Divided P&Z Nears Decision on Library

During their seventh hearing on New Canaan Library’s application to rebuild its facility, members of the Planning & Zoning Commission last week set up a vote between two options regarding the fate of what remains of an original library building. One of them, tagged “Option A” and developed mainly by P&Z Chair John Goodwin, would allow for the library project to commence and, one year in, the organization would present options to P&Z to “appropriately commemorate” the 1913 building and 1936 addition. “It is the assumption that significant aspects of the 1913 and/or 1936 building will be preserved in some meaningful way on the site,” according to the language of the draft approval, obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request. The other, “Option B,” developed mainly by Commissioner Dan Radman, calls for construction to be put off until the library has submitted a plan to “incorporate and integrate” the east and north facades and roof of the old buildings so that they’re “maintained on the site in a location satisfactory to the Commission.” If there’s “no feasible way” to do that, the project can start without a plan for preservation, under draft Option B.

As drafted for the start of the meeting, neither scenario meets the standard set by a preservation group that has said the 1913 building must be restored—that is, its southern and western walls re-closed—and remain in place. Library officials last month said they’d be willing to preserve and move the Main Street-facing portico and facade of the 1913 building to the western property line. 

The language in both options is expected to undergo revision based on the commissioners’ discussion at the 4.5-hour meeting, held June 29 via videoconference.

New Accessory Dwelling Proposed for Hemlock Hill Road Property

The owners of a 3.82-acre property in northern New Canaan are seeking permission to replace two garages, including one with a two-bedroom apartment above, with a single new, smaller structure that includes a dwelling on the second-floor. The two-bedroom apartment at 81 Hemlock Hill Road would be located above a new three-car garage, according to an application filed on behalf of the property’s owners by architect Dan Radman of RADMANarchitects. The property includes a 1935-built, 10,000-square-foot home, tax records show. According to the application, the two freestanding garages currently on the property have a combined coverage of 1,627 square feet, while the new structure would be about 1,211 square feet. “In lieu of an additional pool house, we have decided to include a bathroom with shower, as well as additional storage areas, into this new garage, thereby consolidating two potential accessory structures into one,” the application said.