Though a representative of the building’s owner said the house at 30 Maple St. is structurally unsound, has no practical use for St. Aloysius Church, is to be razed to make way for an improved drop-off area for schoolchildren and isn’t the defining historic structure on the property, town officials last week voted unanimously to impose a 90-day demolition delay for the structure. The ca. 1906-built “Stick-style” building that fronts Maple Street between South Avenue and Park Street is to be demolished as part of St.
Saying the project was appropriate and inconspicuous, the Planning & Zoning Commission last week voted unanimously to allow the owners of an Osoborn Lane home to create a 1.5-story addition to their house. The 2,213-square-foot addition planned for 66 Osborn Lane will house an indoor pool, according to attorney Amy Zabetakis of Rucci Law Group, which has offices in Darien and New Canaan. “This is a nice property to do this on,” Zabetakis told members of P&Z at their regular meeting, held Jan. 26 via videoconference.”It’s a large lot, level. It’s at the end of a cul-de-sac.
A second set of Grace Farms neighbors this month filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the town’s decision to grant the organization an amended zoning permit that allow for wide-ranging activities on its Lukes Wood Road campus. The New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission’s heavily conditioned Sept. 26 approval of Grace Farms’ application was made “illegally, arbitrarily, and in an abuse of its discretion” in several ways, according to an appeal filed on behalf of Danita and Paul Ostling of Smith Ridge Road. The application did not conform to various requirements of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, according a complaint filed Nov. 1 in state Superior Court in Stamford, including a section that outlines what is allowed by Special Permit in those regs (see page 42 here) and others that lay out the criteria and considerations for making a decision on such applications (page 170).
Saying Aquarion has no legal right to use their street, 23 of Indian Waters Drive in New Canaan are collectively suing the water company as it pursues a plan to subdivide and develop a wooded parcel that includes use of the private road as an access way. The approximately 10-acre lot owned by Aquarion historically has been served by a driftway running from Weed Street to Frogtown Road, and Indian Waters Drive itself didn’t exist at the time a predecessor water company acquired the parcel in question 110 years ago, according to a complaint filed Oct. 17 in state Superior Court in Stamford. Those who own properties along Indian Waters Drive itself own portions of it up to the centerline, and those who own other homes on the road may pass and repasss it, according to the complaint, filed on the neighbors’ behalf by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. Yet use of the road is deed-restricted to those property owners, the lawsuit said, so what Aquarion proposes to do “constitutes trespass on the Indian Waters Drive property owners’ property.”
“The Indian Waters property owners request that the court issue a declaratory judgment determining that Aquarion does not have the right to use Indian Waters Drive,” the complaint said.
Proposed changes to the regulations that govern land use in New Canaan, now before the town, appear harmless but in fact have dramatic and harmful implications, according to a consultant hired by a set of neighbors opposed to them. Grace Farms’ proposed text amendments to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations appear “innocuous at first blush,” according to Don Poland, senior vice president and managing director of urban planning at East Hartford-based Goman+York. Yet if the Planning & Zoning Commission were to approve the organization’s application, it would “exacerbate the issues of appropriate scale, intensity of use and threats of encroachment across all zones—residential and commercial—in New Canaan,” Poland said in a report filed with P&Z. Specifically, Grace Farms—a “religious institution,” under the regulations—is for practical reasons seeking permission to have more than one such principal use designation. Yet “if the proposed regulation amendment is approved, not only can Grace Farms Foundation be allowed to continue its request for multiple principal uses, but also could subsequently apply for additional principal uses, such as Elderly Housing, Adult Housing, Congregate Care, Bed and Breakfast, Private School, Day Care and Private Recreation,” according to Poland’s May 15 report.