Saying he wants to see through major projects such as installing cell towers and creating a new police station, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan confirmed Wednesday that he intends to seek a third term this fall. The Republican told NewCanaanite.com that “there are several things in the pipeline that it would be unfair for me to walk away from.”
“We are a very lucky town,” Moynihan said. “We’ve done a great job with COVID. We are very fortunate to have dedicated employees—they have made all that happen, and volunteers. We’ve weathered it well.
The town is on pace to exceed its fiscal year 2021 budget of $300,000 in legal fees by tens of thousands of dollars, records show. Members of the Board of Selectmen discussed the high legal costs during their regular meeting Tuesday, while approving payment of a $40,271 legal bill for March from the town attorney’s firm that brought the total spent since July 1 to $297,967.79, according to a summary invoice. The town pays a $8,500 monthly retainer to Berchem Moses PC. “So we are definitely going to go over budget this year,” Selectman Nick Williams said during the meeting. “We’ve only got $2,000 remaining in the budget.”
As he has in the past, Williams noted that the single most-expensive legal matter on the bill involves a dispute over a proposed terrace on God’s Acre and ownership of the property.
Town officials announced Tuesday that a longtime member of the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission has submitted her resignation from the appointed body, effective immediately. Jean Grzelecki has served on P&Z for three decades, and has been elected secretary for the past several years.
She’s been “a fabulous, dedicated and very thoughtful Planning & Zoning commissioner,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. “I have enjoyed working with her for the past several years and I think everyone is going to miss Jean’s contributions.”
The selectmen voted 3-0 to appoint Arthur Casavant to a three-year term filling Grzelecki’s regular seat on P&Z, through Dec. 1, 2023. Grzelecki’s positions on P&Z in recent years have included leading its Plan of Conservation & Development implementation committee as well as its Sign Committee.
Unafraid to question applicants or raise concerns about plans for expansion, reuse or redevelopment, Grzelecki through 30 years of service has bridged eras on P&Z, most recently from the chairmanship of former member and architect Laszlo Papp to current Chair John Goodwin and several recently appointed members.
Town officials on Tuesday approved a proposal to relocate the Farmers Market from its longtime home in the Center School Lot to a corner of the Lumberyard Lot at the train station. The Farmer’s Market is on track to launch May 8 and will run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through November.
It will operate in the southwest corner of the Lumberyard, following a 3-0 vote by the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting.
“We think it’s going to be convenient to downtown, convenient for shoppers and guests,” Farmers Market volunteer Patricia Spugani said during the meeting, held via videoconference.
Some 30 vendors have already submitted applications to the New Canaan Health Department and the new space allows for expansion to accommodate additional vendors if needed, she said. “We are going to continue to require masks in the market and social distancing, along with that, no samples and no pets, which is consistent with any farmers market, with no pets,” she said. “One thing that is different, though, consistent with how we all behave in grocery stores, shoppers will be able to select their own produce. We think that food handling has been safe now, we know enough about the virus that people know to wash produce when they bring it home, and it will also keep things, traffic moving better in the market if the vendors do not have to do that for shoppers.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 to approve the new location for the Farmers Market.
According to a graphic that Spugani and Market Master Lexi Gazy presented at the meeting, motor vehicles will enter and exit the lot from Elm Street (opposite Karl Chevrolet), and there will be more than 100 on-site parking spaces for shoppers.
Saying demand for commuter lot permits likely will decline post-COVID, Selectman Nick Williams this week called for parking officials to assess the “new normal” for New Canaan. During Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Williams called on the Parking Commission to “take a look at the Lumberyard, say, and determine that hey, for the foreseeable future and maybe forever, we are going to see a 20%, 30%, 40% reduction in usage.”
“Because folks just aren’t going into the city as much. I know that if you do go in twice a week or three times a week or once a week, the tendency will be to keep your commuter pass, just so you have the opportunity to use it and not face the hassle of having to find a spot. But this is a paradigmatic shift, I think, for all of us —and when I say ‘us’ I mean commuters. I myself foresee probably going into the office maybe 2.5 times per week.