Volunteers Propose Permanent Flagstone Terrace at Top of God’s Acre

The volunteer group that formed a few months ago to continue Christmas Eve caroling in New Canaan is seeking permission to create a flagstone terrace at the top of God’s Acre that would serve as a public gathering space year-round where the Town Band could set up each Dec. 24 for the beloved community tradition. To feature a wall wide enough to sit on and to be stabilized by variously sized boulders dotted with low plantings below, the approximately 18-by-36-foot patio would be located directly across Park Street from the entrance to the Congregational Church, overlooking the new caroling tree, members of the caroling committee told the Historic District Commission during a presentation Thursday. “We are here just to get guidance,” committee member Tucker Murphy said during the Commission’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “We will submit a formal application once that seems to be appropriate.”

Other members of the committee include Steve Benko, Leo Karl III, Steve Karl, Lisa Melland, Keith Simpson and Tom Stadler, she said. 

Ultimately, the Commission voted unanimously in favor of the concept of the terrace, calling for more details and visuals, in part to determine just how the new structure would look from different points of view around God’s Acre.

Did You Hear … ?

The town on May 11 received an application for the owner of the Huguette Clark estate on Dan’s Highway to build a tennis court on the 52-acre property. The 120-by-60-foot court will cost $98,750 to build. The contractor on the job is Oval Tennis Inc. of Somers, N.Y., architect Frangione Engineering LLC of New Canaan. ***

Congratulations to New Canaan High School senior lacrosse player Nick Crovatto, who broke a longstanding Rams record Monday in a game vs. Trumbull with his 676th faceoff win.

Did You Hear … ?

Something must’ve happened out front of the 1850-built commercial building on the corner of Main Street and East Avenue, home to a gift shop, swimwear store and tailor. The town on Wednesday received a Freedom of Information Act request from a Stamford-based law firm for all New Canaan Police Department incident reports this month concerning snow or ice at 102 Main St., including abutting sidewalks. The request, from Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky, also seeks info on falls, complaints, fines, blight citations, 911 calls and building permit applications related to gutters, downspouts, roofs or sidewalks there. ***

Now that we’re in budget season, here’s a look at what the highest elected official is paid in New Canaan and nearby towns:

 

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The developer who earned high praise recently from historic preservationists for his design of a new house on Forest Street said throughout the process that it was important to him to be respectful of the neighborhood’s history. In fact, Tom Sturges is the great-grandson of Imogene Seymour, who had been curator for the New Canaan Historical Society from 1959 to 1968.

Seeking Less Costly Option, Town Council Rejects $550,000 Renovation Project at Vine Cottage

Saying they need to understand the building’s long-term purpose first and whether it could be passably restored (and legally occupied) for less money, members of New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday night unanimously rejected a proposal to renovate Vine Cottage for $550,000. The Town Council voted 10-0 against the bond issuance during its regular meeting. Councilman Christa Kenin said that though she appreciates the work that Architectural Preservation Studio, DPC put into a more comprehensive plan for the ca. 1860-built gabled structure, “I was a little surprised to see it on the agenda as a request for a bond.”

“It is a sweet house that needs a lot of work,” Kenin said, yet she’s a member of a recently appointed committee that’s been charged with making recommendations about town-owned buildings “and this is one of buildings that is at the top of our list to evaluate.”

“And I think even approving—whether it’s $550,000 or to come back to $100,000 before it falls to the ground—makes the assumption that we are going to hold onto this building, which may or may not be the case six months from now when we study the 44-plus buildings that the town is responsible for,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Ultimately, the Town Council charged New Canaan’s buildings superintendent with figuring out what would be the least costly project at Vine Cottage to make it inhabitable—by the town’s Human Services Department, its current occupant—for the next several months, until the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee comes forward with a recommendation on what to do.