New Canaanites this weekend will descend on St. Mark’s grounds for one of the town’s most beloved annual traditions. May Fair organizers say the cherished rain-or-shine event is in its 70th year and that they’re keeping their fingers crossed for good weather for both Friday Night Lights, which runs 5 to 10 p.m., and the all-day fair that opens 9 a.m. Saturday. “It’s a tradition and it kind of marks people’s springtime—‘It’s Mother’s Day weekend—time for May Fair,’ ” Co-Chair Kit Devereaux told NewCanaanite.com. “I think people have a great time.”
A New Jersey-based company is doing a poor job of repairing New Canaan roads in the wake of the natural gas line installation, the town’s highest elected official said Tuesday. The quality of repairs made by Ferreira Construction has been “unsatisfactory,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “Especially on our streets,” Moynihan said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held at Town Hall. “So we are trying to get them to improve.”
The comments came after Selectman Kit Devereaux broached the subject during a discussion of general matters before the town. Devereaux said the Board had received an email from a resident of a condominium at Main Street and Lakeview Avenue “complaining about the state of the driveway that was left there by the gas line.”
One gas line has already been brought to the condo complex, Hanford Square, according to the complainant—who identified himself as Francis Doherty in the email, obtained by NewCanaanite.com following a formal request—and Eversource, through Ferreira, “will be trenching for a second gas line from Main Street for the remaining units as soon as the Main Street line is pressurized.”
“The initial trenching, from Lakeview for two of our six units, left a portion of our drive in a substandard condition,” Doherty wrote in his April 28 email to the selectmen.
Citing a widely discussed, heated exchange at a recent public meeting, Selectman Kit Devereaux on Tuesday commended enforcement officers in the New Canaan Parking Bureau.
The Bureau “is supposed to be enforcing the rules that are in effect and if there is a feeling that the rules don’t work, then the rules need to be changed, not that the the Parking Commission needs to bend,” Devereaux said during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall. She referred to comments made by Parking Commission Chairman Keith Richey during that appointed body’s May 2 meeting.
Saying downtown New Canaan had become “a police state” with respect to enforcement, with the Bureau’s officers “running around” to ticket people, Richey called for “more leniency” toward motorists violating parking rules. Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg responded that enforcement officers are already lenient and reasonable in the face of drivers who disregard parking rules as well as requests to move, and that the Bureau routinely voids tickets, while one fellow Commissioner told Richey it was unfair to be vague about enforcement instead of proposing formal changes to the regulations. After Miltenberg defended the Bureau and its officers, Richey used menacing language in addressing her. News of the exchange generated dozens of comments on social media and in threads on NewCanaanite.com.
Saying a price tag of more than $15,000 seemed high, Selectman Kit Devereaux called for the town to consolidate and bid out spring cleanup work around several public buildings. The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting reviewed five separate contracts with New Canaan-based Gregg’s Garden Center & Landscaping LLC, for grounds work at Town Hall ($4,380), Irwin Park ($2,420), Lapham Center ($3,900), the Powerhouse ($3,780) and Saxe Middle School ($960). Under the Town Code, the Board of Selectmen itself may approve contracts whose value is less than $5,000 and there’s no requirement that such projects go out to bid (see 77-2).
Devereaux asked why the work done by Gregg’s, which totals $15,440, didn’t come under one single contract. Public Works Director Tiger Mann said the town has split the contracts up in the past “to see whether or not we would save money by going to different contractors in different locations.”
“That was the that was way it was originally bid back when we first started spring cleanup,” Mann said during the selectmen meeting, held April 23 at Town Hall. Gregg’s was always the low bidder at that time, Mann said, “and they fit within our timeframe, which was the biggest thing, the portion that we need is to have them come out at a specific time.
Officials said Tuesday that they’re “scrambling” in the wake of a change from the state to figure out just how to finance a widely anticipated rebuilding project on the corner of Route 123 and Lakeview Avenue. Plans call for rebuilding Canaan Parish, a 60-unit Section 8 housing complex, in a single five-story structure and construction of a new, 40-unit structure of the same height that would count toward the state’s affordable housing requirement.
Yet the project “is a little bit slowed down because right now the state has no idea as to whether or not there is actually any funding available for affordable housing,” New Canaan Housing Authority Chairman Scott Hobbs told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting. “We are also in the process of scrambling add finding out alternatives to how we can go ahead without the state funding, and there are some out there,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We would rather follow this course and hopefully get our grant. But at the same time we started to lose faith that they are actually going to be able to come through with what we need them to do.”
Approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission last summer following weeks of discussion about early-stage renderings of the proposed new buildings, the project is a joint effort of the Housing Authority and New Canaan Neighborhoods, which owns the buildings.