‘She Is the Queen Bee’: Longtime Resident Jeanne Rozel To Leave New Canaan at Month’s End

A longtime New Canaan resident who has been deeply involved in community organizations through her 46 years here is moving out-of-state this summer. 

Jeanne Rozel, a professional Realtor known to many for her involvement with the Merrie Bee Cabin and Democratic Town Committee, as well as years of service on the Board of Assessment Appeals and Zoning Board of Appeals, is moving back to her native Indiana at month’s end to be near her siblings. “It’s very hard to leave,” she told NewCanaanite.com. “Some things come up and it makes me cry. It’s hard to leave, I’ve enjoyed it so much and the people are so nice. Everywhere I look are friends I’m going to miss that I cannot replace.

‘I Do Not Appreciate Being Put In the Position We Are In Now’: Zoning Board Grudgingly OKs Variance on Silvermine

Scolding a contractor for moving forward with construction work on a Silvermine Road house without proper authorization, zoning officials on Monday night grudgingly approved a variance that will allow the building project to continue. Fred Nigri told members of the Zoning Board of Appeals that what started as an interior renovation (basically, a master bedroom and bathroom overhaul) at 406 Silvermine Road evolved into a larger project when workers discovered mold and rotted framing at the 1948-built Cape. Specifically, Nigri on an architect’s advice and with the homeowner’s consent, installed a pitched roof where a flat roof had existed (for several reasons, see below)—a change that required approval from the ZBA because it’s located closer to a side-yard setback than the 35 feet allowed (see page 58 of the Zoning Regulations here, the home is in the 2-acre zone). “We had to make a decision because after we had the roof off, it was open, it would have been all open, so rather than put a tarp over it or whatever, after discussing it, we did enclose it, so that this way the house was not all the way open,” Nigri told the ZBA during the group’s regular monthly meeting, held in a board room at Town Hall. Yet that work was not permitted and is now at least partially finished, board member John Mahoney noted, putting the ZBA “in an awkward situation, where we now either have to grant it—in part, because it is there—or we would have to ask you to remove it.”

Nigri responded that it was not his intention to put the board in a difficult spot.

Did You Hear … ?

Exciting news: We’re hearing that New Canaan’s defunct Outback Teen Center is being renamed ‘The Hub’ by the re-formed board charged with developing new uses for the structure behind Town Hall. Word is, the board is looking at a mix of human services, as well as wellness and possibly food providers to generate revenue at the disused building. New info: New Canaanite Bob Albus, head of the board, told us a program for special needs adults in town will run in the lower level of The Hub on weekdays, and that other activities could include after-school tutoring and mentoring and babysitting for parents who are shopping or dining downtown, and notable local agencies such as Getabout and Staying Put In New Canaan are part of the conversation. “We want to touch virtually every life in town from infants to seniors and really have an expansive program that addresses what are some unmet needs in town,” Albus told NewCanaanite.com. An online fundraising campaign is underway here—designed both to secure some “start-up” money for The Hub and to engage the community, Albus said.

‘A Nice Improvement There’: Praise for Proposed New Home on Locust Avenue

The owners of a Locust Avenue home earned praise and approval from zoning officials Monday night after unveiling plans to replace an awkwardly positioned 3-family structure with a taller, 2-family house that encroaches on no setbacks. Chris Taroli purchased the .16-acre lot at 95 Locust Ave. for $500,000 in July, tax records show. The home there dates to 1880, according to tax records, though flat-roof additions have been added onto the side and back, it’s been “cut up in the middle” and when Taroli purchased it, the multifamily structure needed new HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, had questionable foundations of rumble and unreinforced block and inadequate insulation, he told the Zoning Board of Appeals in a letter and at the group’s regular monthly meeting. The home also encroaches on all setbacks, and Taroli is proposing to build a new one that conforms in terms of those setbacks and coverage, though a variance is required because it would exceed allowable building height.

‘Heritage Square’: New Units on Forest Street Are Selling, Bucking 2015 Trend in Condos

Five of the seven new condominiums going up on Forest Street downtown are in various stages of being sold—bucking an overall trend among New Canaan condos and a nod to the strength of new construction in this buyer’s market, Realtors say. Located above what will be street-level retail in a mixed-use development near the corner of Locust Avenue that’s been named ‘Heritage Square,’ the condos include four 2- and 3-bedroom units in the 1,800- to 2,000-square-foot range, two 4-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot penthouses and a 3,500-plus-square-foot “duplex” that encompasses two floors, according to Bill Hecker of Houlihan Lawrence, sole agent representing seller/developer Chris Gatto. Just two of the smaller-sized 3-bedroom units are available—they’re listed at $1.8 million—and the condos should be move-in ready next spring, Hecker said. “This to me is a really good sign because there is not a whole lot you can see there right now,” Hecker told NewCanaanite.com. “You can see the structure but if you walked into any of the units it’s just studs—there’s no drywall in yet, so for the buyer to envision what is being delivered is a very big challenge on the part of myself and Christopher Gatto, the developer.