The town is on pace to exceed its fiscal year 2021 budget of $300,000 in legal fees by tens of thousands of dollars, records show. Members of the Board of Selectmen discussed the high legal costs during their regular meeting Tuesday, while approving payment of a $40,271 legal bill for March from the town attorney’s firm that brought the total spent since July 1 to $297,967.79, according to a summary invoice. The town pays a $8,500 monthly retainer to Berchem Moses PC. “So we are definitely going to go over budget this year,” Selectman Nick Williams said during the meeting. “We’ve only got $2,000 remaining in the budget.”
As he has in the past, Williams noted that the single most-expensive legal matter on the bill involves a dispute over a proposed terrace on God’s Acre and ownership of the property.
New Canaan’s highest elected official said last week that the town government is working toward a “hybrid” approach to public meetings that will allow people to continue attending via videoconference if they choose. The town has been “working with IT” to plan for a combination of in-person and remote meeting attendance, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “The hybrid approach, under the governor’s executive order, requires that a limited number of members of the public including media are allowed to attend,” Moynihan said during the Board of Selectmen’s April 6 meeting, itself held via videoconference. “We are trying to figure out how to do that. But hopefully or possibly at our next meeting in two weeks we will begin to do that.”
He spoke during a section of the meeting dedicated to general matters before the town, and in response to a question from Selectman Kathleen Corbet.
Town officials on Tuesday approved about $200,000 in contracts for the widely anticipated pickleball court installation project at Mead Park. The five pickleball courts that will replace the hard-surface all-season public tennis court at Mead should be ready for a late-June or early-July opening, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
The project includes replacement of a tennis backboard adjacent to the existing court and will see that practice area raised so it’s on-grade with the new pickleball area, Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “Pickleball is probably one of the fastest-growing sports in the country,” Mann said.”We are behind our neighbors as far as court installation.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of a $195,504 contract with West Haven-based Hinding Tennis Courts, LLC. The Parks & Recreation Commission heard a presentation on the project last month. Mann said that since then the town fielded concerns from a resident regarding noise from the planned courts, as well as location and proximity to neighbors.
The all-season tennis court that is to be converted into pickleball courts is located near the western edge of Mead Park and the Metro-North railroad tracks, behind the colonnade (it’s not one of the eight clay courts at Mead).
Town officials on Tuesday approved a proposal to relocate the Farmers Market from its longtime home in the Center School Lot to a corner of the Lumberyard Lot at the train station. The Farmer’s Market is on track to launch May 8 and will run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through November.
It will operate in the southwest corner of the Lumberyard, following a 3-0 vote by the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting.
“We think it’s going to be convenient to downtown, convenient for shoppers and guests,” Farmers Market volunteer Patricia Spugani said during the meeting, held via videoconference.
Some 30 vendors have already submitted applications to the New Canaan Health Department and the new space allows for expansion to accommodate additional vendors if needed, she said. “We are going to continue to require masks in the market and social distancing, along with that, no samples and no pets, which is consistent with any farmers market, with no pets,” she said. “One thing that is different, though, consistent with how we all behave in grocery stores, shoppers will be able to select their own produce. We think that food handling has been safe now, we know enough about the virus that people know to wash produce when they bring it home, and it will also keep things, traffic moving better in the market if the vendors do not have to do that for shoppers.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 to approve the new location for the Farmers Market.
According to a graphic that Spugani and Market Master Lexi Gazy presented at the meeting, motor vehicles will enter and exit the lot from Elm Street (opposite Karl Chevrolet), and there will be more than 100 on-site parking spaces for shoppers.
Town officials on Tuesday approved an approximately $20,000 contract for the design of new sidewalks that will make New Canaan’s most walkable elementary school even more walkable. As it is, sidewalks that run from both ends and on each side of Gower Road near South School terminate just at the edge of school property.
The existing sidewalks on Gower “actually stretch from South Avenue to the entrance to South School and then from Old Stamford Road eastward to South School, as well,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “There is nothing that traverses across South School’s property. There is a walkway along South School into the property but nothing along the right-of-way.”
The town asked Bridgeport-based Cabezas DeAngelis for a proposal for survey and design services “for these stretches of sidewalk to connect the two together,” Mann said. The total contract for those services comes to $19,800, including a contingency fee.