Newly Formed ‘Blight Review Board’ Elects Officials, Define Priorities

A newly created committee designed to help residents who may be struggling to maintain their properties met met for the first time last week to elect officers and discuss its work. The Blight Review Board will help homeowners with problems such as overgrown yards, unraked leaves or deteriorating houses so they can correct those conditions rather than get punished for them, according to Chief Building Official Brian Platz, who had advocated for creation of the appointed body. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan presided over the meeting, held Thursday at Town Hall. During the 45-minute meeting, Brock Saxe was unanimously elected chairman and Paul Tully secretary. Saxe is a commerical real estate professional with Halstead and Tombrock Corporation, while Tully is a real estate and construction professional.

Did You Hear … ?

Congratulations to the South School Chess Club, which won first place at the Fairfield County Scholastic Team Chess Championship. The Nov. 8 tournament featured competitors from nine K-5 Fairfield County elementary schools. The South School team was led by Joseph Ho, Michael Telesco, Henry Chandra and Luke Gencarelli, who each won three games out of four. Strong contributors included Jenna Ho and Luke Van Dussen. This tournament also brought out young talents Quinn Kilkenny, Yuna Ho and Emily Telesco who were each playing in their first or second professional tournament.

Once Part of a 90-Acre Farmland Parcel, Historic West Road Barn on Track for Restoration

Officials on Tuesday approved a West Road property owner’s plan to restore what is being called a historically significant barn, and in a slightly different way than had originally been approved. It isn’t clear just when the 1.5-story barn at 388 West Road was built, though the head of the New Canaan Historical Society puts construction of an original house that had stood there and listed a barn on the property at about 1764. Originally, general contractor Ian Hobbs of New Canan’s Hobbs Inc. had planned as part of the restoration—which included modest additions (such as dormers and enough height for to accommodate them) and required a special permit—to preserve certain historical aspects of the structure itself. However, Hobbs told the Planning & Zoning Commission at its regular meeting, “a tremendous amount of rot” was discovered in the vertical beams during asbestos abatement. As a result, two alternatives emerged: using the barn’s mostly well-preserved horizontal beams for decorative purposes or else leave them in place and work around them at greater time and with no aesthetic benefit, as they’ll have to be sheet-rocked over in any case for fire safety, Hobbs said.