Town Council Candidates Discuss Transparency in Local Government at Debate

New Canaan’s strong zoning is one of its most important assets, according to one incumbent member of the town’s legislative body. The zoning regulations are what underpin property values here, yet in recent years—considering the handling of applications for Merritt Village, Grace Farms, the Roger Sherman Inn, mixed-use on Forest Street and “Zone D” on Grove Street, New Canaan has been “managing by exception,” according to Town Councilman John Engel. “The mere fact that we have 100 caveats to the Grace Farms approval, another 100 for the Merritt Village approval, shows that we have got to do a better job of getting in front of this and the evidence is, it is costing us money,” Engel, a Republican seeking re-election to the Town Council, said during a debate last week. “When I talk to the developer [of Heritage Square] on Forest Street and I ask, ‘Would you do it again?’ and he said, ‘No, it’s far too risky to develop in this town not knowing after a two-year process whether your project will get approved or not.’ So developers are staying away and I don’t know if most people realize it, but building permits are down by 50 percent this year versus last year. It is costing us money.

Letter: Republican Town Council Candidates Are ‘Excellent’

Editor, New Canaanite:

We are fortunate to have four excellent Republican candidates for Town Council. Penny Young has been a major contributor to the town for many years. She brings institutional memory with a deep understanding of our town government. Penny has always been a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility in government. Tom Butterworth’s background as an attorney enables him to think carefully through issues.

Letter: Rich Townsend for Town Council

Having lived in New Canaan for over thirty years and having known Rich Townsend for that time, we know him to be intelligent, of high integrity and community minded. We have worked with him at church, Habitat for Humanity, Midnight Run and served as well on various committees. During a stellar business career, Rich distinguishes himself as a leader, hard worker and team player. Rich is able to bring groups together and move to a conclusion. He has a passion for service and “doing the right thing.”

We would urge a vote for Richard Townsend for Town Council.

Letter: Current Environment Favors Kevin Moynihan for First Selectman

Our first selectman candidates and our voters seem to agree on the major issues of the election: limiting spending and taxes, lack of parking, and getting 20th century cell service. Whatever the election’s outcome, I am glad that both of our first selectman candidates will sit on the Board of Selectmen. The question is who will be in the leadership position. Our infrastructure projects require negotiating with large corporations with bottomless budgets for clever, hardnosed lawyers. Kevin’s professional experience was in dealing with corporations of this heft and power.

Letter: New Canaan ‘Lucky’ To Have Rich Townsend Running for Town Council

I have no direct ties to Rich, but after witnessing his first debate this summer I was moved by his down to earth practical approach: make every decision based on the impact it will have on property values (as a whole). I walked away feeling New Canaan is lucky to have him running for office. Stanford MBA, Former CFO of Loral Space & Communications, long history living and raising his family in New Canaan and time … to work for the benefit of New Canaan. This town is in need of more smart, independent and transparent elected officials working as a team to accomplish goals. This town needs leadership that will come with this election.