Did You Hear … ?

The Cedar Knolls, N.J.-based company that brings in coaches from the United Kingdom to instruct youth soccer players in New Canaan hit a snag in immigration this year that’s limited its ability to bring back most of its coaches from last fall. The matter is being addressed head-on with parents by the New Canaan Football Club. The contracted company, UK Elite, has accelerated its search to bring in replacement coaches for the NCFC’s Travel and Academy teams this spring. ***

Police received a report at about 10:22 a.m. Sunday about a distressed dog in a car at the Acme (Food Emporium) lot on Elm Street. The owner turned up and left the with dog, according to Officer Allyson Halm of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section.

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Police at 9:01 a.m. last Friday were dispatched to Irwin Park on a report of a dog fight. There, they discovered that a dog belonging to a Woods End Road neighbor of the park had gotten out, bolted into the park and jumped another (leashed) dog. Neither animal was punctured or suffered injuries, Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm said. ***

Congratulations to the 48 New Canaan High School students who excelled at the March 14 national Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science competition at the University of New Haven. New Canaan’s varsity A and B teams placed first and second in their divisions, respectively.

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The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved proposed new rates at Waveny Pool for the upcoming season and moved forward an appropriation of $131,500 out of the self-sustaining pool’s own fund to get a water heater in it ahead of the Memorial Day weekend opening. If May is a cold weather month, the water temperature can get as low as 68 degrees on opening, before the summer sun moves up the barometer, according to the town’s recreation director. ***

Dozens of residents flocked to the Laurel Reservoir through the weekend to get photos of the bald eagles that had been spotted there Thursday morning, scavenging the carcass of a deer that appeared to have died on an icy surface. Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm said she has seen as many as five bald eagles there, two adults and three younger birds. ***

The new push-button signs planned for pedestrians at God’s Acre where St.

Second Violation on West Road: Pond’s Vegetation Cleared without Permissions

Town officials say they need a more detailed landscaping plan for a West Road property after discovering recently that vegetation around a pond had been removed without permissions—the second time that Inland Wetlands violations had been found on the 5.57-acre parcel. Michael Platt, assistant manager of the property at 559 West Road, told the Inland Wetlands Commission at its meeting on Monday night that he thought it was OK to remove what he called small forsythia and other bushes from around the pond that had dried out and died. Platt said his plan had been to replant the area and he realized after speaking to municipal workers that he “should not have done that.”

“So I do apologize,” Platt said during a public hearing, held in the Town Hall Meeting Room. “It was kind of a new ambition in the new job to try and remove the dead plants and foliage and put in new stuff.”

He added that he thought because the pond was manmade, it may be exempt from the regulations—it is not, as bodies of water “natural or artificial” are defined as watercourses under the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations (see page 7 here). Commissioners raised the prospect of fining the property’s owners—a suggestion that the staff members who make such decisions said they would take under advisement.

Officials to Neighbors Concerned about Proposed ‘Greenway’: ‘There Is No Back Door to Crossing the Wetlands’

Concerned that a proposed 3-lot subdivision on Weed Street—and, separately but related, a planned public footpath that’s part of what open space advocates envision for the site—could negatively impact wetlands and aesthetics in the area, neighbors on Monday night urged officials at a public hearing to proceed carefully with approvals. Strictly speaking, the only proposal before the Inland Wetlands Commission now is for a moderately expanded driveway into the 9-acre lot just north of the intersection at Wahackme (and on the east side of Weed), beneath which new utility lines would be installed, for the two additional lots. That said, the overall site plan—which will require its own applications and hearings—calls for subdivision of the lot , as well as a conservation easement for a strip of land that open space advocates including the New Canaan Land Trust would like to use in order to create a new walk-able trail from the Nature Center to Weed Street in the area of Irwin Park. One neighbor on Weed Street, Dan Radman, told the commission during Monday’s hearing that he wanted “to be sure that if there is an approval to make, it is not the domino effect that it is already the first stepping stone into ‘understood subdivision’ and ‘understood pathway,’ which it should not be.”

Commission Secretary George Blauvelt assured him: “There is no back door into crossing the wetlands.”

“When they [members of the Land Trust] get to a point where they are actually ready to begin the approval process, they will have to come back to this commission and they will have to submit plans,” Blauvelt said at the public hearing, held in the Sturgess Room at the New Canaan Nature Center. “And the public will be invited to hear them and they will have to make their case as to why, if in fact their plans require crossing wetlands, why it would be a good thing, and it would be another opportunity for everyone to take a look.”

Ultimately, the commission decided not to take action on the driveway application, for two main reasons.