Letters to the Editor


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


Dear Editor,

Now that the nice weather enables us to be outdoors, we are once again assaulted by the relentless noise of gas powered leaf blowers. This assault on our peace and quiet will be ongoing for about 8 months. New Canaan needs to ban gas powered leaf blowers.

Fanny Moran


Dear Editor,

As a neighbor of St Luke’s School for 32 years, I’m writing in behalf of the group that is contesting the school’s application to build a 200-car parking lot under a new turf football field on their campus. I won’t list the practical, environmental and aesthetic concerns the neighbors have raised to this project [you can see those in the ad that is on the right-hand side of the home page] but this application should matter to all New Canaan residents. 

Since our son graduated from SLS in 2003, the school has doubled its enrolment while doing little or nothing to ensure that this increase didn’t pose an extra burden to the neighbors. At the same time they have raised their tuition to the point where it is now close to the tuition costs of many universities. The school alone is the beneficiary of this expansion, as they pay no property tax. The rest of New Canaan, i.e. those of us who pay property taxes, receive little or nothing in return for this. 

Note that if this project is approved, no one gets anything that isn’t already there except a parking lot. There are no guarantees that this will solve the school’s parking crisis, at least for long, as they now have an overflow of 80+ cars per day and juniors would then be allowed to drive to school. (The adage in road-building that “traffic expands to fill up roads” is often true of parking lots as well.) There are no guarantees that it will keep down the flow of traffic on N Wilton Road, which is quite narrow at the school entrance and is a major road to the northeastern corner of town, nor is there anything to suggest that it will make the campus and the area around it safer, quieter or more environmentally friendly. It could turn out, in fact, that it will adversely affect all of the above. 

Alternatives exist. SLS could have more carpooling, more bus transportation, and could spend the money raised for this project to find or start to build another campus, a la Brunswick and Greenwich Country Day. They have never made a good faith effort to try these measures. They don’t even maintain a traffic controller at the congested entrance to the school. 

If you live in other parts of New Canaan, you might wonder how this affects you. For the most part it may not, but to the extent you’re paying for the maintenance of local roads, police enforcement of traffic concerns, emergency services et al, you’re subsidizing the ballooning enrolment at St Luke’s. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that the transparency of St. Luke’s intentions and actions has eroded over the years. The only notices the neighborhood any longer receives are those required by the state; whereas they used to be sent out via certified mail, they were in this case sent out via a “certificate of mailing”, which is cheaper and less noticeable. Minor as this may seem, it’s merely one example of how little consideration the school has shown to its closest neighbors. 

Margaret E Cooper

8 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor

  1. Margaret: Very well stated, Thank you!

    The school is spreading false innuendo that they pay property tax. They do not! They use town resources and infrastructure and pay nothing to the Town of New Canaan. The school is exempt pursuant to state statue. Additionally 80% of the student body are NON residents of New Canaan. The chairman of the Board advocating for this illegal structure is a resident of Westport. No skin in the game!

    The school has abused its special permit for decades with no oversight by our town departments. The tax paying residents in this 4 acre zoned area have been abused without consideration by the school and let out to dry.
    Perhaps a tax strike by the residents would open the eyes of our elected and appointed town officials.

    Inland wetlands and P and Z is opening the door for a DOJ discrimination lawsuit by 8-30g advocates. Citing this decision and claiming NC changes zoning and wetlands regulations for a high priced school in a residential area attended by wealthy individuals but fights 8-30g for minority housing. Let that sink in.

  2. Gas powered leaf blowers are a nuisance that incentivize people to stay indoors because the noise (that happens almost daily) is not as irritating indoors. California’s law banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other small off-road engines took effect on January 1st of this year, and a growing number of cities and counties have successfully implemented similar complete or partial bans including Washington, DC.

    • Having a moratorium on the weekends for the leaf blowers would be a big step toward being able to enjoy our town.

  3. Perhaps now is a good time for SLS to write a letter to the public via the New Canaanite making the case for this parking garage in a residential zone, apparent (?) purchasing of abutting properties, and the related long term strategy for that land / campus. The town POCD is up for review so what may be happening in that area of NC should just as well be understood and perhaps reflected in that document.

  4. Thank you Fanny. There are many reasons to consider some limitations on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, including adverse health effects from dangerously high decibel noise, noxious exhaust fumes, airborne particulates and more. But a big one for me is that leaf blower noise drowns out birdsong, and interferes with bird communications regarding territory, mating or threats. I hope the 2024 Plan of Conservation and Development addresses this issue. Equally, I hope homeowners take their own initiative to migrate their land care towards quieter electric equipment.

  5. Fanny—
    I agree — let’s ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Why are we paying these poor workers to damage their hearing, their brains, their hearts and their lungs? A gas-powered leaf blower emits more pollution than a Ford F-1500 pickup truck, and they are wearing them — they could not be closer to the pollution. Leaves are not evil — mulch them with a mulching lawn mower, and they make fine fertilizer.
    Let’s get in gear and do something!

  6. While I do support anti-noise and anti-pollution laws, this is all symptom fixing. The real problem is the large lawns that people maintain beyond the needs of a septic system. Too many houses have 2-acre and 4-acre lawns on their respective lots. It’s time to ban these large lawns rather than ban the tools used to maintain them. I have a 4-acre property and my lawn is less than 1/4 acre, just enough to cover my septic system. Let’s fix the problem, not the symptoms.

  7. Placing limits on the use of leaf blowers in our community will improve our quality of life. I would much rather listen to birdsong than the constant droning of machines. Limiting the size of lawns which encourage the use of pesticides and fertilizers that pollute our waterways is also a good idea.
    We should ask our Town Council to pass an ordinance but that is not enough. We should write our State Senators and House Representatives and ask them for a statewide phasing out of these loud and polluting machines. The State of Colorado is considering exactly that.

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