Moynihan: Selectmen May Vote on RFP for Sale of Vine Cottage Next Week

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Vine Cottage. Photo courtesy of the Town of New Canaan

The Board of Selectmen next week will review documents that could lead to the sale of Vine Cottage, New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday.

According to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, the selectmen will review an RFP to either sell the gabled Main Street building or offer “a land lease with a condition that it be done with historic preservation intentions, with an easement.”

The selectmen “will hopefully approve an RFP” during their May 21 meeting, Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance. 

Before New Canaan sells the property, the Town Council would need to hold a public hearing, Moynihan said during the finance board’s regular meeting.

Located opposite the firehouse, the 2,334-square-foot Vine Cottage was built in about 1859 and in recent years has housed the New Canaan Department of Human Services. 

That agency is moving into the lower floor of the former Outback Teen Center. Though Selectman Kit Devereaux has called for more public input prior to the town divesting itself of the building, finance board members have pushed for its sale. 

The Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee in its December 2017 report said the town should put off a decision on renovating the building until the future home of the Board of Ed is determined. The following summer, Moynihan noted that the town’s five-year capital plan assumed the antique structure was no longer in New Canaan’s portfolio. 

His comments to the Board of Finance this week came during the first selectman’s regular update on town matters.

It isn’t clear how much Vine Cottage would fetch. Its assessor field card lists its address as 77 Main St., part of the Town Hall-Outback campus.

Vine Cottage is not located within New Canaan’s Historic District.

According to historians, Albert S. Comstock and his wife Cornelia Carter Comstock, who would become founder of the New Canaan Chapter of the D.A.R., purchased Vine Cottage during the American Civil War. “The Comstocks named their home Vine Cottage because of the flowering vines which wove their way around the front porch,” Libby Butterworth wrote in a history fo the building.

One thought on “Moynihan: Selectmen May Vote on RFP for Sale of Vine Cottage Next Week

  1. Given this possible sale, I would expect that the potential buyer would have to know and fully understand the preservation restrictions. Now is the time for the Town to contact one of the two organizations that are legally prepared to accept these restrictions and monitor and enforce them.
    One is Historic New England in Boston and the other is the Ct Trust for Historic Preservation in Hamden. Their professional staff will prepare the preservation restrictions, which then should accompany any RFP.

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