Two Detached Single-Family Homes Planned for Down River Road

The owners of a Down River Road property are seeking permission to raze an existing two-family house and build two detached single-family homes there. The plan for 6 Down River Road will “contribute positively to the surrounding area and align with the zoning regulations,” according to a statement that accompanies a Special Permit application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission. Each 2.5-story unit will offer 1,250 square feet of living space and a two-car garage, the application said. “The proposed structures, including buildings, walls and fences, as well as planned activities and landscaping, are meticulously designed to complement the surroundings without hindering adjacent land use or diminishing property values,” it said. “The decision to opt for detached units is in response to the lot’s narrowness, avoiding a large, incongruent structure.

Town Seeks P&Z Approval for LED Message Board at Farm and South

Town officials are seeking permission from the Planning & Zoning Commission to install a LED message board at the corner of Farm Road and South Avenue. Known to locals and passersby for a wooden fence where varsity sports and other school events are promoted on mounted posters and signs, the conspicuous corner would see a non-illuminated, black screen nearly 8 feet tall and 18 feet wide mounted in the ground, according to a sign permit application filed with P&Z by Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “The Department of Public Works is requesting an 8-24 Review and Approval for the installation of a new LED Sign at the intersection of Farm Road and South Avenue to replace the existing wood fence and athletic event signage,” Mann said in an Oct. 11 memo to Town Planner Sarah Carey—a request for a state-mandated P&Z referral that forms part of the town’s application. “The sign will be used by the NC High School to promote sporting and cultural events at the High School as well as for emergency usage and notifications of various civic events by our Emergency Services Departments and the Department of Public Works.”

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and his Administrative Officer Tucker Murphy are copied on the memo.

Planning & Zoning Commission Approves Special Permit for Newly Purchased Land Trust Property on Valley Road

The Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved a special permit for 1124 Valley Road that will enable the New Canaan Land Trust to establish its headquarters in the circa-1750 farmhouse located on the property, which abuts the Grupes Reservoir. The approval of the special permit follows the Land Trust’s purchase of the antique home from the First Taxing District (FTD) of Norwalk, which acts as a municipal water company. The town contributed $150,000 toward the purchase. In terms of acreage, the Land Trust and FTD are two of the largest land owners in New Canaan. Under the terms of the private land deal, 1.82 acres of the four-acre property will be deeded to the Land Trust by FTD.

P&Z To Weigh Change to Allowable Heights of Retaining Walls

In the past three years, the town has issued 25 permits for retaining walls higher than four feet, including 10 over six feet, though one section of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations outright forbids retaining walls taller than four feet in Residential and Special Zones, officials say. At the same time, another section of the regulations states that retaining walls higher than four feet simply require a zoning permit, Town Planner Sarah Carey noted in a memo ahead of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s regular meeting at 6 p.m Tuesday. 

“It is recommended that we clean up this regulation to take a clear position on the permitted height of retaining walls in Residential and Special Zones,” Carey wrote in the memo, which forms part of the public packet for the meeting. 

“Staff recommends that there be no height limit on retaining walls but rather a special permit be required in certain instances,” she said. The discrepancy—in Section 6.5.B of the regulations (page 153 here)—recently was brought to the attention of town staff, Carey said. In the past three years, the town has permitted retaining walls higher than four feet in Residential Zones, she said, “sometimes administratively, sometimes requiring a special permit.”

“The Commission in 2022 granted at least 2 Special Permits that had proposed retaining walls over 4ft in height in Residential Zones,” Carey said, citing properties on Brushy Ridge Road and Oenoke Ridge. To address the discrepancy, P&Z will consider text amendments to Section 6.5.B.