The New Canaan Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce that Waveny was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 30th 2019. NCPA is most pleased to have successfully promoted, facilitated and funded this nomination as prepared by Public Archeology Laboratory of Rhode Island. This project was made possible by a reimbursable grant from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.
In October of 2013, the NCPA held a celebratory Waveny 100th Celebration and fundraiser after which it was decided by the Board of Directors to pursue funding the nomination of Waveny to the National Register. Although not required to do so, the NCPA presented a request to the Town of New Canaan to support proceeding with this nomination. Throughout this process the NCPA presented a thorough and open proposal to all relevant government agencies which included facilitating attendance of representatives from SHPO to answer all questions relating to this nomination.
The volunteer municipal body responsible for studying historical buildings in New Canaan wants to double the amount of time it may delay the demolition of such structures. The Historical Review Committee voted 5-0 last week to recommend upping the demolition delay period from 90 to 180 days. It currently “is not an adequate incentive for an applicant to seriously consider alternative solutions to demolition,” Committee member Laszlo Papp said during the appointed group’s Sept. 13 meeting, held at the New Canaan Historical Society. “And 180 days possibly will provide more incentive to keep, repurpose or maintain the historical property,” he said.
A divided Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted to approve a pair of contracts to demolish a long-neglected town-owned building on the northern edge of Mead Park, signaling the end of a long-running and hotly disputed debate concerning its future.
Selectman Nick Williams, who emerged in recent months as the Board’s “swing vote” on what preservationists have dubbed the “Mead Park Brick Barn,” said he had mixed feelings about voting to raze it.
Noting that a local nonprofit organization, the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, has “worked tirelessly in its efforts to save the Barn” and that “every citizen of New Canaan, regardless of whether you are in favor of or opposed to its continuation, should applaud their efforts,” Williams said that “the time has finally come to proceed with demolition.”
“During a meeting last fall, I said then and I quote, ‘I am personally generally agnostic about the disposition of the Brick Barn, but regardless, one of two things needs to happen—it either needs to be fixed and rehabilitated soon, very soon, or it needs to come down,’ ” Williams said during the Board’s meeting, held at Town Hall.
“While the Alliance has indeed tried to move heaven and earth to save the Barn, alas, the requisite funding plan, in my mind, essentially, cash on the barrel and in the bank for the complete restoration, with no ‘strings attached,’ and together with a business plan acceptable to relevant town bodies has not come to full fruition,” Williams continued.
He noted that municipal bodies including the Town Council and Parks & Recreation Commission have voted repeatedly to see the Brick Barn demolished.
“That tells me that even if we as a Board today were to provide additional time for the Alliance, their continued efforts would ultimately be in vain,” Williams said. “For those reasons, I feel compelled to assist in ending a discussion that has has taken place for nearly a decade. It’s time to move on. The disposition of the Barn has engendered an extraordinary amount of input from our citizens, with emotions running strong on both sides of the issue. Likewise the so-called ‘process’ of that disposition has been discussed and debated extensively in our local press.
Saying a nonprofit group’s effort in planning for the restoration of the Mead Park Brick Barn warrants a stay of execution, the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday decided to forgo voting on contracts to demolish the long-vacant Richmond Hill Road structure.
Now that the New Canaan Preservation Alliance has poured resources into developing architectural plans for the Brick Barn and identified viable funding sources so that its restoration and maintenance can be privately funded, the Town Council should “weigh in on this,” Selectman Nick Williams said during a regular Board meeting, held at Town Hall. “You cannot recapture history, so I would like to send it back to the Town Council, and that is two weeks from now, and there will be a resolution within the next few weeks one way or the other, and I am committed to that,” Williams said. He referred to the Council’s Feb. 27 meeting, saying that if the legislative body again votes to demolish the Brick Barn, “I would be inclined to go along with that.”
Williams and Selectman Kit Devereaux voted 2-0 to postpone the Board’s decision on the demolition contracts until fresh direction is had from the Town Council. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, long a proponent for demolishing the building, abstained from voting on the motion.
As an apparent deadline for the town to move forward with the demolition of the Mead Park Brick Barn looms, preservationists have obtained the opinion of a prominent attorney that New Canaan’s legislative body may legally undo its approval of funds to raze the widely discussed structure. Citing case law that specifies a town’s legislative body “possesses the unquestioned power to rescind prior acts,” attorney Daniel E. Casagrande, a partner at Danbury-based Career & Anderson, concludes that “the Town Council has the inherent power to rescind or reduce its appropriation for the demolition of the Barn.”
“Neither the Charter nor the General Statutes contain any provision barring the Town Council from rescinding or reducing an appropriation,” Casagrande wrote in a Dec. 18 opinion sent to members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, which had retained him.
“Similarly, the Town Council’s rules contain no restriction on its authority to rescind or reduce an appropriation. Finally, since the Board of Selectmen has not yet acted to award a demolition contract, no vested rights in any third party have intervened that would limit the Town Council’s rescission power.”
Casagrande referred to the Town Council’s vote in May to approve $65,000 for the Barn’s demolition—a 6-6 tie broken by the first selectman, as per the Town Charter. The attorney’s findings come as New Canaan nears a deadline with respect to two companies that won bids to tear down the century-old structure at the northern edge of Mead Park— where Standard Oil’s horse-drawn delivery wagons used to fill containers for fuel delivery in New Canaan—and dispose safely of its remains.