Did You Hear … ?

Scores of New Canaanites joined students of architecture and fans of the Midcentury Modern style at The Glass House on Saturday for the annual Summer Party, a fundraiser for the National Trust for Historic Preservation site. Sipping Taittinger champagne and bringing picnic baskets prepared by Campagna and The Bedford Post Inn, attendees roamed the 49-acre property on a bright, sunny day, entering buildings that include not just the famous Glass House but also Da Monsta and Philip Johnson’s painting gallery and library. Others lounged by a pond down the back of the property or by the pool near the main house. See photos above. ***

A woman who hurt herself after falling on the sidewalk in front of Dunkin Donuts on Elm Street in January has filed a letter of intent to sue New Canaan, according to a notice filed with the town. It happened at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan 12 at what the woman’s New Canaan-based lawyer is calling “a dangerous and unsafe pedestrian sidewalk which was improperly repaired, maintained, cleared of snow, sleet and/or ice and/or improperly treated with salt, sand or the like.” The woman hurt her “right fingers, right hand, right wrist, right arm, right elbow, right shoulder, neck back and buttocks,” according to the Notice of Intention to Commence Action Against Municipality.

Farewell, Margaret: Oenoke Ridge Family Loses Well-Loved, 300-Year-Old Apple Tree

“You will always be in our heart … because in there you’re still alive.” —Angelina Hubertus, 8, writing to the apple tree ‘Margaret’ in her diary

The Hubertus family cannot say just how or when it settled on ‘Margaret’ in naming the apple tree by the driveway of this lovingly landscaped 4-acre Oenoke Ridge Road property. Yet at some point for Gregory and Linda Hubertus, and their 8-year-old daughter Angelina, Margaret’s eyes, nose and lips took shape in the tree’s knobby trunk, and there is something in the tree’s bearing and bark (the plant is estimated to be 300 years old) that animates, gives an impression of a living thing that is more than passive. Straightaway after purchasing this upper Oenoke property last summer and moving into its 1810-built house, the Hubertuses found themselves gathering near Margaret, turning toward her—Angelina and her friends pedaling their bikes around the tree last fall, family golden-doodle Barley playing on the snow piled up near the tree this winter, and Gregory just weeks ago voicing a plan to relocate some outdoor furniture in her ample shade. “Everybody loves this apple tree,” Linda told NewCanaanite.com on a recent morning.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan on Thursday put a lien on the Forest Street property cited for violating the town’s blight ordinance. Signed by Blight Officer Brian Platz, the town’s chief building official, the 1829-built multi-family home at 74 Forest St. is deteriorating and its .3-acre property is unkempt. The “Blight Lien and Certification of Continuing Lien” notice in the Town Clerk’s office says that $9,800 was owed as of May 22 and $100 per day additional is to be assessed as of that date (bringing the total to $11,500 as of Monday, June 8). ***

More than 40 residents attended NewCanaanite.com’s inaugural Community Coffee on Friday, and the sole topic of discussion for the hour-long talk was the Pop Up Park downtown, suspended by the committee that created and managed it after some merchants raised concerns about traffic and the makeshift plaza’s effect on business.

At Public Hearing, Locals Agree That Norway Maple at Town Hall Should Come Down

Though New Canaan’s tree warden hasn’t yet made a formal decision, and opinions range on what landscaping is best long-term for the front lawn of the renovated and expanded Town Hall, the consensus among those attending a public hearing Tuesday night regarding the Norway maple tree there—including a town woman who originally had objected to the tree’s removal—was to take it down. Tree Warden Bruce Pauley’s idea of removing the Norway maple and planting a sugar maple on either side of the main path up to Town Hall appeals to Dave Hunt, a town resident for nearly 40 years and one of more than 50 people who attended the hearing. Hunt said his first reaction on hearing that the Norway maple was slated for removal was that he hates to lose a big old tree, “same as in my yard.”

“But then I think about [how] we have this quintessential town, and we saved the façade of Town Hall—we really did all the right things, in my mind, to keep that perfect little New England community—and the idea of putting in quintessential New England trees like two sugar maples just seems to fit that to a tee,” Hunt said at the hearing, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “Especially given what I am hearing tonight about the issues with this tree.”

Those issues—outlined mostly by New Canaan’s Andrea Sandor, whose objection to Pauley’s posting had prompted the hearing—include that the tree is non-native, appears to be brittle and breaking and has suffered from soil compaction. “The tree has to be taken down—it is hazardous,” Sandor said, citing the “structural opinion” of a master arborist she had retained.

Public Hearing on Norway Maple Tree at Town Hall Scheduled for June 2

Prompted by a request from a town resident, New Canaan’s tree warden has scheduled a public hearing regarding the widely discussed Norway maple out front of the recently renovated and expanded Town Hall. Tree Warden Bruce Pauley said the hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2 in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “In accordance with Sec. 23-59 of the CT State Statutes, anyone may voice their concerns, objections, and/or other grievances regarding this, and only this, tree,” Pauley said in a public notice. “All those persons wishing to be heard on this issue are invited to attend and let their thoughts be heard.”

The Norway maple, a non-native species that Pauley has described as “breaking up” and which used to have a companion tree on the north side of the main walkway on the front lawn of Town Hall, made headlines last month when town resident Andrea Sandor objected to the tree warden’s tagging it for removal.