P&Z To Prioritize Affordable Housing in New Canaan

Faced with the prospect of new state laws designed to increase the amount of affordable housing in towns such as New Canaan, the Planning & Zoning Commission should proactively focus now on boosting the number of units available to low-income families here, including through updates to its regulations, the appointed body’s chair said last week. Though New Canaan already actively supports the creation of more affordable units—such as through a long-established fund that collects fees from building permit applicants and redevelopment projects that add dozens of new apartments here—P&Z should consider doing even more, especially as some in the General Assembly seek to have the state take over certain zoning powers to redress what they describe as “segregation” in affordable housing, according to the Commission’s chair, John Goodwin. “I think we do need as a Commission—and this is just me as one commissioner talking right now—I think we do need to take a more immediate focus on increasing affordable housing in New Canaan,” Goodwin said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held Jan. 26 via videoconference. Updates to the regulations—such as requiring developers with projects of 10-plus units to designate a certain percentage of them as “affordable,” under the state’s definition of the term—would create more housing for low-income families as well as seniors and working people who otherwise couldn’t afford to live in New Canaan, Goodwin said.

Divided P&Z Approves October Wedding at The Glass House

Despite concerns voiced by a Planning & Zoning Commission member who lives near The Glass House, the appointed body last week voted 4-2 to allow the organization to host a wedding this fall on its Ponus Ridge campus. Dick Ward, a P&Z commissioner who lives on Winfield Lane, .3 miles from the National Trust for Historic Preservation site, said approval of the Oct. 4 wedding “would, in my opinion, create perhaps an unnecessary and perhaps dangerous precedent, on two levels.”

“One is it’s been our longtime practice that financial considerations are not a criteria to support a Special Permit or an amendment to a Special Permit,” Ward said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held Aug. 25 via videoconference. “And it’s pretty clear that the request is based on a financial concern and I don’t think we want to open that door.

Letter: Re-Elect Moynihan, Williams 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams have consistently been innovative, respectful, ‘Can Do’ listeners who get things done for all of New Canaan. They have earned our votes. Have a question? An idea? Send them an email, or better yet, give them a call.

‘It’s Just Not Possible’: Public Works on Belgian Block Patterns Around Trees Downtown

Responding to an inquiry about a lack of uniformity, officials said the reason Belgian blocks laid around sidewalk trees in downtown New Canaan have different patterns is because the trees themselves grow at different rates. Some trees also have roots that rise from the ground, which leads town workers to remove the blocks and open up the tree well, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “It’s very difficult to keep it as a uniform three-by-three-by-three,” Mann said during a recent meeting of a Planning & Zoning Commission subcommittee. “It’s just not possible.”

“The original design was made for the brick and then inside the tree well there was going to be small Belgian blocks, the little squares. Basically they were designed to be tucked up against the tree trunk, and then as the tree grows, you start to remove the Belgian block to open up the tree well.