‘They Are Trying To Run Roughshod Over The Process’: Aquarion’s Neighbors Issue Cease-and-Desist on Land Sale

Though it aims to subdivide and sell a large piece of untouched land tucked away behind Indian Waters Drive, the water company has no legal way to establish access from that private road and neighbors have issued a cease-and-desist order, one of them told New Canaan’s legislative body last week. Residents of Indian Waters Drive “are urgently trying to keep this as open land for the town” and Aquarion has “ignored us,” Peter Bergen told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting, held Wednesday at Town Hall. “We are prepared to work with the town, to work with the New Canaan Land Trust to try to keep this land open. I think this land is currently assessed at about $13,000 an acre that they are trying to sell for about $1.5 million an acre. So I am urging the town to keep considering this issue, to slow down the process, especially given the legal issues that are ongoing, where we do not believe for a second that they have access at all and they are trying to run roughshod over the process.”

He spoke during a public comments section at the top of the Town Council meeting.

Conservation Commission To Weigh In On Proposal To Develop Aquarion Land

Members of the volunteer municipal body tasked with advising the town on the management and protection of New Canaan’s natural resources said Thursday night that they plan to weigh in on a divisive proposal from the water company to develop a large wooded parcel that straddles the Noroton River watershed. The Conservation Commission’s role is “to gather facts and present our learned opinion to the Town Council about things like this,” the group’s chairman, Cam Hutchins, said during a special meeting, held in a Town Hall board room. “This is something we want to weigh in on, and we are not supposed to be biased, though our bias going in is that open space a good thing.”

Aquarion’s approximately 19-acre property occupies a wildlife- and wetlands-heavy parcel bordered by the points of three dead-ending roads—Indian Waters Drive, Welles Lane and Thurton Drive. Officials with the water company say they have entered an agreement with one neighbor who wants to purchase 8.3 acres contiguous to his or her property, and will pursue a 2-lot subdivision of the roughly 10 remaining acres, with frontage on Indian Waters Drive. Any land sale undertaken by Aquarion requires approval from the state agency that oversees utilities in Connecticut, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Letter: Conservation Commission Marks Passing of Andrew Clarkson

To the Editor,

All of us on the New Canaan Conservation Commission were sorry to hear about Andrew Clarkson’s recent passing. His philanthropic activities, as administered through the Jeniam Foundation, have always provided the right help at the right time, and his strong dedication to conservation and community enhancement has been extremely beneficial to our town. Thanks to support from the Jeniam Foundation, the Conservation Commission was able to procure our most recent Open Space Map for the Town of New Canaan, and the Foundation has always been open to listening to our plans and initiatives. On behalf of all us, and of the town in which we serve, we thank Andrew for his many years of wise generosity. Sincerely,

Cam Hutchins—Chairman

Susan Sweitzer—Secretary

Linda Andros, Heather Lauver and Robin O’Connell—Commissioners

First Selectman: Solarize New Canaan ‘Very Successful’

[Editor’s Note: The following press release was issued by the Office of the First Selectman of New Canaan.]

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi announced today that the Solarize New Canaan program, which began in December and will end on Earth Day, April 22, has been very successful, more than doubling the amount of solar panel kilowatts in the town from 223 kW to 483 kW. He also noted that PurePoint Energy, the Norwalk-based solar provider, had just announced that, based on 250kW of solar panels to be installed under the program, New Canaan had achieved Tier 3 maximum savings are based on the kW of the particular installation but for the average size system there would be additional bonus savings of $2,200 from the already discounted pricing. Similar savings will go to everyone that committed during the program. In addition, activities associated with the program have educated numerous residents about both solar power and energy efficiency audits. The First Selectman stated, “I was very impressed by how Solarize New Canaan involved so many different groups in looking at ways to become more energy efficient.” In that regard he wanted to thank New Canaan High School, which was the venue for the launch of the program in December, as well as the New Canaan Nature Center and the New Canaan Library for providing venues for later events.

NCHS Juniors, Pesticide-Free New Canaan Research Fellows: Highest Incidence of Pollutants Directly Downstream from Country Club Golf Course

Researchers say they’ve detected a higher incidence of pesticides in surface waters in New Canaan this year than last, mostly “downstream” of the Country Club of New Canaan’s golf course. Of the 28 different pesticides (four more than in 2013) detected by New Canaan High School juniors Connor deMayo and Paul Gelhaus—environmental research fellows with Pesticide-Free New Canaan, a nonprofit organization—more than 60 percent were found “directly after the golf course on Country Club Road,” deMayo said Tuesday during a presentation to the Board of Selectmen. “Coming into New Canaan, there are relatively few pesticides, and after the golf course there are really a lot of pesticides in the water,” he said during the meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. The reason is likely from “point source pollution” that flows into the Fivemile River, among other places, he said. Under the direction of Pesticice-Free co-founders Heather Lauver and Miki Porta, the teens this summer performed water sampling and lab and computer analyses, among other work, at 14 research sites in New Canaan—mostly along the Fivemile River.