Neighbors Petition Town To Revoke Hill Street Permit

Saying a local developer secured a permit by deceptive means, a group of residents is calling for the town to revoke it. The Inland Wetlands Commission at its November 2018 meeting voted 5-2 in favor of an application (over the objections of some neighbors) to install a 16-foot-wide driveway “to provide access to two proposed residences” at 17 and 23 Hill St., building lots that had been subdivided four years prior. The adjoining undeveloped parcels, also known as lots 72 and 812, rise eastward from Hill Street, which runs parallel to Route 123, behind Brushy Ridge Road (map below). According to a petition filed last month on behalf of a group of neighborhood residents by attorney Frank Silverstri Jr. of Westport-based Verrill Dana LLP, the property owner “secured the Permit through deception and inaccurate information.”

Though “the Permittee represented that the Property would be developed for two single-family homes, and the Permittee only orally represented to the [Commission] that the Property would not be developed for a multi-family affordable housing complex,” such a large-scale project was the plan all along, Silverstri said in the petition. 

“In fact, for years prior to applying for the Permit and continuing through the present, the Permittee has intended and still intends to construct a 101-unit affordable housing complex on the Property, all the white concealing its true intent from the [Commission],” the petition said. Those signing the petition call themselves “New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development” and include Mark Durkin, Jeffrey Stein, Dean Magyars, Sean O’Malley, Jason Konidaris, Alison Foxworth and Joseph Braccia.

$1,000 Fine, Stop Work Order for New Canaan Property Owner Violating Wetlands Regulations

Town officials have fined a New Norwalk Road property owner $1,000 after citing him for violations of the New Canaan Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations. Following a two-day inspection in late March, municipal officials observed “what looked like regulated activities” at 613 New Norwalk Road, according to a citation letter obtained by following a formal request. The citation is listed on the public agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Inland Wetlands Commission. “Staff viewed a significant amount of earth disturbing activities in and over wetlands and within the regulated upland review area” at the .76-acre property, according to the March 21 citation letter. Those activities include: alteration of wetlands and upland review area by the use of an excavator to grub, fill, grade, deposit and spread stockpiled material (including concrete block) over and immediately adjacent to field designated wetlands; installation of several feet of PVC pipes within the upland review area for the discharge of pumped water.

Town To Take Up Modified Application for Overhaul of Little League Baseball Fields at Mead

Town officials are scheduled Monday to vote on a modified application filed on behalf of New Canaan Baseball to improve the little league fields at Mead Park. Unveiled 18 months ago, plans call for installing turf on the infields at Mellick and Gamble Fields as well as increased playability, improved drainage and new backstops, scoreboard and fencing. Originally, the project was to start last fall and also was to include new light poles and a re-oriented Game Field, but higher-than-expected cost estimates connected to lighting forced New Canaan Baseball to push back the work to 2018 and forego replacement of existing light poles and fixtures. According to an application received Feb. 20 by the New Canaan Inland Wetlands Department, changes to the original project include: Moving Mellick field slightly to the east and adjusting the left-field corner so that the existing light pole could be used; concrete dugouts on both fields now will be asphalt; outfield fencing on both fields has been adjusted slightly; and a playground walkway west of Mellick Field will need to be replaced and that effort will be coordinated with planned improvements to the playground.

‘The Holy Grail’: Land Trust Seeks To Complete Walk-able ‘Greenway’ in New Canaan

Members of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to open space on Monday will seek approval from the town to build a raised walkway in the woods off of Weed Street in order to complete, after years of advocacy and planning, what they call a “dream greenway” in New Canaan. The New Canaan Land Trust’s proposed project—to install four raised walkways over wetlands and a bridge over a brook—is the final piece needed in order to create a walk-able loop that encompasses the downtown, Irwin Park and the Nature Center. “This has been, since I started on the Land Trust, the Holy Grail, to make this connection,” said Chris Schipper, a board member and former president of the organization. The Inland Wetlands Commission is scheduled to take up the Land Trust’s application at its regular meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. If approved, Schipper said, the project could be completed by spring.

Neighbor Objects To Proposed Wider Driveway for Undeveloped Parcel on Hill Street

A newly submitted plan to install a 16-foot-wide driveway to access an undeveloped 2.42-acre property in New Canaan that had been approved for a subdivision in 2014 will negatively affect the wetlands and watercourses that must be disturbed in order to create it, according to a consultant retained by one objecting neighbor. The driveway and utilities proposed for “Lot 72” on Hill Street will also harm an adjacent property “by modifying the naturally occurring drainage patterns in this area, thus increasing the potential for surface flooding on the adjacent properties,” Steven Trinkaus of Southbury-based Trinkaus Engineering LLC said in a Feb. 19 letter and report to the New Canaan Inland Wetlands Commission. “The driveway alignment as proposed is not adequate for the movement of emergency vehicles and should be denied on this basis alone. Additionally, there is a feasible and prudent alternative to the current proposal which is more environmentally friendly and less destructive to the wetland and adjacent upland areas.”

That alternative—described more fully below—would relocate the proposed driveway and change the infrastructure needed to address runoff.