P&Z To Vote on Town’s Purchase of Elm Street Office Building Planned for Future Board of Ed Home


220 Elm St. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Saying it will be good for the community and school district, the head of the Department of Public Works is seeking Planning & Zoning approval for the town to acquire an Elm Street building to house the Board of Education.

Public Works Director Tiger Mann in a Friday memo to Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni said his department is requesting a review and approval of the town’s planned purchase of 220 Elm St. that’s required under state law.

“The following sections of the 2014 POCD [Plan of Conservation and Development] show that this purchase is in keeping with our current plan,” Mann said, citing provisions of the guiding document for planning in New Canaan that call for maintaining excellence in both “education programs and facilities” and “community facilities and services.”

“Since the School System is important to the quality of life of residents, and the underlying real estate market, this excellence should be maintained,” Mann said in the memo. “Community facilities include governmental and other buildings (such as the Library) which provide services and functions to all residents. Such services contribute significantly to community character and quality of life.”

The Planning & Zoning Commission is expected to take up the review of the proposed purchase—known as an “8-24” approval, a reference to the section of the Connecticut General Statutes that requires it—at the appointed body’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Under the state law, P&Z approval is required to move, acquire, abandon or sell land or buildings. (Three years ago, P&Z granted 8-24 approval in voting in favor of “abandoning” the Richmond Hill Road garage or “Mead Park Brick Barn” so that it could be demolished.)

The town’s plan to buy the two-story office building at 220 Elm for the Board of Ed, which long has leased space on Locust Avenue, became clear about three weeks ago. The town, which already owns the land where the building sits, later confirmed its plan to purchase the 2002-built structure for $6.1 million (It last was assessed at $6,094,620). 

Officials say the acquisition will pay for itself in five years as part of it is sold off to investors who will convert part of the structure into condominiums.

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