Town Rejects Petition from ‘New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development’

Saying a formal application has not yet been filed for a large multi-family development in the neighborhood, the town is denying a petition from residents in the area of Brushy Ridge Road to revoke a permit for a 16-foot-wide driveway. 

According to a group of neighbors calling itself ‘New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development,’ town officials knew for years that the owner of vacant parcels at 17 and 23 Hill St. (also known as lots 72 and 812) intended to construct a 101-unit affordable housing complex there. In filing a March 17 petition with the town to revoke the permit, the property’s owner— Hill Street-72 LLC—“submitted inaccurate and conflicting information regarding the area of disturbance in the wetlands” when seeking the wider driveway four years ago. The property owner also “has engaged in construction activities on the Property that exceed the limitations of the Permit and the conditions on which it was granted,” the group’s attorney, Frank Silvestri of Westport-based Verrill Dana LLP, said in the petition. Yet, according to Town Attorney Ira Bloom of Westport-based Berchem Moses PC, the claim “fails for two basic reasons.”

“First, no application for a multi-family development has been filed in the four plus years since the crossing was approved,” Bloom wrote in a response dated April 8 that was obtained by 

“As you know, the law is clear that the Commission is not permitted to speculate beyond what is provided,” Bloom said in the response letter.

Neighbors Petition Town To Revoke Hill Street Permit

Saying a local developer secured a permit by deceptive means, a group of residents is calling for the town to revoke it. The Inland Wetlands Commission at its November 2018 meeting voted 5-2 in favor of an application (over the objections of some neighbors) to install a 16-foot-wide driveway “to provide access to two proposed residences” at 17 and 23 Hill St., building lots that had been subdivided four years prior. The adjoining undeveloped parcels, also known as lots 72 and 812, rise eastward from Hill Street, which runs parallel to Route 123, behind Brushy Ridge Road (map below). According to a petition filed last month on behalf of a group of neighborhood residents by attorney Frank Silverstri Jr. of Westport-based Verrill Dana LLP, the property owner “secured the Permit through deception and inaccurate information.”

Though “the Permittee represented that the Property would be developed for two single-family homes, and the Permittee only orally represented to the [Commission] that the Property would not be developed for a multi-family affordable housing complex,” such a large-scale project was the plan all along, Silverstri said in the petition. 

“In fact, for years prior to applying for the Permit and continuing through the present, the Permittee has intended and still intends to construct a 101-unit affordable housing complex on the Property, all the white concealing its true intent from the [Commission],” the petition said. Those signing the petition call themselves “New Canaan Residents Against Destructive Development” and include Mark Durkin, Jeffrey Stein, Dean Magyars, Sean O’Malley, Jason Konidaris, Alison Foxworth and Joseph Braccia.