Parking Officials Vote 4-0 To Recommend Keeping Permit Fees Flat


Parking officials last week voted unanimously to recommend holding fees for both commuter and commercial lots flat for next fiscal year.

If approved by the selectmen, the Parking Commission’s recommendations would see permit rates for the Lumberyard, Richmond Hill, Talmadge Hill, Park Street, Morse Court and Telephone Lots remain as follows:

New Canaan Parking Permit Rates

Parking LotCurrent/Proposed Annual Rate
Richmond Hill$474
Talmadge Hill$474
Park Street$438
Morse Court$438
Telephone Lot$438
Locust Lotfree permit (through Dec. 31)
Center School Lotfree permit (through Dec. 31)
Source: New Canaan Parking Bureau


Commission Chair Keith Richey and members Peter Ogilvie, Laura Budd and Jennifer Donovan voted 4-0 in favor of the recommendations. The Commission has one open seat.

Regarding fees at the commuter lots, Richey said the town should “leave it alone in view of the recovery from the COVID crisis.”

As it is, the town has already extended the parking permits for those lots—Lumberyard, Richmond Hill and Talmadge Hill—through March 31 and also suspended metered parking in those lots through month’s end. (The selectmen are expected to take up the question of whether to continue those extensions through June 30.)

The Commission voted separately to recommend holding the fees for the “commercial” lots flat. In both cases, Budd made the motions for keeping the current rates.

The town offered permit-holders for the Park Street, Morse Court and Telephone Lots a pro-rated six-month permit starting Jan. 1, and also started charging for metered spaces in them. In some cases, the Commission has increased the number of permits that the New Canaan Parking Bureau is selling for the lots, and there’s still demand for them though less so for Morse Court, Parking Director Stacey Miltenberg said. That’s mainly due to the fact that New Canaan has offered free parking permits for downtown workers in the Center School and Locust Avenue Lots—an experiment that the town instituted amid the COVID-19 crisis that inadvertently has solved the problem of those workers taking up the free spots on Main and Elm Streets. The Commission is recommending those free permits be offered again from July 1 through Dec. 31.

The Commission’s discussion then veered toward New Canaan Library, which would lease 76 spaces in the Center School Lot under a draft agreement with the town that now is before the Board of Finance.

Ogilvie said he had “a concern about the middle of the summer.

“Todd Lavieri, head of the Board of Finance, said he expected to have all approvals for library completed by end of June, that includes Planning & Zoning and the selectmen, which suggests the library will be starting their project in July and that is going to significantly affect parking, I suspect.”

Richey responded that the period during construction will be a “good test to find out” whether the 76 spots is sufficient or creates a parking problem.

“And if it does then I am certainly—and I am sure we all feel the same—then we can push back and say, then you need to add more parking to your plan or else  you need to pay to reconfigure the Center Lot to add more parking spots,” he said.

Richey—who in 2020 decided without the Commission’s input to void a ticket issued to a motorist who’d parked illegally in a disabled space—continued that he was upset about what appeared to be a lack of parking accommodations for disabled people.

Richey noted that the library is unable to do underground parking—officials from the organization have said that’s because of both traffic and cost concerns. He said that there likely will be “enough parking in the Center Lot, I think, to accommodate the needs.”

“So this is not exactly a Parking Commission comment, but just on a personal basis, wouldn’t it behoove them to go back to the architects and say, let’s revise our plan so that we can at least have the handicapped parking on this block, where the library is?” Richey said. “Shouldn’t we revise our plans to have a place where parents bring their kids and drop them off without having to cross the street? And shouldn’t we have a place where you can drive in return a book? Have a book drop? And none of those things right now are on the proposed library’s construction even though they have more land than they do today, and the library that they are contemplating is roughly the same size as the library today? So I don’t want to make this about the library but I do think separately that we may want to get — again, I think there will be enough spots to accommodate them in the Center Lot. But still, i find it a little upsetting that they haven’t revised their plans, in lieu of the fact that they can’t have underground parking, to at least have handicapped parking on their lot, and at least have a drop-off for parents and at least have a drop-off for book return.”

