Forest Street Businesses on Parking Plan during Construction: ‘It’s Just Nuts’

The one-way block of Forest Street—narrow, bursting with restaurants, halted during deliveries and drop-offs and home to a newly designated loading zone—will lose 10 parking spaces for a two-week stretch next month and then three separate spaces for about one year, as a widely anticipated building project at number 21 gets underway. Demolition of two buildings there—the former Forest Street Deli and Farmer’s Table (going further back, BMW Lindner Cycle Shop)—starts today (Thursday) and continues through midday Friday. It’s the first step toward what eventually will be a three-story, mixed residential-and-retail complex that will lie roughly between the New Canaan Dance Academy and brick building at the Locust Avenue corner, home to the Board of Education’s administrative offices. Saying they’re supportive of the overall project and that it ultimately will be good for New Canaan, business owners on the street expressed frustration Wednesday with what they called poor communication about the imminent parking disruption. “The stop-and-drop people who are there with the dance studio and that kind of thing have gotten to a point where Forest Street is clogged up entirely, people can’t park on the street and now we are told today—today—that there will be [10] more spaces taken out of the loop, which is insane,” Tequila Mockingbird owner Paul Mauk (speaking mostly on behalf of Gates, where he’s a partner), said during a meeting of the Police Commission, held in the New Canaan Police Department training room.

Building Permits Sought for Forest Street Residential-and-Retail Complex

The owners of 21 Forest St. have put in for building permits that will see a widely anticipated mixed residential-and-retail complex come to a commercial block long known as a restaurant hub. Plans call for a three-story structure on what are really three separate lots that total about .72 acres, according to the building permit application made April 16 by Forest Street Properties LLC and plans on file at Planning & Zoning. (See the slideshow at the end of this article for a full look at artistic rendering and plans.)

The complex would include two commercial spaces—at 3,700- and 1,057-square feet, with the larger one on the north side (toward Locust)—as well as seven residential units (five on the second floor and then two larger ones on the third floor), a pocket park and 48-space parking lot. The residential units’ courtyard would include skylights to the commercial plaza below, a stone fireplace and stone-and-wood deck.