‘Mead Park Brick Barn’: Preservationists Ask for Demolition Sign’s Removal; Selectmen Divided

The municipal body that by Town Charter would need to approve contracts related to the demolition of a widely discussed building at the northern edge of Mead Park remains divided about whether or not to support a nonprofit organization’s efforts to restore it. During their regular meeting last week, members of the Board of Selectmen heard from two members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance. The organization is requesting that the ‘Notice of Demolition’ sign be removed from the  ‘Mead Park Brick Barn,’ to be allowed to spruce up the abandoned Richmond Hill Road (with some outdoor cleanup and a wreath) and to get feedback on a proposed lease agreement. 

Yet at the close of the Dec. 4 meeting, when Selectman Kit Devereaux asked for information on where the town stands with respect to the NCPA, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that the organization cannot make a request of the selectmen through a meeting’s public comment period. Selectman Nick Williams called the NCPA’s offer “generous.”

“I don’t think it has any bearing on demo or not demoing,” Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.

Town Pursues Acquisition of Valley Road Property by Eminent Domain

Reigniting an effort that dates back to this spring, New Canaan’s highest elected official said this week that the town is seeking to acquire a vacant antique home on Valley Road by eminent domain. The town, with a funding commitment from a local nonprofit organization, had offered to acquire the four-acre parcel at 1124 Valley Road, including a prominent red-painted house, for $1.2 million. But the property’s owner, Norwalk’s First Taxing District, rejected that offer. After applying for a demolition permit and then withdrawing it, the Taxing District later rejected the town’s offer to purchase just the house with .8 acres carved out around it, for $250,000—a figure New Canaan had arrived at following an appraisal of the property. Now, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said, “We intend to proceed with our plan to acquire the property by our power of eminent domain.”

“They don’t need the property for water company purposes, they disrespect the house which is over 200 years old and various groups—the Historical Society, the Preservation Alliance—various town bodies want to see that house preserved and that neighborhood preserved,” Moynihan told members of local press during a media briefing Wednesday in his office at Town Hall.