New Canaan Y Expansion Approved on Conditions of BOE Vote, Membership Reports

Saying school officials must formally vote on whether or not to lend a strip of Saxe property for large vehicles accessing a proposed construction site behind the New Canaan YMCA, the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved the Y’s application for a special permit to expand. Forcing the Board of Education to take a definitive stance is one of 33 conditions that P&Z imposed on the closely monitored expansion project. “I have a lot of good friends on the Board of Education, but quite frankly they took the easy way out by narrowly defining what their mission is in this town,” P&Z member John Goodwin said at Tuesday’s meeting, held before about 40 people gathered in the Sturgess Room of the New Canaan Nature Center’s Visitors Center. “The YMCA provides a good number of educational programs, just like education system does. It’s been very clearly stated that, effectively, the YMCA is an extension of the school system—at a minimum, because they provide a venue for our swim meets.

New Canaan High School Principal Dr. Bryan Luizzi Named Interim Superintendent

Less than two months after designating itself as a search committee to find a successor to New Canaan Public Schools’ retiring superintendent, the Board of Education on Tuesday said high school Principal Dr. Bryan Luizzi has been appointed to the position on an interim basis. The Brookfield resident has worked at New Canaan High School principal since 2011. In a press release, school board Chairman Hazel Hobbs said Luizzi will build on what current Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek and the school district have created. “We are excited to have an interim superintendent who can lead our high-performing school district in the continuous pursuit of excellence,” Hobbs said. “Dr. Luizzi is an experienced leader with the skills and passion required to lead the district.”

Luizzi said in the release that he was “honored” to be given the opportunity and said he would collaborate with the “school board, community, administrators, and staff to ensure a productive and successful school year.”

“I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to the great work that the New Canaan Public Schools will continue to accomplish going forward,” Luizzi said.

P&Z Member: ‘Disappointed’ in School Board on YMCA


Though professional studies have found otherwise, it isn’t clear that routing large vehicles through the “South of the Y” neighborhood for a planned construction project at the New Canaan YMCA is safer for residents, particularly children, than sending the vehicles directly off of South Avenue, town officials said Tuesday. It’s too bad that the Board of Education voiced support for the “neighborhood” option, Planning and Zoning Commission member Dick Ward said at the group’s meeting in the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center. (The school board’s sign-off is needed for an alternate plan that would send vehicles down a narrow strip of land between the Y parking lot and Saxe Middle School playing fields.)

“I am disappointed that a decision was taken by the Board of Ed that a route on the northern side of the Y would be unwise or inappropriate for safety reasons that children tend to walk from the Saxe area to the Y and therefore would be in one way or another crossing the northern route,” P&Z member Dick Ward said. “However, I do point out that in my opinion a northern route could have fences on either side, a gate and a crossing guard to assure safe crossing of that route at any time that construction vehicles are accessing that route.”

The comments came during a discussion of the YMCA’s request for a special permit that would allow the facility to expand as part of a widely anticipated renovation. That renovation would include enlarging the two swimming pools by 14,000 square feet and expanding parking by 67 spaces.

School Board’s Decision Timely with Snow Expected


It’s early yet, but March is proving the old adage true here in New Canaan: “In like a lion and out like a lamb.”

The National Weather Service is calling for snow after 4 p.m. today and overnight, up to six inches by the time is stops around 1 p.m. Monday. For parents, the Board of Education’s decision at its Feb. 24 meeting to allow New Canaan Public Schools to reduce its total planned classroom days, if needed, from 182 to 180 (the state minimum requirement) is a blessing. The move was designed to provide more cushion to the district, which only has two days left in June before snow days would cut into April break. For residents seeking salt to handle the storm’s icy aftermath, Weed & Duryea has been a steady provider already 2014.