NewCanaaanite.com recently received the following letter(s) to the editor. Please email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication here.
I am an abutting neighbor of Arnold Karp’s Hill St property and I have, over the past year, spent literally tens of thousands of dollars fighting his development plans. Our group New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development (NC RADD) has spent tens of thousands more. Certainly not what I expected when I moved to this town from Greenwich eight years ago. (Interestingly, Mr. Karp apparently made the reverse move!)
Based on the discussion at Monday night’s Inland Wetlands Commission meeting it appears that Arnold Karp is on his way to being one step closer to securing the approvals he needs to build a six-story, 93 unit apartment building on his HIll Street property. Should this be the ultimate outcome then I will, in the next few years, be living with six months of dynamite blasting and rock crushing along with another 18 months of constant construction only in the end to be staring at a parking lot abutting my property and what will likely be the tallest building in New Canaan not to mention the despoiling of the wetlands itself. I certainly do not expect the residents of this town to be as outraged or concerned about this as I am but I do hope that the way that Mr Karp has, in my opinion, lied to and abused the Wetlands approval process will spark some righteous anger. An expose of his alleged lies and misrepresentations can be found in a video here, https://youtu.be/gp3J4CG_d-k (it is under 11 minutes so please try to hang in til the end).
Our Inland Wetlands commission is charged with determining if an application before them is “reasonably likely to have an effect of unreasonably polluting, impairing, or destroying the public trust in the air, water or natural resources of the state.” Public trust is, to me, the operative phrase in that sentence. The public’s trust in this type of matter has to derive from the public’s trust in the process! If the process itself seems fatally undermined by the participant’s lack of truth and candor then there is no way in my mind that the public can have any trust in the commission’s final decisions.
This commission has been warned since 2017 that Mr. Karp had other intentions for the development of his property and that his two-house proposal was just a stalking horse to secure approval for a driveway that would ultimately support much higher density housing. Because the commission viewed those warnings as speculation they could not, by regulation, consider them in their decision making so they approved his driveway request in 2018. Learning of his 8-30g plans in the fall of 2021 NC RADD moved last summer to have his original permit from the IWC revoked based on those earlier misrepresentations only to be told at that time that since the plan given to the town fire marshal was just a preliminary plan and not an actual submitted application then NC RADD was only speculating on what he really planned to build. Sadly all of the warnings raised by neighbors have come to pass. Now, when we have actual proof certain that his testimony in 2017 and 2018 was, in my opinion, a lie, and, when the plans submitted with this current application are clearly linked to the plans submitted in 2021 and a plan recently revealed from 2017, we are on the verge of an approval that will regrettably shatter my trust in the commission’s process and therefore my trust in the resources they are charged with overseeing and protecting. I hope the commissioners will think about that along with all the technical details of Karp’s proposal when they cast their votes.
I appeal to like minded residents of New Canaan to let your feelings be known as well. It is not too late for the IWC to stop this and to vote this application down. Make Mr Karp file an appeal and make him explain in a court of law how he was not lying when he came in front of this commission in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Do not lose the public trust in the important work the Inland Wetlands Commission performs.
We do not reward bad behavior in our children, we should certainly not abide it from Arnold Karp.
Clearly corporate power and ethics are more powerful than the people of Connecticut and their ethical standards. It doesn’t exist everywhere so why accept it here. It is worth the effort to fight these damaging laws and the madness that hangs over our heads that will damage and destroy the beauty that over generations has been created.
Jeff – I expect the only way to really change how things operate is to run for office. I encourage you to think about it for this Fall with the municipal elections. Perhaps it is time for a 3rd party in New Canaan focussed on cleaning up this complete mess associated with the abuse and manipulation of the 8-30g and planning process and frankly addressing the fact that we apparently get zero support for the town (or its residents) on this issue from the Executive branch in Hartford. When bad behavior gets rewarded you just get more of it. Regular citizens need to step up and get involved or this will just continue and continue and continue.
Jeff: Your research and presentation exposes a troubling series of misrepresentations by Mr. Karp and his associates. I encourage all to follow the link Jeff provides to hear Mr. Karp’s own words to the Wetlands Commission where he consistently states that he will not develop the lot for more than 2-3 houses. All of us need to rely on these commissions to consistently apply their rules, regulations and decisions. If the basis of the permit was 2-3 houses, then the commission needs to enforce it.
I am not surprised by his dishonesty. There is no way this development should be approved!!!
But what about affordable housing. Do you have a solution? Pointing out problems is not productive.
Sorry Avinash but it seems to me your comment is pointing out a problem therefore I am not entirely sure it is at all productive. If 8-30g is the solution and it has been on the books for over 30 years and we still have an affordable housing problem then may I suggest that it hasn’t worked! The issue of affordable housing is far too complicated to deal with in a letter to the editor or a reply. The issue of town government being hijacked by cynical manipulations of the process, in my opinion, is. That is why I wrote my letter, to call to the attention of the residents of our town just how their process has been abused by Mr. Karp.
Jeff, as a resident of New Canaan living on New Norwalk Rd just down the road from this development thank you for exposing this situation to the public . It appears that New Canaan has its own version of George Santos living amongst us. As a taxpayer I’m more concerned that our town committees haven’t put the brakes on this project, demanded that the driveway be reduced to 12 feet based on the word , (on several occasions ,) fined him for purposely misrepresenting his intentions. I’m also concerned that the town committee has opened itself up to legal action , at the taxpayers expense
It is hard for me to imagine how the oil drippings alone, from hundreds of daily car crossings across these wetlands, would not be polluting to the wetlands. And that is in addition to the thousands of heavy equipment crossings necessary during the construction process.
Jeff, you have made incredible points and it is very disturbing that the Inland Wetlands Commission is playing right into the hand of Arnold Karp. Every single person I know, has said that they see right through all of Arnold Karp’s plan. As we all know, Arnold Karp has lied about his intentions to the IWC for years and now he is trying to play like he is the savior to the Affordable Housing in CT. He is abusing a loophole to manipulate the system and our zoning regulations. It is disgusting that the Town is entertaining the Hill Street and Weed Street monstrosities. Remember, Arnold Karp doesn’t give a damn about New Canaan because he lives in Old Greenwich and if he succeeds in this manipulation, he will destroy the small town feel of our beautiful town.