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.

P&Z To Vote on Town’s Purchase of Elm Street Office Building Planned for Future Board of Ed Home

Saying it will be good for the community and school district, the head of the Department of Public Works is seeking Planning & Zoning approval for the town to acquire an Elm Street building to house the Board of Education. Public Works Director Tiger Mann in a Friday memo to Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni said his department is requesting a review and approval of the town’s planned purchase of 220 Elm St. that’s required under state law. “The following sections of the 2014 POCD [Plan of Conservation and Development] show that this purchase is in keeping with our current plan,” Mann said, citing provisions of the guiding document for planning in New Canaan that call for maintaining excellence in both “education programs and facilities” and “community facilities and services.”

“Since the School System is important to the quality of life of residents, and the underlying real estate market, this excellence should be maintained,” Mann said in the memo. “Community facilities include governmental and other buildings (such as the Library) which provide services and functions to all residents.

Cigar and Tobacco Shop Planned for South Avenue

A Westchester County man is applying to the town for permission to open a cigar and tobacco shop in downtown New Canaan. The shop at 13 South Ave. would be open from about 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to a site plan application filed with Planning & Zoning by Yazan Mustafa of Yonkers, N.Y.

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, site plan approval is required in the Retail A zone for retail shops, among other uses (see page 73). The commercial space at 13 South Ave. had been occupied by Cobble Court Interiors, which moved just a few doors down to 21 South Ave. 

During Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission, Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni said that the town had originally considered recommending that P&Z deny the site plan application because it was incomplete at the time.