New Canaan Police are investigating the theft of landscaping equipment from a Valley Road home, reported at 3:14 p.m. Sunday. ***
An online petition opposed to the West School cell tower proposal has garnered nearly 600 digital signatures. It says, in part: “Better cell coverage is a good idea, but not a tower 600 feet behind our school. Let’s not experiment with our kids. Let’s not take this risk.
Municipal officials are asking the state to reconsider its recent decision to deny the town’s application for four years of relief from an affordable housing law. The Connecticut Department of Housing in its Oct. 18 denial letter to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that New Canaan fell short of the required “housing unit equivalent” points required for the moratorium. The town failed to correctly calculate its points, DOH Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said in the letter, and as a result is not exempt for a four-year period from the state law known by its statute number, 8-30g. Under it, developers who propose housing projects where at least 30% of units will be rented at affordable rates can get around local Planning & Zoning Commission decisions through an appeals process.
Members of the appointed body that oversees New Canaan’s Historic District—roughly, 21 properties around and near God’s Acre—said last week that plans to redevelop the former Red Cross building property are not in line with the town’s guidelines for the area. Plans filed in May at 51 Main St. call for the ca. 1889 structure—long associated with its former owner, the Red Cross (developer Arnold Karp purchased it five years ago through a limited liability company)—to be moved closer to the road while building a multi-family residential structure with 20 apartments behind it, six of which would be rent-restricted as part of an 8-30g affordable housing application. The Historic District Commission during its Oct.
After watching Town Attorney Ira Bloom’s presentation to the Board of Selectman this past Tuesday, it is important to correct the record with respect to the 2021 FOIA complaint that I had lodged against the Town.
The gravamen of my complaint related to 129 responsive public records that were withheld from production. To obtain access to those public records, I was required as a matter of administrative law to file a complaint with the FOI Commission and attend a public hearing. One of the principal outputs of that public hearing was the FOI Commission hearing officer ordering the Town to produce those withheld records for in camera review. After completing her independent review of those public records, as the New Canaanite has accurately reported, the hearing officer publicly issued a proposed final decision to the FOI Commission finding that the Town failed to prove that 15 of those 129 withheld records were exempt from public disclosure and that “[a]ccordingly, it is concluded that the respondents violated the FOI Act by withholding such records from the complainant.”
As the next step in the administrative law process to obtain those improperly withheld public records, I then attended a public hearing before the entire FOI Commission where the hearing officer’s proposed final decision was reviewed and discussed. During that public hearing, Attorney Nicholas Bamonte with Bercham Moses made a series of flagrant misstatements and mischaracterizations to the FOI Commission regarding the gravamen of my complaint, discussions with the FOI Ombudsman, and substance of the earlier FOI Commission hearing officer proceedings.
A prominent Connecticut attorney specializing in housing law last week filed comments with the state that are critical of New Canaan’s recent application for relief from a widely discussed affordable housing law. Raphael L. Podolsky of New Britain-based Connecticut Legal Services, who served on the first Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing from 1987 to 1989—the panel that drafted the proposal that was adopted in 1989 and codified as Section 8-30g of the Connecticut General Statutes—said New Canaan’s moratorium application has two major shortcomings.
They are the counting of “holdover points” and “the subtraction for demolished affordable housing,” Podolsky wrote in an Aug. 31 letter to Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno. “I believe that New Canaan’s interpretation of the statute on these issues is contrary to the letter of the law and undercuts the underlying purpose of those sections of the statute,” Podolsky wrote in the letter, obtained by NewCanaanite.com. “In effect, it produces a moratorium when the required point minimum has not been achieved.