Letters to the Editor


NewCanaanite.com recently received the following letter(s) to the editor. Please send letters to editor@newcanaanite.com for publication here.


For those of you who are following the discussion on affordable housing, and the town’s application for a 4-year affordable housing moratorium you will know that the town is getting ready to submit an application for the next moratorium, and that town residents could have petitioned for a public meeting on the matter.

The town of New Canaan could have filed for this moratorium extension in October 2021, but this was not done. In February 2022 a project for 102 units on the corner of Weed and Elm was filed using the opening created by the expiration of New Canaan’s previous affordable housing moratorium.

Since February, we as residents of the area of Weed and Elm, have been so appreciative of the support we have received from other town residents. We have more than 1,200 people on the Save Weed Street Facebook page, and close to 3,000 people who have signed a petition in support of our neighborhood and town, and many who have contributed countless volunteer hours and provided significant financial support as well. We have been deeply touched and heartened by the outpouring of support, and we cannot thank people enough.

What has been missing throughout this process is a thorough and detailed understanding of why the town did not file for a moratorium extension back in October when it could have. The town has known since 2017 that the original moratorium was going to expire in June of 2021, and the town knew in Q2 2021 that the State was not going to give us moratorium relief. Based on this, we are surprised the town did not move with more urgency to protect its residents and homeowners.

The information that we have received about our questions regarding the decision making behind this delay has not been at the quality level one would expect from a town such as New Canaan. Having a public meeting about the moratorium extension would have allowed residents to again ask for such details. The downside of such a meeting is it would have delayed further the filing for a new moratorium, exposing even more residents to the unbelievable situation we have been living through and shouldering over the last months. Town officials asked us not to submit the petition for this public meeting as it would delay the filing of this moratorium.

We have asked the town to have an independent, detailed investigation of the facts surrounding the lack of immediate filing of new application for the 8-30g moratorium extension in October 2021. By this we mean, an investigation conducted by people other than those directly involved – it could be by Town Council, a select committee of town elected officials, or lawyers. The time period this investigation should cover should commence in 2017, when the last moratorium was issued and continue through today and be comprehensive in nature. A report should be issued to the public so the town and its residents can learn from this and ensure it is not repeated. 

Keeping a “rolling” 8-30g moratorium remains the highest articulated strategy by the town when it comes to dealing with affording housing and as such, we as residents need to understand why it was not given priority in the past and what is changing for the future.

Giacomo Landi and Liz Moore 

24 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor

  1. If you examine the statute, none of the explanations as to why the moratorium was let to expire provided to date by town officials hold water. The citizenry are left to speculate over 3 options/ sheer incompetence, willful neglect (ie tacit collusion with Arnold Karp) to help address affordable housing shortfall or perhaps even worse (outright corruption).

    The town needs to come clean and the citizens should demand an investigation if it doesn’t.

    PS- Arnold Karp don’t contact me directly again. Enough of your harassment.

  2. This letter shows that a group of New Canaan residents are doing a better job of protecting their community than the elected officials of this town! Once again, putting the best interest of the town above their own. There are still so many unanswered questions in this story. Was it negligence, malfeasance or plain collusion?

  3. Why would we keep extending if we want to accommodate affordable housing? I saw no plan to add affordable housing other than the Parish site that seems to be stalled.

  4. Town residents have trusted the town administration to protect our properties and our town – and have been let down. An independent investigation as to how this happened is more than justified. If not understood and addressed, it is bound to repeat itself.
    The trust the administration placed in a developer to get a delay on the moratorium and to advise on citizen supported affordable housing was also misplaced. Using the threat of the state 8-30g statute, same developer is now using the moratorium delay to place additional 100+ unit four story complexes (like The Vue) in residential 1+ acre zones. Weed Street is the attempted beginning. Hill street is probably next.
    If you don’t want these city type blocks all over New Canaan – better demand some explanations and action to stop them. Otherwise, this is the beginning of the end of New Canaan.

  5. I feel so unsupported by the Town, and its maddening. As a neighbor of 751 Weed, which has conveniently applied for 8-30g during the moratorium lapse, I echo all of the sentiments in this letter, and ask that there be an *independent* investigation as to why and how the moratorium lapsed. This lapse has allowed for predatory developers to sneak in, again so conveniently, and apply for and possibly get 8-30g status and override all of our zoning. It feels as though we, the constituents, are always losing here and there is no clear, strategic path for affordable housing going forward. Do we just let one single person develop this whole town and eclipse us all for his own profit?

    • Audrey Windsor Chastain-Chapman highlights an important question:

      Riddle me that.

  6. A huge thank you to Liz and Giacomo for their unending drive in keeping the citizens of NC informed to what really is happening here. It’s shameful that others can’t be trusted to do the same. Stop pointing the finger at Hartford and passing the buck “elected” officials. This all happened under your noses and you can’t even give us basic answers to simple questions of how & why. Take ownership for a change – because one thing I can promise is we aren’t going away and neither is this fight.

