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.

Neighbors Sue P&Z over Approval of Husted Lane Development

The owner of a structure in the town’s Historic District is joining a condominium association in suing the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission for its recent decision to approve a mixed-use development at the edge of the downtown. P&Z’s Oct. 27 vote in favor of a zoning change, Special Permit and site plan for a 12-unit residential building with a 315-square-foot commercial space on Husted Lane was “illegal, unlawful, arbitrary and in abuse of the powers vested in the” Commission, according to a complaint filed Nov. 19 on behalf of a limited liability company that owns 46 Main St. and the Oenoke Association, whose condos are located on Heritage Hill Road.

‘This Is Completely Inappropriate’: Sober House Operators, Neighbor Fail To Reach Accord

Though they had appeared close to reaching an agreement, the operators of a sober house on West Road home and a neighbor appealing the town’s decision to allow it have failed to reach an accord, representatives said during a public hearing last week. Now, the question of whether the sober house may continue to operate—or, more likely, under exactly what conditions it will continue—is entirely in the hands of town officials who heard attorneys from both sides make their cases at a June 5 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals. During an unusual ZBA hearing that featured spirited interruptions and apologies, appellant Thom Harrow told board members that the owners of The Lighthouse proposed a series of conditions under which they agreed to run a sober house living facility for men at 909 West Road. According to Harrow, just one point of disagreement remained at the time the ZBA hearing opened—a question of whether six or eight clients would be allowed in the 8,000-square-foot home at one time. Harrow, Lighthouse officials and various attorneys took a break following an initial part of the hearing—ostensibly to sort out that final matter.

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.