Ogilvie responded, “I only wish you had made those comments a week ago.”

Richey said, “Well I made them privately.”

Ogilvie said, “Well that helped.”

None of those who submitted written parking ticket appeals came to the meeting to have a virtual hearing. 

One Zoom account, ‘Caroline Murray,’ did join the call and there was a ‘Peyton Murray’ listed among the appellants. However, the Commissioners heard only background noise and were not able to address that individual during the meeting.

Richey said noted that the first name of the Zoom account was different from the appellant’s name.

“It sounded like a woman’s voice not a Peyton,” he said. “But I guess Peyton could be non gender.”

4 thoughts on “Parking Officials Vote 4-0 To Recommend Keeping Permit Fees Flat

  1. It looks like the Parking Commission is suffering from buyers remorse after their vote in favor of leasing 76 Center School parking spaces to the library.
    The questions they are asking now should have been asked at last Monday’s special meeting to approve the proposed library parking deal. Their concerns regarding safety, handicapped access and potential parking space shortages should have been raised prior to their vote. That was when they had the leverage to demand changes to the plan. It’s too late now. The ball now seems to be in Planning and Zoning’s court. If this were a private building I just could not see how they could approve a plan with no parking.

  2. Richard,
    Please understand that the issues cited mentioned were outside of the scope of the Parking Commission which only has authority over off street parking in the municipal lots. Decisions about how much parking to require for a building, handicapped access, drop-offs, etc. are within the purview of the Planning & Zoning Commission. When we had the Parking Commission special meeting regarding the proposed new Library, our focus was solely on whether there would be 76 spots available in the Center Lot for Library users. After careful review, the historic and recent data indicates that there will be. Also, as we discussed, the Center Lot could easily be expanded to add additional parking spaces without much cost or change to the lot. Consequently, I have no “buyer’s remorse” over my vote.

    Also, while I continue to think that the new Library plans could be modified to better address the issues above, please note that the Library plan calls for space on the Library side of Maple Street for cars to pull in for no more than 5 minutes to drop off people with mobility challenges as well as to drop off books 24/7 into the book drop. The handicapped spaces that currently exist in the Center Lot will be as close to the front door in the new Library as the library’s current handicapped spaces are to the current main doors. Finally, the Library will work with public works to create an improved, safer cross-walk and traffic calming measures on Maple Street

    • There is no such thing as the “Center Lot.” It’s the Center School Lot. This is how our real community history gets casually eroded and erased. This, and needlessly demolishing beloved century-old Main Street icons.

    • Mr Richey thank you for your follow up. Since only parking is within the Parking Commission purview, lets stick with that. I have lived in New Canaan for 27 years and for all that time there has been a parking shortage. The Parking Commission is certainly well aware because it’s something you’ve had to deal with. Having an office in town affords me the opportunity to see first hand the lack of parking. Based on the Parking Commission vote to give up 76 public spaces to the library, it seems that this parking shortage has miraculously disappeared. If it hasn’t, then the shortage will become greater with the loss of the 76 spaces.

      You say that there was “careful review” yet the parking studies attached to the February 22 meeting minutes do not support that. The Library study by Harden and Hanover clearly states that the 2018 traffic study DID NOT include an impact study of parking at Center School lot. It also mentions that due to the impact of Covid that it would be impossible to conduct an accurate study to estimate future parking needs. To suggest that there are plenty of available spaces seems more based on hyperbole than fact.

      I watched the February 22 meeting and it’s tone was perfunctory. Outside of your fellow Parking Commissioner Mr Ogilvie no serious questions were asked of the library representatives. Now you have given up all of the leverage that you had to force the library to come up with a more suitable parking plan that did not exacerbate the town parking shortage. It’s up to Planning and Zoning now. Hopefully that meeting is not a “rubber stamp” job.

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