Moynihan Details COVID-19 Community Transmission Signs; Two More Confirmed Cases Over Weekend [UPDATE]

[Note: This article was updated at 9 a.m. Tuesday with information regarding a new positive COVID-19 case residing in New Canaan.]

New Canaan has had two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus reported since Friday, state health data show. The uptick—to 217 total cases, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health—follows the detailing by New Canaan’s highest elected official of signs of community transmission of coronavirus disease. 

The town had nine new positive COVID cases reported last week, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a town-wide outcall Friday. Echoing New Canaan Health Director Jenn Eielson, he noted that despite one-off positive cases in the public schools, the district has not seen the virus spread among those within its buildings. “[W]e must remain vigilant in protecting our students and faculty in order to keep our schools open,” Moynihan said. It wasn’t immediately clear what ages the two new cases represent or whether the individuals are related to each other.

Congregational Church on God’s Acre: ‘It Is Our Church Cemetery’

Though the town’s highest elected official said recently that he doesn’t understand the Congregational Church of New Canaan’s claim regarding ownership of God’s Acre, an email obtained by NewCanaanite.com shows that the church’s pastor had outlined the position to him early this summer. The Rev. Chapin Garner told First Selectman Kevin Moynihan in a June 9 email, “Our understanding is this: God’s Acre is not only a cemetery, it is our church cemetery.”

“Indeed, it is named ‘God’s Acre’ because that is the 17th century term for a church burial ground,” Garner said in the email, whose copied recipients included Town Attorney Ira Bloom, attorney Gabriella Kiniry, a congregant who has advised the church, and Nick Williams, a selectman who also is a a member the church. “We have had pastors and parishioners buried on that hill, and it is our sacred obligation to protect that hallowed ground in which they were laid to rest,” Garner’s email continued. “We do not want anything built on our ancient burial ground—not a terrace and not sidewalks. Not only is that our desire, but we strongly believe Connecticut State law prohibits any construction on an ancient burial ground.”

He referred to a state law that prohibits towns from using ancient burial grounds for anything other than burials.

State Approves Soundview Lane Cell Tower; AT&T and Verizon Service Planned for May

AT&T and Verizon customers in northeastern New Canaan could start seeing vastly improved service as early as May, following a state agency’s approval last week of a planned cell tower near St. Luke’s School. Construction of the 85-foot, stealth “tree” monopole at 183 Soundview Lane could start in December or January and should take about 40 days, according to property owner Keith Richey. The Connecticut Siting Council on Wednesday published its Sept. 24 decision in favor of an application filed on Richey’s behalf by Homeland Towers LLC.

Town To Sell Surplus Mulch for $18,000

With fall leaf collection about one month away, town officials last week approved the sale of about 2,000 cubic yards of leftover mulch to a New Canaan-based company. The sale of the surplus mulch from last year’s leaf collection will net the town about $18,000 in revenue, at $9 per cubic yard, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. It also will save the town the estimated $400,000 to $500,000 cost of disposing of the excess material, he told members of the Board of Selectmen at their Sept. 22 meeting. “We need to remove the material because we are going to be starting our leaf collection on Oct.

‘We Have To Resolve It’: First Selectman Says Ownership of God’s Acre Must Be Established

New Canaan’s highest elected official says he doesn’t understand why a church located adjacent to God’s Acre believes it has an ownership claim on the historic property. 

Responding to a proposal that earned multiple town approvals last year, the Congregational Church of New Canaan this summer said it would block a plan to install a permanent stone terrace directly opposite Park Street from its front door, according to the group behind the project. Though the proposed “Founders Terrace” is not a municipal project, strictly speaking, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, the town has taken up the ownership issue. “We haven’t resolved anything,” Moynihan told NewCanaanite.com in an interview when asked about the status of the ownership dispute. 

“But we have to resolve it. We can’t just let it hang out there. It’s a property in the center of town.