25 thoughts on “‘Merritt Village’ Developer to P&Z: We’re Building What You Approved

  1. The rendering of the wall does not take into account the new sidewalk already in place. There is no room for grass or plantings between the wall and the road. Perhaps they can use cold tolerant vines that creep all the way down to the bottom of the wall and stay put in the winter months.

  2. In putting up a cheap and tasteless wall, it foreshadows what’s to
    Come. An unattractive , cost cutting monstrosity.

  3. I wish this monstrosity was never approved. I can only hope that this hideous wall can act as a catalyst to delay and add costs to the project to such an extreme , that it’s no longer worth building. Have the town buy the parcel for an outdoor park where concerts and shows can be held. Something that adds value to our town – not detracts.

  4. Arnold:

    Whether the plans called for field stone or not, there is no precedent along the sidewalks of downtown New Canaan for any material other than natural stone. Most people assume that since you’re a longtime resident and an “award-winning” builder, you would be aware of this and spend a little extra money to keep the project in context with the rest of the village. People spoke out immediately on this issue so that a correction could be made before the wall got too far along and you incurred unnecessary expense. Keep in mind that for every person who is willing to complain publicly, there are probably 100 others who are upset about the appearance of the wall. Many of these people are your potential customers at the Village, and from that standpoint, I am trying to help. I’m not passing judgement on the overall project, or opposed to quality changes in New Canaan– the town didn’t exactly have a love affair with the tired brick apartments that were torn down. As it unfolded, the first thing the town saw on the Merritt Village site was a faux stone wall so that is what’s being commented on. From a legal standpoint, you may be able to continue with the wall, but that doesn’t mean you should. Sincerely, Bill Taylor

    • It seems as though your are speaking for others. When all is done you may have a change of heart. As I have said in the past, give it a chance to be completed. Everyone is so quick to jump on the negative bandwagon.
      I would like to know what’s so ugly about the wall?
      N. Jensen

      • Norm, I don’t know if you are speaking for yourself or
        The builder. The faux…(I won’t call it stone) maybe pavers……wall is cheap looking. It looks temporary. It not asthetically pleasing.
        Why would a builder use such cheap materials surrounding a
        Huge development. It is the first thing you see…and it says to
        The public..this is a cheesy place. It’s not in keeping with the
        Connecticut village look. It’s an eyesore. Does that answer your question?. P.S. I totally agree with the in depth comments made by Mr. Taylor.

        • You may think it’s cheesy. But is only an option based on
          nonsence grouped along with other individuals who also jumped on the neg. wand wagon.
          There are better wonderful things to pay attention to. Such as the state of the country.

      • Norm:

        Stone walls come in a lot of different forms. Some of the nicest were put together by the natives. There are a lot of fine examples in the woods right here in NC–these walls are weathered, have no mortar (the natives didn’t use cement from what I gather), every stone was of a different size and shape. A lot of present-day artisans are great at duplicating this type of dry (mortarless) wall, albeit with a more finished look, particularly the top line. Then there are some perfectly okay looking stone walls with varying degrees of mortar (the less the better). Then you have cut stone walls, where the shape of the rock is more geometric and the lines are straighter. It comes down to personal preference. At the bottom of the food chain is the kiddie-fort grey, fake stone veneer, with a pattern that repeats every 10 feet or so, kind of like wallpaper. That is what is on display at Merritt Village

        • I can appreciate your coment but in the end all will be pleasing without further worry.

        • William,
          You seem to be a masonry expert so here’s a question for you: where does the blank concrete poured wall sitting out front of Town Hall right along Main Street that’s been there for decades and no one’s said a word, where does that lie in the food chain?

          • Paul:

            The retaining wall you are referring to, along Main Street in front of Town Hall, is hardly a thing of beauty, but it’s only 18″-30″ in height. That is why no one notices or cares. The Merritt Village wall is close to 5 feet tall along Park Street and 8-12 feet at the entrance to the new complex. It’s not a valid comparison.

    • William,

      You are correct in saying that the first thing to be constructed on this 3+ acre site is what gets the attention, and comment. It is a large canvas, so perhaps it’s understandable, but the first couple of brush strokes ought not be ridiculed by what is a relatively small group – it’s just not fair. For every complaint we actually get many more times that in compliments and support (and how many support, but don’t vocalize?). We have a vested interest in making this project shine.

