Public Works: Town Workers Here To Help Those Seeking To Use New ‘Swap Shop’ Apply for Transfer Station Permit Online


New Canaan Swap Shop on Jan. 11, 2023. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials say residents seeking to use the recently launched Swap Shop at the Transfer Station can get help obtaining a permit for the facility in multiple ways.

For New Canaanites unable to access or use the online system through the town’s website for a Transfer Station permit—a requirement to use the Swap Shop at the Lakeview Avenue facility—there are municipal workers ready to help.

“If you can’t access it online, and perform it online, I have three people—one in my office, one in our special projects office and then Donnie Smith down at the Transfer Station—that will actually walk you through the process and help you fill it out online in front of him,” according to Tiger Mann.

“We do ask that you have it only because we’re trying to make sure that the Station is used correctly and that we monitor goods coming and going,” Mann told members of the Conservation Commission at their regular meeting, held Feb. 9 at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

His comments came in response to remarks from Commissioner Ann Silvio, who said she’s seen chatter on Facebook about the “difficulty of getting a pass.”

Silvio noted that residents pay the same annual fee regardless of when during the fiscal year they purchase a pass. Passes cost $45 or $75, depending on whether they’re serviced by a private garbage hauler that is registered with the town.

“I just wonder if we could make it as easy as possible for people to use,” she said.

Mann noted that the town switched to online registration specifically “to make it easy to get the pass itself.”

“It gets very, very difficult for us to say, ‘Well, we’re going to grandfather you in,’ because what winds up happening is, you can imagine, people find different ways to cheat the system,” Mann said. “So that’s really where it gets a little difficult. We are very lenient at the end of the year, and at the beginning of the year, as far as if you’ve got a pass and it expired on June 30th and you come on July 5th, you’re allowed to come in and continue to process and make sure that you are going to get your sticker. And eventually we say, ‘OK, you need to get your new sticker.’ And by the same token, if people are coming in late, normally a lot of times we just let them roll in, especially a new resident coming in, say, June, end of May, we let them just roll into the next season and not worry about that. But anyone on the shoulder months when you’ve got the majority of time in front of you, we ask them to buy a sticker. And if you utilize the station, it saves you money. We’re not there to make a profit. We don’t make a profit on a sticker, to be quite honest. The Station runs at a loss.”

Transfer Station passholders are free to either drop off items as donations, pick up free stuff or do both at the Swap Shop. The main reason for creating the Swap Shop, a joint effort of the nonprofit Planet New Canaan and the town, advocated for by the Conservation Commission, is to keep items out of the municipal waste stream through reuse. Because items that do not move eventually go enter that stream via New Canaan’s Transfer Station, those visiting the Swap Shop must have a pass, organizers have said.

Commissioner Linda Andros noted that requiring residents to have a pass in order to use the Transfer Station facility is “not unique to New Canaan.”
Commission Secretary Susan Sweitzer said that the town website might be updated to make it more clear that those seeking to visit the Swap Shop must have a Transfer Station pass, with instructions on how to obtain one.

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