Parking Commission by 4-1 Vote Recommends Charging for Use of Park Street, Playhouse Lots on Saturdays

Saying it would be more consistent with other municipal lots and would create more revenue for the town, officials are recommending that motorists start being charged for the Saturday use of two lots located behind Elm Street. The Parking Commission at its May 6 meeting voted 4-1 to start charging for the Park Street and Playhouse Lots on Saturdays. “We always try to keep the rules simple, and if we just say ‘parking is free Sunday and you pay on Saturday for all downtown lots’ it’s easier for everyone to remember,” Chair Keith Richey said at the appointed body’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. 

Town officials already charge on Saturday for parking in the Morse Court Lot. Commissioner Peter Ogilvie said the town should have the same policy for Park Street and Playhouse, which are next to each other, as it has for Morse Court. 

Commissioner Drew Magratten agreed, noting that Connecticut and the wider tristate area are on the verge of trying to reopen after more than one year of sweeping restrictions under the pandemic “to get back to some sort of normalcy.”

Consistency is important, Magratten said, “because as you can see from these appeals a lot of people people get confused—different rules [for] different lots.” He referred to ticketed motorists who appeal to the Commission in order to have violation fees forgiven. Richey, Ogilvie, Magratten and Commissioner Jennifer Donovan voted in favor of the recommendation.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Kristen Pace (and Family)

Peter Ogilvie first noticed the activity at Canoe Hill Cemetery in the months after the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year, in driving by it on Laurel Road each day. Perched on a hill off of the east side of Laurel not far from the intersection of Canoe Hill Road, the final resting place of 200-plus New Canaanites—including the town’s (and possibly Connecticut’s) last living slave, Onesimus Comstock—had fallen into disrepair. With little dedicated parking and difficult to access even by foot, given a steep hill and crumbling stone staircase, the .69-acre burial ground was largely covered in weeds and fallen branches, with broken and illegible gravestones scattered about. One day, Ogilvie pulled over to see what was happening in the cemetery, and there met Kristen Pace and her daughters, busy at work. “She took on this project all by herself and in the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of quarantining, and with her daughters out there, did the physical work of cutting down weeds and cleaning up just unbelievable truckloads of crap,” Ogilvie said.

Parking Officials Vote 4-0 To Recommend Keeping Permit Fees Flat

Parking officials last week voted unanimously to recommend holding fees for both commuter and commercial lots flat for next fiscal year. If approved by the selectmen, the Parking Commission’s recommendations would see permit rates for the Lumberyard, Richmond Hill, Talmadge Hill, Park Street, Morse Court and Telephone Lots remain as follows:


Commission Chair Keith Richey and members Peter Ogilvie, Laura Budd and Jennifer Donovan voted 4-0 in favor of the recommendations. The Commission has one open seat. Regarding fees at the commuter lots, Richey said the town should “leave it alone in view of the recovery from the COVID crisis.”

As it is, the town has already extended the parking permits for those lots—Lumberyard, Richmond Hill and Talmadge Hill—through March 31 and also suspended metered parking in those lots through month’s end. (The selectmen are expected to take up the question of whether to continue those extensions through June 30.)

The Commission voted separately to recommend holding the fees for the “commercial” lots flat.

‘She Was Never Notified’: Longtime Parking Commissioner Out

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has unceremoniously cast off a longtime volunteer from the municipal body that oversees off-street parking in New Canaan, according to one of its members. Moynihan never notified Parking Commissioner Pam Crum that she hadn’t been reappointed to the panel, according to Commissioner Peter Ogilvie. During the Commission’s regular meeting Jan. 7, Ogilvie said he was “disappointed in the Parking Commission and town government for not having any conversations whatsoever with Pam Crum.”

“This clearly has been in the works for months and she was never notified, she was never told that she was no longer on the Parking Commission until she got email from you just a couple of days ago, Keith,” Ogilvie said during the meeting, held via videoconference. He addressed Chair Keith Richey.

Town Upholds $30 Ticket Issued to Uber Eats Driver

Town officials this month upheld a $30 ticket issued to an Uber Eats driver who pulled into a no-parking zone outside Town Hall to pick up food from Ching’s Table. Vikar Vahora told members of the Parking Commission during a Nov. 5 appeal hearing that he’d circled the block twice before parking in the space up against the Town Hall driveway. “That was probably my first or second ride and I went right across the street from where Ching’s Table is and I was charging on my credit card and I actually attached the receipt to my ticket and my appeal, too, that it was only two minutes that I went in and went out and that when I was coming out you were already writing the ticket,” Vahora said during the hearing, held via videoconference. “I explained to the person that I am an Uber driver, I am new in this area, if you can new please let me go for this time and I will make sure that this will not be happening again.”

The Norwalk Man added that the ticket—issued at 1:58 p.m. on Sept.