As anticipated, the owner of a long-unoccupied antique house on Main Street last week filed for an application to demolish the structure after town officials denied an application connected to a plan for redeveloping the property. Arnold Karp on Friday filed the demo application with the New Canaan Building Department. The filing comes about one week after the Historic District Commission denied Karp’s application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to move the ca. 1889-built house at 51 Main St.—known locally as “the Red Cross Building,” after its longtime former owner—closer to the road. That relocation is part of a plan to build a new multifamily structure behind it.
The volunteer body that oversees New Canaan’s Historic District—roughly, the area around God’s Acre—last week denied an application from a local developer seeking to create an affordable housing complex within its boundaries. Under the town’s Historic District Regulations, “No building or structure shall be erected or altered within the historic district until after an application for a ‘Certificate of Appropriateness’ as to exterior architectural features has been submitted to the Historic District Commission and approved by the Commission.”
A 103-page application filed Aug. 7 on behalf of developer Arnold Karp calls for approval of a Certificate to take about 80% of the so-called “Red Cross building” (after its longtime former owner) at 51 Main St. and move so that it’s 17.5 feet from the roadway, as opposed to the current 50 feet, according to the application. A new residential building would go in behind it, offering 20 total living units, six of which would be rented at affordable rates, as per the state’s definition.
Members of the appointed body that oversees New Canaan’s Historic District—roughly, 21 properties around and near God’s Acre—said last week that plans to redevelop the former Red Cross building property are not in line with the town’s guidelines for the area. Plans filed in May at 51 Main St. call for the ca. 1889 structure—long associated with its former owner, the Red Cross (developer Arnold Karp purchased it five years ago through a limited liability company)—to be moved closer to the road while building a multi-family residential structure with 20 apartments behind it, six of which would be rent-restricted as part of an 8-30g affordable housing application. The Historic District Commission during its Oct.
The town last week received a letter objecting to the demolition of a multifamily house on Husted Lane. According to a letter filed by email July 1 by New Canaan resident Mimi Findlay, the house at 8 Husted Lane is a “late Greek Revival style clapboard and filedstone home” that “retains many of its 6 over 6 antique windows and the entrance door with sidelights.”
“In the two earlier architectural surveys of downtown New Canaan (1987 and 2010), the house was said to have been built by ‘William Edson Husted, a shoe-cutter for whom the street is named,’ ” Findlay wrote (no citation).
“However, the 1851 deed in vol. 10 page 337 indicates that W.E. Husted, along with his two brothers and a sister, inherited the house from their mother Jane and it was on a ‘certain parcel of land being the homestead which our father, Alfred Husted, now dead, formerly lived, in quantity one acre more or less with the buildings thereon,’ ” she continued (no citation).
Under Section 12A-9 of the Town Code, if the Town Building Official “receives a pertinent written objection to the application within 15 days following publication of the [demolition] notice, then the Building Official shall promptly refer such objection to the Historical Review Committee.”
The legal notice for demolishing 8 and 10 Husted Lane was published June 16 on NewCanaanite.com and appeared in the June 17 newsletter. Under the Code, the Historical Review Committee “shall review and decide all pertinent objections within 15 days of receipt of the objection by the Building Official. If the Committee fails to notify the Building Official of its decision within such fifteen-day period, or if the Committee makes a written finding that the structure is not of an age, style, condition or character that is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan, then the Building Official shall issue the demolition permit, provided the time for filing objections has passed, and provided that all other requirements of the State Demolition Code have been satisfied.”
The Committee also may find that “that the structure is of historical, architectural or cultural significance” to the town, and delay demolition by up to 90 days.
The volunteer panel that oversees New Canaan’s Historic District—the area around God’s Acre, generally speaking—last week voted 5-0 to approve a plan to build a mudroom and three-car garage onto an Oenoke Lane home. Just part of the 1962-built Colonial at 20 Oenoke Lane is located within the district, according to a map on the town website. As such, the Historic District Commission’s interest in the homeowner’s project is “focused on what you are doing on the east side of the house, where you are doing a major addition which is in District,” Commission Vice Chair Carl Rothbart said during the appointed body’s July 22 meeting, held via videoconference. “What you are adding at the bedrooms and back of the house really is beyond our purview,” he said. Darien-based architect Neil Tod Hauck, representing the homeowners, said a glass-enclosed mudroom would lead to the new two-story garage on the east side of the house, with a metal roof featuring three “doghouse” dormers and topped with a cupola.