An attorney representing the Congregational Church of New Canaan is asking town officials to correct the municipal tax database by listing the church as owner of God’s Acre. The question of ownership emerged in 2020, when officials from the church said they would block a town-backed plan to install a permanent stone terrace directly opposite Park Street from its front door.
Since then, led by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, the municipal government has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees seeking to establish the town as the owner of the .65-acre parcel. Now, according to attorney John F.X. Peloso, Jr. of Stamford-based Robinson + Cole, property records have surfaced that clearly show that God’s Acre is a church-owned property.
In March, Peloso and his team “consulted both the records of the Town Tax Assessor as well as those of the Tax Collector,” he wrote in an April 17 letter addressed to the New Canaan assessor. “Our online search revealed that, presently, there is no listing in either the Assessor’s or the Tax Collector’s database under the above criteria that identifies the record owner of the Property,” Peloso wrote in the letter, which was cited in a legal bill approved May 16 by the Board of Selectmen and obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a Freedom of Information Act request. Peloso adds that the chain of title points to two deeds, from January 26, 1773 (recorded in Norwalk Land Records) and December 29, 1903 (recorded in New Canaan Land Records).
“As you will see, the 1903 deed conveys the Property to the Church,” he wrote in the letter.