Moynihan: Town Cannot Apply for Affordable Housing Moratorium As Planned

After asserting for several weeks that the town was close to filing, New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday that the municipality cannot apply at this time for four years of relief from a widely discussed affordable housing statute. The town did prepare its application for a four-year “moratorium” from a state law known by its statute number, 8-30g. In towns where less than 10% of all housing stock qualifies as “affordable,” under the state’s definition, the law effectively allows developers to skirt local planning decisions in projects that set aside a certain percentage of units at below-market rates. The town had qualified for one such moratorium in 2017, with the denser redevelopment of New Canaan Housing Authority-owned apartments Millport Avenue, and hoped to qualify for another through the redevelopment of the Canaan Parish complex at Lakeview Avenue and Route 123, which was partially completed last October. Yet during a required public comment period on the new moratorium application, a prominent land use attorney—Tim Hollister, from a firm representing a local developer in two 8-30g applications, at Weed and Elm Streets, and on Main Street—said the town’s application was incomplete and would not be approved.

‘I Know He’s Thrilled’: New Canaan Dedicates ‘Steve Benko Pool’ at Waveny

The architects’ original specifications for the popular community pool in Waveny Park were for a certified Olympic competition pool that could play host to official state, regional and national swim meets, according to Steve Karl. Citing an anecdote from Assistant Recreation Director Bill Kapp, Karl told more than 200 people gathered poolside Saturday morning that Steve Benko immediately objected to those plans “because the shallow end of the pool was about 20 feet long at a depth of six feet, and sloping much deeper to the diving well end.”

“Steve realized as a municipal pool, we had to have a shallow end three-and-a-half to four feet deep so that kids and teens could stand up,” Karl continued. “The battle would continue as the architects refused to build a custom pool. Steve also objected to the length of the shallow end, that it was too small, and mandated that the shallow end should be at least doubled in size, and the entire slope of the pool would be would be re-engineered. This was because as a municipal pool we had to accommodate most of the public to enjoy the shallow end.

‘Leave of Absence’: Moynihan Seeks to Retain Parks & Rec Commissioner After Second Domestic Arrest

New Canaan’s highest elected official is seeking to retain a Parks & Recreation Commission member on the appointed body following the latter’s second arrest in one year in a domestic incident, records show. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan is asking whether Commissioner Jack Hawkins could take a “leave of absence” instead of stepping down from Parks & Rec following the latter’s May 11 arrest for disorderly conduct, according to emails obtained through a public records request. The Town Charter “provides that Parks and Rec shall have no fewer than 7 and no more than 11 members,” Moynihan said in a May 23 email sent to Parks & Rec Chair George Benington and Tucker Murphy, a staffer in the first selectman’s office. “I don’t know if there is precedent for leaves of absence on boards and commissions,” Moynihan continued in the email, adding that he was copying in the Town Clerk’s office for clarification. 

The email string followed a May 23 inquiry from regarding Hawkins’s status on the Commission. Weapons removed from home

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski forwarded the following police report on Hawkins’s latest arrest to Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering Jones at 7:49 a.m. on May 12, according to the emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Letter: First Selectman on Ethics Board Report

Last week, after nearly 12 hours of meetings in 9 sessions from November 9, 2021, to May 12, 2022, the Ethics Board of the Town of New Canaan voted 4 to 1 to issue a Report and Determination on a Complaint filed against me last November 1st by Ms. Micaela Porta. 

Ms. Porta was then President of the League of Women Voters of New Canaan but she was also known to be active in Democratic politics and progressive causes. Ms. Porta has admitted that she was approached by Democratic party operatives about the Letter and Ms. Porta herself enlisted the support of two prominent leaders of the Democratic Party (current Selectman Kathleen Corbett and former Selectman Beth Jones) in making the argument that there was something wrong with the Letter in regard to how I described CT minority representation law as it applied to the 2021 municipal election ballot. Accordingly, I believe that the Complaint was politically motivated and that the Ethics Board was weaponized for political purposes. 

The Complaint involved a single campaign endorsement letter (the “Letter”) that I wrote last October at the request of the Republican Town Committee (“RTC”) recommending the Republican slate of candidates to new voters, including the Republican slate of four Board of Education candidates. As First Selectman, I was a candidate for re-election, and, as such, I had a duty to communicate my views to the New Canaan electorate.  It is also my right pursuant to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to do so. In her Complaint, Ms. Porta alleged that I violated several sections of the Ethics Code claiming:

 First, that I “used [my] position and access to resident names and addresses to give preferential treatment to one slate of candidates,” and

Second, that the Letter was “misleading to voters,” “erroneous” in its description of Connecticut election law and that Town citizens were “confused” by it.