Neighbor’s Concerns About Nature Center Grounds Include Disused Trails, Fallen Trees

Officials say the New Canaan Nature Center neighbor who recently flagged concerns about the park’s grounds is taking issue specifically with what he calls disused trails not properly “returned to nature” as well as improper removal of fallen trees. John Busch of Oenoke Ridge Road additionally showed members of the Park & Recreation Commission “examples of water walkways that are left to fall apart or rot,” commissioner Gene Goodman said during the group’s Feb. 10 meeting. The resident “suggested that there are ways to make the park more in tune with what the park should be, especially if you want it natural,” Goodman said at the meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “Things that are not being done or are not being done correctly, in his opinion, that would be a benefit.”

Busch had come to the commission’s January meeting and expressed in general terms that he was dissatisfied with management of the Nature Center’s grounds.

Neighbor of New Canaan Nature Center Raises Concerns About Condition of Grounds

A longtime next-door neighbor of the New Canaan Nature Center told officials at a public meeting last week that the organization is failing to care properly for its grounds and that he plans to share steps with the town to correct existing problems and ensure they do not re-emerge. John Busch of Oenoke Ridge Road told members of the Park & Recreation Commission that he’s lived just north of the Nature Center for nearly 20 years “and I walk the trails all the time.”

“And I daresay I know a lot about how the land has been cared for and, in my opinion, not cared for,” Busch told the commission at its regular meeting, held Wednesday night in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “I would like to share some thoughts not only about the condition currently but actions that I think this commission could take to improve the condition of the land not just now but in the future.”

Chairman Sally Campbell said the commission would form a subcommittee to establish whether it has oversight of the property and, if so, walk the grounds with Busch and report back to the full group at its meeting in February. Asked by commissioner Matt Konspore for a quick summary of what exactly is wrong, Busch answered: “The Nature Center’s land is something not been cared for. There is a lot of debris.

Banning Dogs from Bristow: Town Council To Seek Legal Opinion on 1934 Deed

Faced with a renewed effort to ban dogs from a wooded 17-acre property that adjoins Mead Park, officials said Wednesday night that they will seek a legal opinion to help interpret an 81-year-old deed that restricts its use. Town Council members said during a special meeting that more investigation is needed to determine whether, taken together, two restrictions in the deed for the 17-acre parcel known as ‘Bristow Bird Sanctuary’ amount to a ban even on leashed dogs. While the deed says that Bristow “shall be forever maintained as a Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve, and used for no other purpose whatsoever,” it also specifies “that the public shall enjoy the free use of the property consistent with the purpose described in these conditions.”

“I am not sure dog-walking is not consistent with a ‘free use of the property,’ ” Councilman Kevin Moynihan, a lawyer, said during the meeting, held in the Community Room at the New Canaan Nature Center. Town Council Chairman Bill Walbert agreed, saying of the condition cited by Moynihan: “That statement creates more gray than just the initial look at the deed.”

“As a layman reads the deed, it’s hard not to say, ‘No dogs.’ And it’s hard as a legislative body to ignore the rules. But we are layman reading this deed.

Parks Officials Seek To Ban Dogs from Bristow, Formerly a Bird Sanctuary

Parks officials want to ban dogs altogether from Bristow Bird Sanctuary, a public park off of 106 that adjoins Mead Park. If the Town Council updates an ordinance that deals with dogs in public parks, then the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control Unit could ticket anyone with a dog in Bristow, even if it’s leashed, members of the Park & Recreation Commission said Wednesday night at their regular monthly meeting. “There are plenty of places for dogs to go in town on leash, so it is not like they would be denied recreational access,” the commission’s chair, Sally Campbell, said during the meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. The commission had taken up the matter one year ago and, despite reservations from the parks superintendent about how widespread was the desire to ban dogs from Bristow, made a recommendation to the Ordinance Subcommittee of the Town Council. That effort went nowhere.

Coming To Mead: ‘3-Hour Maximum’ Signs To Deter Long-Term Parking

Commuters, some out-of-state, and guests at nearby condominiums appear to be using Mead Park for long-term parking, prompting the town to take action, officials said Wednesday. Public works has ordered up ‘3-hour maximum parking’ signs and soon will place them throughout Mead in order to empower parking enforcement officers to ticket the violators, members of the Park & Recreation Commission said at their regular monthly meeting. “The cars have three-quarters inches of that stuff coming off of the trees now,” commissioner Andrea Peterson said at the group’s meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center (“pollen,” others supplied). “There are cars that are laden with it.”

“There are cars with New York state plates, cars with Ohio plates. People must have out-of-town guests that just leave their cars there.”

She added: “One of the local condo associations says part of the spiel when you buy a condo is that yes, you can park at Mead.”

Recreation Director Steve Benko clarified that after the Park Mead Condominiums were sold, the new owner limited residents to a single car, “and some people have two cars.”

As a result, those residents at first were told to go park at Mead—a situation that the selectmen have addressed with the condos, Benko said.