      The thing is, with this perceived issue and many others like it in town, there can be outrage by a relatively small group, but due to their volume (of their voice) there can be the appearance of much opposition when, in fact, it’s just not the case. There’s an asymmetry here in that the very few create an illusion of widespread disagreement on something that’s essentially a personal taste matter. This dynamic has played out in the past, and will likely continue (South Ave. sidewalks, YMCA, Grace Farm, etc.) – perhaps it’s an aspect of human nature, although not one of the higher ones. But after the brief uproar time moves on, life goes on, and then things quiet down as if nothing had happened. I understand the wall is not to your taste, and that’s fine. The suggestion here to you, and to the public in general, is not to get fooled by the outrage or the public statements about personal taste and let us finish the project – it will be beautiful.

      I do have to take exception to your contention that “there is no precedent along the sidewalks of downtown New Canaan for any material other than natural stone.” There is at least one example I can think of off the top of my head, and I’m sure everyone reading this has seen it many, many times. To date I have not detected any kind of outrage whatsoever regarding this. Not only is the material not stone, it’s actually a poured concrete retaining wall. That place? TOWN HALL!!

      • To reiterate, for every person who is willing to publicly express their displeasure with the wall, there are (probably more than) 100 who will remain silent. I’ve spoken to many people about this issue, and while some don’t feel strongly either way, the consensus is overwhelmingly negative and some people are downright angry at the lack of awareness on display. As a representative of the project, you’re likely the last person to get an accurate sense of public opinion for the simple reason that most people are non-confrontational, particularly in person.

        To your point, if you spend the extra $25-50k today for a field stone veneer, it’s a small setback in the scheme of a multi-million dollar project, but time indeed moves on, life goes on, as if it never happened. The problem here is that the wall will endure.

        • Mr Taylor— I have refrained from getting into this foolishness but I will say that your not close to an accurate cost estimate you have missed it by a factor of over 10 times. But I do look forward to coming to your house to critique your home. As I have stated publicly before let us complete more than 4% of the project before you and other critique our work.

          • Arnold, if I thought this topic was foolish, I wouldn’t bother commenting. Some people really care about the appearance of things in town. Sensitivity is higher than normal given the condition of the local real estate market.

            Perhaps you would consider a stone veneer along Park Street only? What you do in the driveway and beyond is your business.

        • William,
          The people who feel strong dislike for the wall are the ones who are apt to shout that out. Yes, some might remain silent, but the same holds true for those who like it or are indifferent, and based on the feedback we’ve received that’s the vast majority. Most just go about their business. If there are a thousand people who have a strong dislike for it, call it 2 thousand, there are 20,000 people in this town. I get it, it’s not to your personal taste, and that’s perfectly fine. When the entire project is completed my guess is that you, and the few other folks who are currently outraged, will have a different opinion. Please keep an open mind.

      • Town hall is a civic building. An office if you will. Not a
        Place to live. I think part of the problem is not only is it a tacky wall, a faux wall, but it goes on forever and has one wall above
        Another. There just much of it. And again, it not pleasing to the
        Eye. The rendering of plant growth is just not realistic. I think people are so upset because they feel hoodwinked. They were told one thing…and find out …it’s not anywhere near what was discussed and voted on. If you fool us once…well , guess we will be fooled again. That’s what’s so upsetting. https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/11/06/22/4615807100000578-5054517-image-m-35_1510006673486.jpg

  5. Of modest thought would be the consideration that the project of Mr. Karp might be an asset to the perils of the downtown traffic flow. Perhaps the Economic Development and Tourism Committee and Mr. Karp should meet someday at 4 PM for tea. It is time to play nicely with Mr. Karp. Share the sandbox.

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Taylor. This wall is terribly ugly and not in keeping with the look of our town. Would you like this in front of your house? When I saw the drawing of this wall, I assumed it was fieldstone. It looks like fieldstone. It does not look like scored concrete. Please rethink this. I can’t imagine that any one living in New Canaan finds it attractive.

  7. The wall is ugly. And fake. Plain and simple. This entire town (and surrounding towns) have numerous rock walls made of real rocks outside homes and in the middle of the woods of all places. We are literally surrounded by real rock walls in every direction. Regardless of what was “approved” (based on sketches of a rock wall which I’m guessing everyone assumed would be made of real rocks because, well, everything around here is made or real rocks) the answer is simple : Get rid of the ugly fake rock wall and put in a real rock wall. Why are we even arguing about this nonsense?

  8. I was in shock when I drove into town and saw the wall, It is not attractive. Not sure ? anything can be done to change it.

  9. Before closing this thread, I’d like to thank everyone for commenting and—yet again—exhausting this topic so thoroughly. Beyond this partial block of Park Street, areas of interest in New Canaan may include the district’s $92 million spending plan, a proposal to upend the start times of public schools, likely sale of Vine Cottage, possible demolition of Irwin House and multi-million-dollar acquisition of the Covia building. Thanks again.