oenoke Ridge: ‘New Canaan Is a Village’

  1. Bravo, I agree 100%. Both with the need for additional senior citizen living accommodations, …assisted living and simply smaller living units…but also my opposition to the proposed location on Oenoke Ridge Road.
    The complex will be so large that it will be shoehorned sideways onto the lot.
    I would and have suggested the old lumber yard as a possible location to be developed. One reason for opposition is summarized by the statement that some neighbors opposed that development. I also suggested Irwin as a possible location but learned that the town paid $2o million for land with serious restrictions. When I asked why the town would do that…..the neighbors liked the idea. Apparently small groups of neighbors can dictate whether New Canaan can find viable solutions to some of our issues.
    A second point of opposition to developing the lumber yard was the $20 million to build a structure to maintain parking. While I am sure we could identify an alternative approach I am struck by the irony that we can find $20 mil. for a dog park but not senior citizen living. Apparently we have our priorities.
    And don’t get me started on the abysmal train service to New Canaan. We did add 20 parking spots while ignoring the much larger issue.
    A last thought….Improving cell service and the outcry over the proposed cell tower on private property in northeastern New Canaan. Fortunately that decision is controlled by the state and not a small group of neighbors. ( Generally I am not a supporter of state controlled decisions since they generally hurt New Canaan)
    If we do not address the glaring needs in New Canaan, we will continue to watch our seniors leave, taking with them the rich heritage and commitment to our town as well as their resources. People won’t move to New Canaan because the train service is deteriorating or they require cell service. With a net impact of continuing the weak real estate market and falling real estate prices.
    Where is the leadership that addresses the real issues other than a couple parking spots and perhaps cameras in Waveny. Nice to do but not the real issues we face.

  2. New Canaan does not need another ugly, looming construction project (such as the detested Merritt Village) destroying the look and feel of our downtown area. There is a need for senior housing, but there is no need for it to be jammed into a charming downtown site.

  3. I appreciate all the debate on this complex and while I appreciate the sentiments, I would offer a different point of view. The nostalgia that has made New Canaan great may be at a needed turning point – I think about some of the facts laid out in recent articles on this site – New Canaan population is essentially flat and property values have decreased more then other “first tier suburbs” – that is a trajectory that doesn’t bode well to a town’s future.

    It seems to me that part of the shift in many successful town design is encouraging density(land is tight) – which has all kinds of benefits – lots of new tax payers in a small area (a pleasant boom for a town re-evaluated and facing incredible debt burdens but not reducing cost), increased population to shop at amenities (brings in more business to the town), and reduces the overall environmental impact of projects.

    While I appreciate the concerns about the large border development, I think the future sees density, and when thoughtfully done it is good for the town as a whole. We need density to bring in more people to pay for all the things that actually keep New Canaan a first tier suburb – high quality schools, responsive government – including fire and police. When these things go, the view at the border will be less important, in my opinion, because people will be driving by to look for different places to live.

  4. We need to keep New Canaan the beautiful quaint town it has been for years! Many towns change and the appeal for living there is often lost! Don’t let that happen to New Canaan. Oenoke Ridge is not the place to build this apartment building. It is just another step in making this town less bucolic! Please vote no to Waveny CCRC on Oenoke Ridge!!

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