Did You Hear … ?

The Planning & Zoning Commission during a special meeting on Monday night reviewed some 65 yet-to-be-released conditions that it is considering as part of an approval for the closely followed Merritt Village proposal. Though still in draft form and therefore not public, the approval P&Z discussed appears to land on 105 total units at the proposed development. The specter of an affordable housing application looms over the project, should property owner M2 Partners and the town fail to reach a compromise. During an interview after the P&Z meeting, New Canaan resident and would-be Merritt Village builder Arnold Karp said he and his partners “have sat through six months of hearings.”

“We went from 160 to 140 to 123 to 116 to get 105? That doesn’t sit that well with myself or my partners, because it’s way too arbitrary and capricious,” Karp told NewCanaanite.com.

Did You Hear … ?

Police received a report on Tuesday that a 9-year-old Wheaten terrier who is new to town breached an invisible fence installed by his owners and attacked a leashed chocolate Labrador retriever puppy walking past. It happened at about 3:30 p.m. in the area of Orchard Drive and Douglas Road, and the 8-month-old puppy received a gash and punctures to his groin area. No citations or criminal charges were brought, according to the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section. Both dogs are neutered males and are up-to-date on shots, officials said. ***

It’s how Dan’s Highway and Lost District Drive got their names.

‘Ignoring the Law for Months, If Not Years’: Parking Authority Seeks To Double Fine for Scofflaws Requiring Boot Removal

The volunteer group that oversees the New Canaan Parking Bureau is proposing dollar increases to a handful of fines for violations, including doubling the fee for removing the boot off of scofflaws’ cars to $100. A boot is affixed to a motor vehicle if it has five or more unpaid parking tickets, members of the Parking Commission said Thursday at their regular meeting. Though violators already are facing numerous fines, and at higher-than-usual rates because they’re assessed late fees, scofflaws shouldn’t be left to face only $50 because “these are chronic offenders who finally—at long, long last—have been caught,” according to parking commissioner Peter Ogilvie. “You are a chronic scofflaw,” he said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “You have been ignoring the law for months, if not years.”

The proposed increase passed 4-1, with commissioner Rick Franco voting against it.

‘The Tightest-Kept Secret In Town’: Benko’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Rick Franco, of the New Canaan Francos, cannot recall the very first time he tasted the Benko family’s Irish soda bread. A classmate and lifelong friend of Steve Benko, now New Canaan’s recreation director—the pair entered St. Aloysius School together as first-graders (under Sister Frances Therese)—Franco spent plenty of childhood hours at his pal’s house on Orchard Drive. (Incidentally, their fathers graduated New Canaan High School together in 1939.)

There, in a Cape-style home that Benko’s father built himself in 1951—it stands today—Franco likely first tasted an unusually soft and savory Irish soda bread baked by Steve’s mom, Madeline Benko (née Murphy). This Saturday, as he and some 15-odd other invited guests have done for nearly 20 years, Franco will journey to Benko’s house on Douglas Road for a full St.

‘We Don’t Reward Stupidity’: Parking Commission Sets Three-Mistake Limit for Wrong Space Entries on App

Prompted by a local man’s honest though repeated mistake in punching in the wrong space number on his smartphone in paying for parking, town officials last week developed a new policy that applies only to use of a mobile app. Because the app generates proof of payment even when a user enters the wrong number, members of the Parking Commission decided by a 3-2 vote on Thursday that someone who makes that mistake with it may be given a pass three times per year as opposed to one, as is the case—with a receipt and at enforcement officers’ discretion—with those who pay for parking with cash. “You don’t want people throwing numbers down without even trying to get right number,” Chairman Keith Richey said at the meeting, by way of explaining why he opposed unlimited free passes for subpar typists. The commission’s discussion revolved around the case of Joe Bussichella, who appeared at the meeting to request that his $20 ticket for an unpaid space in the Railroad Lot in November be voided. Bussichella explained to the commission that the violation occurred in the dark of 6:20 a.m. and “there is a little groove in the pavement there, so I couldn’t tell” what the correct space was.