‘It’s Not Even a Close Call’: ZBA Unanimously Denies Oenoke Ridge Road Neighbor’s Appeal

Saying a New Canaan couple has misinterpreted and incorrectly applied both local ordinances and state laws, town officials last week unanimously rejected an appeal that would have forced their next-door neighbor to apply for a special permit. The activities at 757 Oenoke Ridge Road do not rise to the level of farming as defined by the Connecticut General Statutes, and in any case the parcel likely is grandfathered since applicable town regulations came after the family that lives and enjoys their property there now have done so since before their adoption, members of the Zoning Board of Appeals said during their regular meeting. The ZBA voted 5-0 to deny an appeal brought by Peter and Kathy Streinger, of 785 Oenoke Ridge Road. “To me, it’s not even a close call,” board member Angelo Ziotas said at the Nov. 7 meeting, held at Town Hall.

‘The Answer To That Is Emphatically, No’: Town Planner Finds That Oenoke Ridge Road Homeowner Is Not Operating a Farm

The Oenoke Ridge Road homeowner whose property is the subject of a neighbor’s zoning appeal is, in fact, not a farm under the state’s definition of the term, according to New Canaan’s advising town planner. Though the McQuilkins of 757 Oenoke Ridge Road keep egg-laying chickens and fur-bearing alpacas, they’re not taking those commodities to market for direct sale, Steve Kleppin said in a memo issued ahead of Monday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. The ZBA is expected to discuss an appeal brought by the McQuilkins’ neighbors, Peter and Kathy Streinger, who argue that the keeping of animals and equipment rises to the legal definition of ‘farming’ and requires a special permit. In his advisory comments sent ahead of Monday’s meeting to the ZBA, Board of Selectmen and town attorney, Kleppin notes that “the McQuilkins have on occasion sold eggs from a farm stand on Oenoke Ridge as indicated in the photographs provided.”

“I have instructed the McQuilkins that the sale of or bartering of eggs or other products, whether sold on the property or elsewhere, would constitute farming and require a special permit. They have agreed that they would not sell or barter items produced on the property and would seek a special permit should they decide to do that.

‘A Great Fit for New Canaan’: Meet Steve Palmer, Our New Town Planner

Officials on Wednesday approved the hiring of a longtime Planning & Zoning director in Bethel and, since in April, in Westport, to fill the recently vacated position of town planner for New Canaan. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in favor of hiring Steve Palmer for the job. He is scheduled to start Nov. 14. During an interview at his Westport office, Palmer said he was “very excited to begin” working in town.

Specter of Affordable Housing Looms as P&Z Nears Decision on ‘Merritt Village’ Proposal

New Canaan could use an increase in its in-town housing supply, for seniors, young professionals and, in some cases, families, the head of the Planning & Zoning Commission said Tuesday night. Some families want to live in town and “we can’t tell them where to live,” P&Z Chairman John Goodwin said during the commission’s first discussion of the divisive Merritt Village application since the public hearing on it closed. “I am not convinced that there will be an influx which would overwhelm the schools—I just don’t see the demographics going in that direction and the applicant put on the record some demographics there, so some sort of huge school enrollment spike—I am just not convinced,” he said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “I am convinced that a vibrant town needs to meet the demand and the demand right now is for some in-town housing and I know there is a view that New Canaan should ideally never change—I would love that, too, but the reality is that towns do change and I think quite frankly that we have to worry right now about our village. There is a company called Amazon which is the leader in taking share of retail sales.