Cristina A. Ross

Recent Articles

Despite Calls To Slow Down, Town Council by 7-3 Vote Approves Redesign of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

Thanking the volunteers who conceived of the plan and vowed to fund it—and despite opposition from some professional landscape architects—New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday night voted in favor of a redesign of a prominent garden at Waveny. The Town Council—New Canaan’s land use authority—at its special meeting voted 7-3 in favor of what some have called a “substantial redesign” of the parterre or “upper garden” at the beloved town park, though a national organization and prominent local landscape architect cautioned against a hasty approval. During an emotionally charged meeting at Town Hall, councilmen expressed regret that the two parties holding different opinions on what is best for the garden—the New Canaan Garden Club on one side with the redesign, and Keith Simpson Associates and a Washington, D.C.-based coalition on the other, advocating for a historic restoration—could not find a middle ground. Councilman Joe Paladino said he would like to see an “expanded dialogue” between the two sides—calling the Garden Club “an agency with decades and decades” of service to the town, and Simpson himself “an individual with hundreds and hundreds of hours that have benefitted our town.”

Yet a respectful exchange of ideas did not appear to be forthcoming, and the Town Council after some discussion approved the Garden Club’s plan. Those voting in favor included Chairman John Engel, Vice Chairmen Sven Englund and Rich Townsend, Steve Karl, Christa Kenin, Cristina A. Ross and Liz Donovan. Continue Reading →

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Audit Committee Chairman: New Canaan Should Review Bonding Practices

New Canaan’s bonded debt is the highest among all neighboring towns, the chairman of the Audit Committee said Wednesday night. What the town has bonded and plans to fund through bonding—typically large capital projects and equipment—would come, together, to nearly 100 percent of its revenues, Bill Parrett told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting. “It was a surprise to me,” Parrett said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The question of just what New Canaan funds through bonding is “a significant issue,” according to Parrett, because though the IRS has rules and regulations around the practice, “that should not govern what we do as a town, as to what we in fact bond or don’t bond. “And when you bond something, as you all know, that is borrowing money±—sort of like a home equity loan, you have to pay it back … and we bonded quite a bit over last couple of years. Continue Reading →

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Town Councilman Pushes To Resolve Beetle Infestation at Former Outback Teen Center Building

A member of the Town Council on Wednesday night called for the legislative body to push officials to address a documented “powder post beetle” infestation at the former Outback Teen Center Building. Told that the town likely won’t address the problem until a more comprehensive report on the building’s capital needs and possible future use is in hand, Councilman Cristina A. Ross said that it’s been “slightly over one year” since the infestation was identified and “I am really surprised and concerned that this just keeps going and now we are waiting for another report and no action has been taken.”

“So I think it’s within our [Town Council Infrastructure & Utilities] subcommittee to be able to recommend to the Board of Selectmen to act on [an RFP for remediation] and to take care of the infestation at this point,” she said at the group’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. No one knows what’s going to happen with the cavernous structure behind town hall. It’s been two years since the Outback Teen Center closed, unable either to make enough money to run itself or convince town officials to support a re-imagined, broad program that went beyond serving just teens. It reverted to town ownership last July and the vacant building has been vandalized since then. Continue Reading →

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Republicans Back Moynihan, Williams at Caucus; Butterworth, Engel, Townsend and Young for Town Council [UPDATED]

New Canaan Republicans by a 10-vote margin on Tuesday backed Kevin Moynihan for the town’s highest elected office, voting 612-602 in favor of the Town Council member with incumbent First Selectman Rob Mallozzi coming in second at the party’s caucus, while voting for a mix of established and new candidates in down-ballot races. Here’s a table breaking down the results of the caucus, held at New Canaan High School (story continues below):

 

Selectman Nick Williams, a three-term incumbent, won party backing over challenger Christa Kenin, elected two years ago to the Town Council. And among Republicans vying for seats on the Town Council, the top-four vote-getters were incumbents John Engel and Penny Young, as well as two newcomers to elected office, Tom Butterworth and Rich Townsend, who garnered more votes than anyone. Asked about the prospect of a primary in September, given the close margin, Mallozzi said: “I am going to sit back and think about things. The 10-vote swing is not a big swing, so clearly there is a lot of support for both candidates in town. Continue Reading →

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Republican Candidates for First Selectman: A Primary Is ‘Likely’ [CORRECTED]

[Editor’s Note: A direct quote attributed to Cristina Ross regarding her position on a possible future primary has been updated for accuracy.]

Republican candidates for first selectman Cristina Ross and Kevin Moynihan said during a debate this week that that it is “likely” that there will be a primary in the coming fall election should they fail to win party backing at the July 18 caucus. “I think it’s very likely that it might come to a primary,” Ross, currently a member of the Town Council and also a member of the RTC, said during the organization’s second candidates’ debate, held Wednesday at Town Hall. “I will assess the number of [RTC] votes [following the caucus] and see where things stand [before making a decision].”

Moynihan, also a member of the Town Council and the RTC, said it would “really depend on what the vote [count] is.” He pointed out that while primaries for first selectman seats in neighboring towns including Darien and Greenwich “are quite common,” still “we’ve never had a primary in New Canaan.”

But this time around, “with three people in the race” for first selectman, “it increases the likelihood of a primary,” Moynihan said during the debate, co-moderated by Michael Dinan of NewCanaanite.com and Greg Reilly of the New Canaan Advertiser. “I think it’s very likely [that there will be a primary],” he added. Ross and Moynihan are challenging three-term incumbent First Selectman Rob Mallozzi. Continue Reading →

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