Town Officials Push for Studies, Survey Prior to Decisions on West School Cell Tower

The town is preparing to hire consultants to provide two studies to help municipal officials determine whether to move forward with a widely discussed plan to erect a cell tower behind West School. Following recommendations that the Planning & Zoning Commission made during an Oct. 24 special meeting, the town is to get “independent” studies to establish cell phone needs in the area and the degree of health risk that a tower 900 feet behind West School (and 600 feet from its playing fields) will have to children there. It’s unclear which consulting firms will be hired to carry out the assessments. 

Regarding the coverage study, Selectman Williams last week tried to pin down First Selectman Kevin Moynihan about whether the Town Council or Board of Selectmen would make the decision, but Moynihan said only that he planned to ask a firm hired in the past—Centerline—“to update their report.”

When Williams suggested a firm other than Centerline do the independent study, Moyinhan said, “Centerline is independent” and that he has “no reason to think they’re not independent,” though if the Town Council feels otherwise, “we can take a different direction.”

Though several members of P&Z voiced opposition to locating a cell tower on school grounds, they narrowed the scope of their referral on Oct. 24 to whether or not the proposed infrastructure is consistent with a continuously updated document that guides planning in New Canaan—the Plan of Conservation and Development—and found that it does.

Corbet, Williams: Full Board of Selectmen Should Be Approving Part-Time Hires

Saying the town should be consistent, Selectman Kathleen Corbet this week called for the Board of Selectmen to approve the hiring of part-time employees just as it does for full-timers. During Tuesday’s selectmen meeting, Corbet noted that First Selectman Kevin Moynihan mentioned the hiring of a part-time “wedding coordinator” at Waveny during a recent Town Council meeting. This exchange followed:
Moynihan: We don’t bring part-time employees to the Board of Selectmen. Corbet: We have in the past. Have you changed the process?

Thousands of Ferns To Be Planted as Part of Waveny Entrance Drive Beautification Project

Town officials this week approved an approximately $168,000 contract with a Bedford Hills, N.Y.-based company to beautify parts of Waveny Park, including much of the entrance drive from South Avenue. The work will include plantings on either side of the main road through Waveny from that entrance to the four-way at the base of the hill, as well as part of the area around the Lapham Road entrance, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “Right now you drive in and it’s just whatever was either planted long ago or was basically a volunteer that came up and was able to seed and grow at that time,” Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held Monday at Town Hall and via videoconference. “This is basically to fill in all those gaps and make the entrance drive give it some color during the year and some character throughout the year,” Mann continued. “We think it’s a worthy project and for the Waveny Park Conservancy it was one of their top-five [projects] going forward in their master plan for what they wanted to see for Waveny itself.” 

He noted that some 5,000 to 7,000 ferns will be planted as part of the project.

Town Approves $75,000 for Baseball and Softball Field Renovations

Town officials this month approved about $75,000 in contracts for fall renovations on New Canaan’s baseball and softball fields. The Parks Department maintains 11 fields that range from T-ball to adult leagues and “our main priority is to ensure safe and playable field conditions,” Assistant Superintendent of Parks Ryan Restivo told the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held Oct. 18 at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

The selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of a $50,523 contract with Bridgeport-based Athletic Field Services and a $26,004 contract with Grove City, Penn.-based DuraEdge Products. Athletic Field Services “has done work on our ball fields for many years and they were able to keep their pricing in line with last year’s renovations,” Restivo said. Parks selected DuraEdge’s “Recreation Premium Infield Mix” product “because it contains 75% sand which is actually very beneficial for drainage, helps us maintain the ball fields and provides exceptional player safety,” he said.

State Housing Department: No One Told Moynihan Moratorium Application Would Be Approved

State officials deny that New Canaan had been “led to believe” its application for four years of relief from a widely discussed affordable housing law would be approved, as First Selectman Kevin Moynihan recently asserted. Moynihan had said during the Oct. 4 Board of Selectmen meeting that “we expect to get our moratorium on November 1st.” 

He added, “We’ve been told by—led to believe, I would say—by the Housing Department that we are going to get our moratorium. If that does not occur then that will be ‘all bets off’ in terms of where we are.”

The Connecticut Department of Housing denied the application about two weeks later. Yet while the matter had been pending, the land use attorney representing a local developer in applying for an affordable housing project at Weed and Elm Streets, Tim Hollister, asked the DOH to explain Moynihan’s comments.  

“I recognize that the Department has no obligation to respond to such a request, but given the alleged circumstance – the First Selectman of a municipality with a pending moratorium application asserting that ‘the Department’ in a private conversation led him and Town to believe that the application will be approved, over the objections filed – is simply contrary to how this public process should proceed,” Hollister said in an Oct. 18 email obtained by “If the First Selectman is misstating what he was told, then the Department should explain that.