Attorney: No Legal Problem with Dogs at Bristow

Bristow Bird Sanctuary is a public park and there’s nothing in its original deed to say dogs aren’t allowed on the property, according to an attorney whose legal opinion on the matter had been sought by town officials. Leashed dogs have been walked in the park since at least 1999 and a legal review of several documents—deeds, studies, annual reports, announcements—yields “insufficient documentation to reach a conclusion regarding the intent of the Grantor and whether the covenants were intended to restrict dogs,” according to Gail Kelly of Westport-based Berchem, Moses & Devlin. “There is nothing in the 1934 Deed to suggest that dogs are not allowed with the Bird Sanctuary,” Kelly said in a memo (embedded below as a PDF) addressed to Town Council Vice Chair Steve Karl, head of the group’s Bylaws & Ordinances Subcommittee. The Town Council had sought the legal opinion following a public hearing on the matter, which saw residents on both sides of the issue make impassioned pleas to the legislative body. The 17-acre Bristow Bird Sanctuary is located off of adjoins Mead Park.

Forest Street Homeowner Cited for Blight, Faces $10,000 in Fines

A New Canaan homeowner is facing $10,000 in fines after building officials found Friday that his 1829-built home on Forest Street has run afoul of the town’s blight ordinance. The multi-family home at 74 Forest St.’s roof is deteriorating and no longer performing its function, garbage and debris can be seen inside a garage when its door is open, paint is peeling from the porch and other areas of the home’s exterior and overgrown shrubbery and an unkempt yard are visible—all from either the public way or adjoining properties, Chief Building Official Brian Platz said during a citation hearing on the matter. “The blight complaints that I have received have been over the course of three-and-a-half years and from several of the neighbors, so this has been ongoing for quite some time,” Platz said during the hearing, held in the conference room of the building department’s offices in Irwin Park. “In my opinion, it absolutely meets several definitions of blight.”

Hearing officer David Hunt of New Canaan reviewed each piece of evidence presented by Platz, agreed with the building official’s assessment and approved a fine of $100 per day backdated to Feb. 13 ($9,800 total, as of Friday), when a Citation of Violation had been sent via certified mail to the homeowner.