‘That Property Is Struggling’: P&Z Chairman Voices Support for Expanded Operations at Philip Johnson Glass House

The Philip Johnson Glass House not only anchors the important Modern architecture of New Canaan, the Ponus Ridge site also has caused the Planning & Zoning Commission fewer problems than have other institutions in residential zones, the group’s chairman said Tuesday night. The National Trust for Historic Preservation site is an “amazing” property and the organization that operates it has been “very, very well behaved” since opening to the public in 2007, John Goodwin said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “I’ve also been watching the management of the Glass House, and I know there’s a concern that this just is another director until the next director comes. But I would say that they finally have a business guy. My apologies to the architects, but sometimes it is good to have a business guy.

New Canaan Seeks $2 Million in State-Administered Funds For Locust Avenue Parking Deck

Town officials on Tuesday voted to put in for $2 million in funds administered on the state level that would go toward the widely anticipated and much-needed parking deck in the Locust Avenue Lot. Created under a 2013 state law (see Section 74 of this bill), the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s “Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program” or “LOTCIP” is designed to make it easier for municipalities to make capital improvements. The funds that could be made available under LOTCIP in New Canaan’s region in the state could total about $17 million for road improvements, bridges and sidewalks, according to Town Planner Steve Kleppin. “There is no guarantee, but $2 million would pay for half the deck,” Kleppin told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Few disagree that New Canaan needs more parking.

‘They Don’t Feel Comfortable’: Officials Urge Grace Farms, Neighbors To Reach Agreement on Screening Between Properties

Saying a next-door neighbor’s backyard is overly exposed to people visiting the hugely popular, multi-use 80-acre Grace Farms property and buildings, officials on Monday night urged the two parties to work through their differences and try to reach a mutually acceptable screening plan. The 2-story Colonial at 1218 Smith Ridge Road sits on 4.14 acres adjacent to and downgrade from the southeast corner of Grace Farms, which opened to the public in the fall. New Canaanites “are all beneficiaries” of Grace Farms, Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Carroll Yanicelli said at the group’s regular monthly meeting, held at Town Hall. “I love it. I love going there.

Parking Relief Sought for New Elm Street Building, Future Home of Stewarts Spirits

The owner of an Elm Street commercial lot that soon will see a new two-story building go up—a structure that officials say will serve, in part, as a future location for Stewarts Spirits—is seeking some relief from a local parking requirement as a basement level now also is proposed. Permits to construct the 3,011-square-foot building on the .28-acre lot at 215 Elm St.—located just east of Walter Stewart’s Market and Stewarts Spirits—already have been secured. Now, the property’s owner, Melissa Engel, is seeking to create a 1,598-square-foot basement which, under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see page 109 here), triggers the need for six additional parking spaces. The parcel’s site plan, as it is, will fall three spaces short. Engel is seeking relief under Section 6.2.E.2 of the zoning regs (page 112 here).

Planning Officials Raise Questions about Proposed Motorist-Bicyclist Signs

Asked to weigh in on whether New Canaan should place signs around town instructing motorists to give a legally required 3-foot berth to cyclists, planning officials on Tuesday raised questions about the proposed sign itself, how it’s mounted, just what streets would get one and the timing of its possible installment. Planning & Zoning Commissioner Claire Tiscornia said she’s all for safety but that the specific sign developed by the Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club could confuse passing motorists. “To me that looks like a school bus sign—the sign with the bus and the little light,” Tiscornia said at P&Z’s regular meeting, held in the Sturgess Room at the New Canaan Nature Center. “For me, if I was driving down the road, I would think, ‘Why is that school bus sign there?’ And I think it’s a little small. I’m not sure if I was driving by that I would think ‘Share the road.’ I would look at the bike sign and then either it’s too small for me to read or I would just go right past it.