‘It’s Not Even a Close Call’: ZBA Unanimously Denies Oenoke Ridge Road Neighbor’s Appeal

Saying a New Canaan couple has misinterpreted and incorrectly applied both local ordinances and state laws, town officials last week unanimously rejected an appeal that would have forced their next-door neighbor to apply for a special permit. The activities at 757 Oenoke Ridge Road do not rise to the level of farming as defined by the Connecticut General Statutes, and in any case the parcel likely is grandfathered since applicable town regulations came after the family that lives and enjoys their property there now have done so since before their adoption, members of the Zoning Board of Appeals said during their regular meeting. The ZBA voted 5-0 to deny an appeal brought by Peter and Kathy Streinger, of 785 Oenoke Ridge Road. “To me, it’s not even a close call,” board member Angelo Ziotas said at the Nov. 7 meeting, held at Town Hall.

Did You Hear … ?

The alpacas of Crajah House on Oenoke Ridge Road on Tuesday were shorn of their thick winter coats—see photos above. Their owner, New Canaan’s Debbie McQuilkin, tells us the process for each “blanket” includes picking out sticks, hay and straw, then going for the secondary areas of the neck, backside and legs. The material is sent to a fiber mill where it’s washed, cleaned again and dyed or made into a yarn that McQuilkin herself chooses—fine knitting or heavy weaving for rugs. It also can be sent back for hand spinning or felting, McQuilkin said. The alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and contains no lanolin, and it’s naturally fire-resistant.

Did You Hear … ?

Planning officials on Tuesday night approved the site plan for a proposed new Post Office on Locust Avenue. Following concerns about traffic circulation around the proposed structure at 18-26 Locust Ave., the applicant updated the site plan so that one-way traffic comes in from the east side of the building and goes out on the west side. Conditions of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s approval include changes to lighting in front of the proposed building and looking into ways to create more parking spaces than the 27 currently approved (some nine of which would serve Post Office customers, officials say). It isn’t clear just when construction would start on a new building—the Post Office has sent a 10-year lease to the project’s developer that now is under review. ***

Congratulations to NCHS trainer Diane Murphy on being recognized by the Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association as “Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year” 2015.

Crajah House: The Alpacas of Oenoke Ridge

Debbie McQuilkin on a recent morning stepped into the paddock she had built last summer on this historic, prominent Oenoke Ridge Road property. She scooped a bucket of grain from the shed and then turned to face the huge brown eyes and serene, slow-moving heads of her newest, most voluminous pets, explaining how all of this started, while—in a habit that animal-lovers often share—interspersing her human-to-human sentences by addressing the beasts directly, and in a higher-pitched voice. “Abby is a little shy still. Go on, Gigi. Come here.