  7. We fully support an outside investigation. Our family lives on Weed Street but this overbuilding/affordable housing issue is not only a Weed Street problem, it is about New Canaan preservation. Builders come and go but working the system for profit needs to come to a full stop. There’s a reason my Save Weed Street signs continue to be stolen. Someone’s doing it and someone is allowing shady business practices negatively change the village landscape of New Canaan. Hard stop. (P.S. My great grandfather built a stone wall…and I remember my mother proudly pointing out his house and how a century later the stone wall was still beautilly standing. I think of his wall every time I drive down Richmond Hill and see that Disney World faux wall at the Vue. Years from now…that eyesore will be here. A reminder of how we overlooked preservation for $.)

  8. Why is it so impossible to get answers from the town on the Moratorium lapse? Why did they wait until April 2022 when they new 1Q 2021? Who is responsible for this mistake (Town Planner, Selectman, P&Z)? Simple questions that the town will not answer. Why does it always seem like they have something to hide? We will not let up.

  9. Thank you, Giacomo and Liz, for your letter and for your continued watchfulness. I agree town residents deserve an explanation on the moratorium lapse. The timing of the expiration has sadly opened us up to an unsavory developer who is now flaunting 8-30g to get what he wants financially by superseding local P&Z regulations regarding density. Affordable housing or any development should not be forced by a threatening developer, but thoughtfully designed through town planning which the moratorium would have allowed. His faux walls are still top of mind. Let’s us not forget.

  10. Why not ask our town leaders plainly if they have any financial interest in Karp’s projects either directly as an investor or by way of contributions. They can either say yes, no or plead the fifth with no response assumed to be the latter. I’ve seen a lot of beating around the bush about investigations that will either not happen or take months but the question has not been asked directly in the public domain.

    • I asked Kevin Moynihan at the Canaan Parish Press Conference if he invested in the Vue and he said absolutely not. I want to have multiple town officials answer this question on the record or under oath (eventually). I’ve heard many rumblings about certain people in this town. There is at a minimum conflicts of interest at worst some levels of corruption. Another area of interest is New Canaan Neighborhoods Inc. and that entities relationship with affordable housing policy and decisions for the benefit of Karp. I’m also interested in people on NC Housing authority and their dealings with Karp. We will do whatever it takes via investigation, ethics committee and/or with the help of our Law Firms we retained. Last, has anyone heard from Tom Odea? All in due time.

  11. Please go to newcanaan.info, Information about 751 Weed Street, Moratorium FAQs —- this has been posted since Feb. 22, 2022. Perhaps you were not aware of this communication prepared for the community. If there are additional questions, I suggest you document them and submit to the Selectmen. When I met with Giacomo and Liz on Tuesday morning I assured them I would communicate with Town officials and encourage further information. The letter was already written and the timing of this letter certainly doesn’t respect giving time to allow that to be responded to. Additionally, I can assure you Town leadership and town hall staff are committed to protecting the welfare of our citizenry and do not deserve harsh speculation of “sheer incompetence, willful neglect (ie tacit collusion with Arnold Karp) to help address affordable housing shortfall or perhaps even worse (outright corruption).”

    • “I can assure you Town leadership and town hall staff are committed to protecting the welfare of our citizenry and do not deserve harsh speculation of ‘sheer incompetence.’ ” — Penny Young, 2022

      Let’s talk next week.

    • The “moratorium FAQs” contains incorrect and misleading statements. However, town will not answer our questions. Furthermore, who prepared the “Moratorium FAQ” sheet?

    • Penny this letter was not written before we sat with you and another person from town government Tuesday mid day – this can be fact checked in the properties field of the word document that Michael has. Town government got a .pdf of this letter at approximately the same time Michael got the original word document – and you all were told it was a letter to the editor. Our letter was our reflection after the meeting and other feedback we had received – this was not some precooked plan – we actually adjusted our actions based on feedback received and we are genuinely trying to avoid to have anybody else in town have to deal with what we are dealing with. Also our letter did not have the quotes you mention. The reason for our belief in the need for a public report is to dispel the concerns from citizens about this process and circumstances that gets us to where we are at now. We leave this in the good hands of town government to either move on this request or not. Unfortunately I think we are all going to be very actively engaged on this issue for many many months and perhaps longer ahead.

  12. Instead of criticizing hard working town officials who do their best under difficult conditions and wasting our resources on this unproductive witch-hunt, how about blaming the state legislators who passed 8-30g and refuse to amend it or the developers who use it to overcome local zoning restrictions?

    • Town Officials have know about 8-30g for a decade. Art Cassavan stated “The biggest mistake we (town) made was not requiring any affordable housing units at the Vue.” The town officials let the moratorium expire without explanation or one that is factually correct. Perhaps you would feel different if you bought a property under the premise of Single Family Zoning and a developer and town were trying to change that. If you think this is an unproductive witch-hunt you have not seen anything yet.

    • New Canaan….Appointed boards not elected , our smart public not taken seriously, large political donations …. The results speak for themselves.

  13. Also, many PZ members (4/26 meeting) were not aware we had an Affordable Housing Committee which of created by Kevin. Furthermore, there was questions by PZ about what this committee even does. Again the town and the affordable housing committee knew about the moratorium expiring (1q 2021) and the 8-30G issues yet did nothing about it? Perhaps these are “hard working” town officials but they did drop the ball on these issues.

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