Officials: Opponents of ‘Merritt Village’ Project Arrested After Refusing To Leave Burial Ground [UPDATED]
Police on Thursday afternoon arrested two New Canaan residents—longtime opponents of the 110-unit ‘Merritt Village’ redevelopment on Park and Maple Streets—following what eye-witnesses call their refusal to leave a long disused burial ground adjacent to the property. Terry Spring and Jack Trifero each were charged with third-degree criminal trespass. Spring additionally was charged with interfering with an officer. According to representatives from property owner M2 Partners LLC, Spring and Trifero some time around 12:20 p.m. walked onto what has been called the “Maple Street Burial Ground” after parking in a contiguous private condominium’s lot. After New Canaan’s Planning & Zoning Commission approved the Merritt Village project last November, the question of appropriate protections for (and ownership of) the burial ground—a collection of scattered gravestones, disinterred grave shafts and even bodies that M2 itself discovered—lingered before the property owner could pursue its redevelopment project in earnest.