David Rucci

Recent Articles

Letter: Last Week’s School Start Times Survey Lacked Context

On April 19, New Canaan parents and students were asked by New Canaan Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi to take an unannounced School Start Times Survey. Many adults and children who attempted to respond to the survey found it to be confusing, especially the parents of Saxe students. Furthermore, the survey was conducted before the district made any effort to inform parents about the important impact that school start times have on student health. Thus, many parents and students felt that they did not have enough knowledge of the issue to answer the questions in an informed way. Thanks to the New Canaan League of Women Voters, there is a great opportunity next week for the community to learn more about why the district is evaluating school start times: because decades of research has shown that a 7:30 a.m. start is detrimental to student health; it is harmful to such a degree that every major medical organization in the country has recommended that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Parents, students and others in the community are invited to a panel discussion on adolescent sleep on May 3 at 7 p.m. in NCHS Wagner Room. Continue Reading →

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ZBA Green-Lights New Two-Family Home on East Avenue

The Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved two variances allowing for the construction of a two-family home at 72 East Ave.—however, the project still needs approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission in order to move forward. William Panella plans to raze an existing 1,400-square-foot home on the property, where his late mother Mary had lived, and remove a non-compliant detached garage in the rear in order to build a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. However, in order to get a special permit for the project he needed relief from a requirement that the property have a minimum of 100 feet of frontage (it has only 93 feet) and that the site allow for a conceptual 100-foot diameter “circle” of open area where there is no building footprint (the “circle” is just short at 97 feet) —both of which were granted at the ZBA meeting. The application was continued from the board’s October meeting after some board members expressed concerns over the driveway shown in a preliminary site plan. The initial plan showed the driveway running from East Avenue all the way to the rear of the property, where it was to connect with the parking lot for a new residential and commercial development currently underway at 23 Vitti St. Continue Reading →

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Plan to Build Two-Family Home on East Avenue Stalls at ZBA

An application for a variance that would allow a two-family residence on East Avenue to replace a 1900-built single family home there was continued Monday night after town officials expressed concerns over the proposed driveway and pedestrian access way included in the project. On its face, property owner William Panella’s request for a variance for 72 East Ave. is straightforward: The applicant is requesting relief from the residential Zone B requirement for a minimum 100 feet of street frontage, as the property only allows for about 93 feet of frontage, and to allow the driveway from East Avenue to connect with another driveway and parking lot for an adjacent commercial property on Vitti Street. Panella plans to tear down the existing 1,400-square-foot home, where his late mother Mary had lived, as well as the detached garage in the rear and construct a new, residential style, two-family dwelling measuring about 4,000 square feet. Before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, attorney David Rucci of Lampert Williams & Toohey LLC explained that he is, in fact, representing two clients on the project, William Panella, son of the late Mary Panella, whose property is the subject of the application, and Panella’s development partner, Art Collins, who is developing an adjacent property on Vitti Street, directly behind the property on East Avenue and in the town’s Business B zone (see map below). Continue Reading →

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‘It Seems a Little Excessive’: P&Z Voices Concern over Request for Second Sign Behind Bank-Owned Building

Saying a proposed second sign out back of a corporate building on Elm Street was too large, the Planning & Zoning Commission at its most recent hearing continued an application filed on behalf a community bank. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see the final paragraph on page 127 here), P&Z may grant a business a second sign larger than one square foot for the rear entrance of a first-floor use. Yet what Bankwell had proposed for the non-walk-in, corporate headquarters at 220 Elm St.—a building that houses other commercial tenants—appears to be too big at 12-by-134 feet, according to P&Z Secretary Jean Grzelecki. “It seems a little excessive,” Grzelecki said at the group’s June 26 special meeting, held in Town Hall. “I could see this being totally appropriate if in fact Bankwell were moving into this building, with one sign on the front and one sign on the back, to identify for its own customers coming. Continue Reading →

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‘Orchards End’ Health and Wellness Organization To Seek Special Permit To Operate at Oenoke Ridge Residence

A special permit application will be filed on behalf of a new health-and-wellness enterprise on Oenoke Ridge Road, according to an attorney representing the organization. Discussed at a Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday, Orchards End seeks to “to bring preventative and restorative lifelong health solutions to souls looking to enrich their lives through mind, body and spiritual enlightenment,” according to its mission statement. Services include personal and group training classes, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, nutrition counseling, massage and holistic health seminars. Attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert Toohey & Rucci, LLC said Orchards End of 544 Oenoke Ridge road “is not an ongoing commercial enterprise.”

“Our special permit application will specifically describe the activities at the property as far as any nonresidential use,” he told NewCanaanite.com. The applicant will file for a special permit as a “Major Home Occupation,” described in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations as follows (see page 24): “The use of a dwelling for a home-based business involve two or more non-resident employees or six or more patron, client or associate visits per week.”

A major home occupation is a permitted accessory use and requires a special permit, under Section 3.3.C.3 of the zoning regulations (see page 49). Continue Reading →

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