Letter: Forest Street Proposal Would Harm Downtown New Canaan Character

To the editor:

I attended the Nov. 1 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting because I was interested in the discussion concerning a proposed Zoning Regulation Amendment for 42 Forest St. The applicant seeks approval to amend Zoning Regulation regarding Business Zone, Area and Dimensional Requirements, Maximum Building Heights and Special Provisions for Business Zones, Yard Exceptions of the Regulations. The owner also requests a Site Plan Approval and a Special Permit Approval in order to permit the construction of a mixed-use development containing approximately 1,300 s.f. of commercial space and seven residential condominium units with associated parking, landscaping and utility improvements in the Retail B Zone

During the public comments period, I spoke about the proposed building next to our new post office. I feel that the proposed building is out if character in our town.

Developer Seeks To Create New Mixed-Use Building, Townhouses at Forest and Locust

A Westport real estate firm is seeking to create a new, mixed-use building and adjoining row of townhouses at the northwest corner of Forest Street and Locust Avenue—site of the long-vacant former Bank of America building. In an application filed on behalf of Silver Heights Development, officials said they want to put a mixed-use building with 1,500 square feet of ground floor retail uses and two residential units above facing Locust Avenue, and five townhouses fronting Forest Street. Schematics included in the Aug. 24 application show that the mixed-use building would run to the corner of Forest and Locust. The application for the .4-acre lot at 42 Forest St.—from attorney Jacqueline Kaufman, a partner at Stamford-based Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey LLP—includes two proposed changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to make the project possible as it now is envisioned.

Embody Fitness Gourmet Opens for Business on Forest Street


As builders are putting the finishing touches on Heritage Square, the new mixed retail-residential building on Forest Street, the complex’s first street-level merchant has opened its doors. Embody Fitness Gourmet welcomed its first customers last Thursday, kicking off a soft-opening “pre-launch” campaign. The Forest Street outpost is Embody owner Gillen Bryan’s third location and also the biggest, featuring plenty of seating and space where clientele can stay and enjoy the cafe’s quick-service, health-oriented cuisine. “The buildout was phenomenal,” Bryan told NewCanaanite.com. “Working with our property developer Christopher Gatto was an awesome experience and we really worked together build out a fantastic space to really enhance the customer experience.

‘Like It’s Indianapolis’: On Forest, a Call to Change On-Street Parking for Safety’s Sake

Saying motorists take Forest Street “like it’s Indianapolis,” a New Canaan resident is calling on town officials to re-jigger parking so that cars pulling out of driveways there can safely enter the roadway. On-street parking on Forest currently is allowed to about number 54—the last residence on the west side of the street before the vacant Bank of America building, as zipping motorists travel south, Chris Hussey told the Police Commission at the group’s most recent meeting. When those parked cars are SUVs, “if you are coming out of that driveway—and there are two driveways, three buildings with four families in them—you cannot see,” Hussey said at the group’s May 20 meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “It is a blind spot, and you are coming out and you are the driver and they are they are coming down Forest Street like it’s Indianapolis, and by time you get out, they are there on top of you. And what I had suggested and hoped they would do at some point was to push the parking back, maybe not even not quite to Hillside Avenue—because there’s a condo complex there on the right, Forest Knoll—but maybe to that driveway, just so you have an opportunity to come out and see who is there.

Forest Street Businesses on Parking Plan during Construction: ‘It’s Just Nuts’

The one-way block of Forest Street—narrow, bursting with restaurants, halted during deliveries and drop-offs and home to a newly designated loading zone—will lose 10 parking spaces for a two-week stretch next month and then three separate spaces for about one year, as a widely anticipated building project at number 21 gets underway. Demolition of two buildings there—the former Forest Street Deli and Farmer’s Table (going further back, BMW Lindner Cycle Shop)—starts today (Thursday) and continues through midday Friday. It’s the first step toward what eventually will be a three-story, mixed residential-and-retail complex that will lie roughly between the New Canaan Dance Academy and brick building at the Locust Avenue corner, home to the Board of Education’s administrative offices. Saying they’re supportive of the overall project and that it ultimately will be good for New Canaan, business owners on the street expressed frustration Wednesday with what they called poor communication about the imminent parking disruption. “The stop-and-drop people who are there with the dance studio and that kind of thing have gotten to a point where Forest Street is clogged up entirely, people can’t park on the street and now we are told today—today—that there will be [10] more spaces taken out of the loop, which is insane,” Tequila Mockingbird owner Paul Mauk (speaking mostly on behalf of Gates, where he’s a partner), said during a meeting of the Police Commission, held in the New Canaan Police Department training room.