Planning and Zoning Commission

Recent Articles

23 New Canaanites Sue Water Company over Plan To Use Indian Waters Drive in Connection with Proposed Two-Lot Subdivision, Development

Saying Aquarion has no legal right to use their street, 23 of Indian Waters Drive in New Canaan are collectively suing the water company as it pursues a plan to subdivide and develop a wooded parcel that includes use of the private road as an access way. The approximately 10-acre lot owned by Aquarion historically has been served by a driftway running from Weed Street to Frogtown Road, and Indian Waters Drive itself didn’t exist at the time a predecessor water company acquired the parcel in question 110 years ago, according to a complaint filed Oct. 17 in state Superior Court in Stamford. Those who own properties along Indian Waters Drive itself own portions of it up to the centerline, and those who own other homes on the road may pass and repasss it, according to the complaint, filed on the neighbors’ behalf by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. Yet use of the road is deed-restricted to those property owners, the lawsuit said, so what Aquarion proposes to do “constitutes trespass on the Indian Waters Drive property owners’ property.”

“The Indian Waters property owners request that the court issue a declaratory judgment determining that Aquarion does not have the right to use Indian Waters Drive,” the complaint said. Continue Reading →

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Cell Service: Town Hires Consulting Firm To Help Draft Updated Telecom Regulations

Saying expert help is needed, officials on Tuesday approved a $7,500 allocation to hire an Simsbury-based consulting firm to help New Canaan review and revise the telecommunications section of its zoning regulations. The Board of Selectmen by a 3-0 vote approved the request from Interim Town Planner Keisha Fink during its regular meeting. According to Fink, Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Goodwin had recommended hiring Planimetrics since the town had “identified a need to be proactive in updating” the relevant section of the regulations. “Myself and other members of the Planning & Zoning Commission have reviewed the current telecommunications zoning regulations and feel it is prudent that the town have in place standards that should address any future applications affecting the siting of antenna facilities in town,” Fink said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We believe that the Hiring of Planimetrics is the most efficient use of the town’s time and resources in order to bring forth a more comprehensive telecommunications regulations.”

Selectman Beth Jones said the general consensus is that “everyone wants to move ahead with this as quickly as possible, so we can get some professional help from people who have dealt with this before.”

Jones, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of the allocation for Planimetrics. Continue Reading →

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Grace Farms Sues Town Over Conditions of P&Z Approval

Saying its rights as a religious organization are being violated, Grace Farms on Friday sued the town in connection with conditions included in recent approvals from the Planning & Zoning Commission. The Grace Farms Foundation “is statutorily and classically aggrieved” by P&Z’s Sept. 26 heavily conditioned approval of its application to amend its zoning permit and is appealing the town’s decision because it is “specially and injuriously affected,” according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Lukes Wood Road organization by Attorney Diana Neeves of Stamford-based Robinson + Cole. “The Resolution is illegal, arbitrary, capricious and constitutes an abuse of discretion for a variety of reasons,” including that it “imposes conditions on activities and events of the [Grace Farms] Foundation that are not reasonably supported by substantial evidence in the record before the Commission about the [Grace Farms] Foundation’s operations and how they protect the health and safety of visitors and the neighborhood,” according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court and received Oct. 20 in the New Canaan Town Clerk’s office. Continue Reading →

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Grace Farms’ Neighbor Files Lawsuit Seeking To Reverse P&Z’s Approvals

Saying the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recent approvals of Grace Farms’ closely followed applications will hurt them financially and threaten residential zones in New Canaan, a neighbor of the Lukes Wood Road organization on Monday filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court seeking to reverse those decisions. According to complaints filed on behalf of Smith Ridge Road residents Timothy Curt and Dona Bissonnette by attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury-based Moriarty, Paetzoid & Sherwood, the neighbors are “aggrieved by the action of” P&Z, because their property “is adversely affected by” changes to New Canaan’s zoning regulations. The lawsuit refers to amendments to the regulations that allow an applicant to seek multiple principal uses for their properties—something Grace Farms wanted in order to be categorized not only as a religious institution but also as a philanthropic agency and club. “The amendments allow applications for multiple principal uses in residential zones and encourage the expansion of commercial and institutional uses in residential zones, to the detriment of established residential uses,” according to the complaint. Further, the complaint says, the plaintiffs are “aggrieved” by P&Z’s decision because they’ve “suffered and will suffer economic damage as a result of the regulation changes and their implementation on the abutting property of Grace Farms Foundation Inc.”

The neighbors are seeking for the court to reverse P&Z decision on the text changes—as well as to nullify the commission’s approval of Grace Farms’ amended special permit application—and to be awarded costs and “such other relief as the court deems appropriate.”

P&Z by a 5-4 margin approved the text amendment application at its July 25 meeting. Continue Reading →

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Commission Seeks Feedback On Cell Tower Proposal

New Canaan residents are invited to public hearing to be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Town Hall to share their views on a proposal from the Utilities Commission to install 110-foot tall cellular towers at Irwin Park and West School. For the past several years the Utilities Commission, under the direction of the Board of Selectmen, has been studying various approaches to improving wireless coverage in town. The northern sections of New Canaan, in particular the northwest quadrant, suffer from serious wireless coverage gaps—some as large as 10 square miles—due to the town’s unique topography. Not only is this an inconvenience for residents, it also presents a serious public safety risk, as the town’s police, fire and EMS services all rely on cellular technology for emergency communications. During Thursday’s Town Council meeting, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said “there have been incidents in the past where people have tried to make 911 calls from the north section of town and have not been able to get through.” He said a few months ago, a tradesman who was working in the northwest corner of town seriously injured his leg and almost bled to death because he was unable to reach 911 using his cell phone. “There have also been incidents of motor vehicle accidents where people couldn’t get through,” Krolikowski told the council members, adding that people who have been in accidents have sometimes had to “drive toward town until they get a signal.”

Wendy Dixon Fog, captain of New Canaan EMS, added that emergency medical technicians rely on the cellular network to get data and information about patients while they are on scene or in transit. Continue Reading →

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