Letter to the Editor


NewCanaanite.com recently received the following letter to the editor. Email editor@newcanaanite.com to have a letter published here.


I write in opposition to the St. Luke’s School, construction of a 200-car above-ground parking garage. The St. Luke’s School is located in a 4-acre wooded residential zone at 377 North Wilton Road. The surrounding area is a four-acre residential zone which is a quiet wooded neighborhood that houses many historical mid-century modern homes.

The construction of a 200-car above-ground parking garage, in a residential zone is:

  • An abuse of the special permit,
  • Will enhance the draining of inadequately treated runoff into Class A Wetlands and ground water that feeds the well water of the surrounding residential area. The structure will have a overhang over the wetlands causing drainage into the wetlands, and
  • Is Illegal.

When I purchased my home the St Luke’s School was a small unnoticeable institution. Today, 27 years later it has sprawled into a massive footprint the size of a college campus, as large as Norwalk Hospital. The school built a football field without a permit up to the property line of an abutting residence. The Town of New Canaan issued a permit after-the-fact to the school. The school constructed a new music building and athletic building. Athletic fields have been constructed utilizing P5 toxic turf. No residential property is allowed such massive coverage (building envelope) especially in a wetlands and watercourse sensitive area.

It is not the residential homeowners who purchased a home next to a school, as argued by the school’s attorneys, but a small unnoticeable school that purchased property in a residential zone and illegally abused its special permit to erect a college campus in a residentially zoned “historic” neighborhood in complete disregard for the surrounding residential neighborhood that is home to many historic mid-century modern homes.

When I moved into my home in 1997 and throughout many years I could walk up Soundview Lane and see the Milky Way at night. Now due to the light pollution emanating from the St Luke’s School one can hardly observe any stars.

The expansion of the campus has resulted in a massive increase in traffic with many young drivers speeding and disobeying traffic laws.

It is not the residents of New Canaan who want this illegal expansion but the residents of Westport, Darien, Greenwich, other Connecticut towns and Westchester County, N.Y. who send their teenagers to the St Luke’s School. Why does our Planning & Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands allow itself to be bullied by outside attorneys and non-area residents who have no skin in the game? No other town in Fairfield County would allow this garage, especially with an overhang into the wetlands, why should New Canaan?

Zoning Regulations pertaining to residential areas are written to protect the residential zone. Not to be re-written at the whim of attorneys who threaten lawsuits.

St. Luke’s School has also been utilizing shell companies to buy property in the residential zone with the goal of re-zoning our historical residential neighborhood. The Town of New Canaan and Inland Wetlands has an obligation to -protect the rights of its taxpaying constituency. The St Luke’s School is a tax exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempted from local property tax pursuant to C.G.S. ¶ 12-81 of the Connecticut General Statues. The expansion and subsequent planned acquisition of residential properties will negatively affect all taxpayer constituents in New Canaan. Our property values are at risk. Our health is at risk with contamination to our drinking well water and aquifers. St Luke’s School is at a topographically high point in New Canaan and water flows downward. Why is New Canaan allowing St. Luke’s School to build, build, build and contaminate our wetlands and drinking well water when other towns say no?

The garage will drain PFAS and inadequately treated runoff into Class A wetlands and well water. A 200-car above-ground parking garage in a 4-acre residential zone is not just an illegal interpretation of New Canaan’s inland wetlands and watercourses code, it is in opposition to New Canaan’s Plan of Conservation and Development. In fact the athletic fields at St Luke’s School are composed of P5 Turf. The State of Connecticut is currently suing the chemical company manufacturer of the P5 Turf as the material is toxic. The enhanced drainage from the garage with a overhang over the existing wetlands will enhance the drainage of these toxins into our wetlands, aquifers, Norwalk reservoir, wells and drinking water.

Why cannot Town Hall say no and demand that St Luke’s build a second campus in a non-residential zone and non-wetlands sensitive zone, not adjacent to the Norwalk reservoir? Greenwich has done so, protected its residential constituents from wetlands and drinking water contamination. The Brunswick School is on their third campus and Greenwich Academy has an upper and lower campus.

Town Hall must stop taking orders from residents of other towns and outside attorneys. Town Hall must  protect its residential zoning, its taxpaying constituents, its building code, its residential property values, inland wetlands and watercourses and Plan of Conservation and Development.

Town Hall, Planning & Zoning and Inland Wetlands—just say no.

Roy A. Abramowitz

7 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Clearly you did a thorough investigation of the key points surrounding this application! The outcome of this application not only impacts the St. Luke’s neighborhood but opens the door for special permits in residential neighborhoods.

    NOTE: This application will be on tonight’s [Tuesday, March 26] P+Z agenda. The meeting starts at 7pm in Town Hall and is available via zoom:

    Meeting ID: 861 5464 2456
    Passcode: 878566

    comments/letters can be emailed to our Town Planner: Sarah.Carey@newcanaanct.gov
    cc: Lola.Sweeney@newcanaanct.gov

  2. The garage is and should stay illegal. What’s crazy is that a private school has proposed a broad amendment to all of New Canaan. A 200 car parking garage isn’t a “retrofit” of a field. Does New Canaan want to be the first town in Fairfield County to allow parking structures in residential neighborhoods? If this goes through we’ll see a proliferation of 10-15 car garages with tennis courts on the roof.

  3. With all due respect to the hard working volunteers on the P&Z commission, it’s important that they bear in mind who benefits and loses when an organization like St. Luke’s embarks on yet another project.

    The school is a non-profit, paying minimal taxes, and the majority of those who would reap the benefits of this project live in other towns. The many detriments – traffic, noise, pollution, etc. -accrue to the community of New Canaan taxpayers who live near the school. Yet it appears that the inclination of the town is to say “yes” when organizations that service a majority of non-residents attempt to expand, and it becomes the affected taxpayers responsibility to prove why it will reduce their quality of life. Frankly, that set of priorities is backwards.

    During the most recent P&Z discussion, part of the discussion about traffic compared the potential traffic coming in and out of the garage to Yankee Stadium. This project will indeed be much smaller, but a stadium-style parking garage is plainly inappropriate in a 4 acre residentially zoned neighborhood.

    And by the way, by raising the field, which is currently in a bit of a natural bowl, it will likely create far more noise for the surrounding neighbors. But again, we pay taxes – so what if we have to deal with much more noise in our yards, right?

      • Mike Thank you for that info. So 21.8% of students are from New Canaan and 78.2% reside outside New Canaan. Enough said. 80% of non-residents are being k-towed at the expense of tax paying New Canaan residents. Steve is on point. Not the next Station to Heaven to this residential area.

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