‘Respect for the Neighborhood’: One Kings Lane Officials Alter Plan To Welcome Prospective Customers at Residence

After meeting with town officials, representatives from a home décor company say they’ve decided that interior designers will meet prospective customers at their own homes instead of a private residence originally intended as a kind of showcase for various offerings. A spokesperson from One Kings Lane said that after talking with Town Planner Steve Palmer “and with many customers and local residents over the past week, we think we have found a model that’s best for everyone, and that is to take our complimentary design consultations into our customer’s homes.”

“We’ve heard clearly from customers that they would find it valuable to have the designer come to them to see the space with which they’re looking for help,” said Alex DeAngelo, public relations manager for the Manhattan-based company. She continued: “Additionally, our hope is to be a long-term part of this community, and given how the response has significantly exceeded our expectations, we want to proceed cautiously and with respect for the neighborhood.”

Palmer last week had fielded a concern regarding the planned use of a home on Cross Ridge Road that had been purchased recently by the company’s president. Parts of a description online of how the residence would be used had been updated as of Tuesday evening. New Canaan Zoning Regulations require that a homeowner obtain a special permit in order to operate a business in a residential zone.

Town Officials To Determine Whether ‘One Kings Lane Connecticut House’ Complies with Zoning Regulations

Town officials say they likely will conduct a site visit to a New Canaan home in order to determine whether its use by a new owner complies with local regulations that govern businesses in residential zones. A home décor company is describing the northeastern New Canaan residence as the “first-ever shoppable show house” for its “new foray into residential retail.”

Asked about the matter, Town Planner Steve Palmer confirmed that he had been made aware of the property last week and has connected with its owner. Palmer said he likely would make a site visit to “make a determination about its compliance or lack thereof.”

The 4,761-square-foot Colonial was sold in October for $1,495,000, tax records show. A public relations manager for Manhattan-based One Kings Lane told NewCanaanite.com in an email that the company’s president recently moved to town “and decorated her home with the help of one of our in-house interior designers.”

“The idea to open up her home to the local residents grew from the passion that she has for our brand and customer, and desire to meet some people in the community,” DeAngelo said. “She welcomed the local community into her home via an open house format this week, which is ending [Friday].”

DeAngelo continued: “We are not conducting any retail transactions in the space—we are simply giving people the chance to come in, say hi, and see how she decorated.

Town Planner: New Canaan May Look at More Closely Defining Core Retail Area Downtown

Protecting New Canaan’s core retail district may require greater flexibility in what types of businesses can occupy street-level storefronts in other areas of the downtown, officials said last week. Though non-retail uses of street-level commercial spaces are heavily restricted on parts of Main and Elm Streets now, it has become increasingly important to determine exactly what are “the proper limits of retail in town, so that we do not over-commit our zoning to acquiring retail to saturate the market,” Town Planner Steve Palmer told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission at their regular meeting. “I think there is a supply and demand, and we have too much supply,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “So we have to be careful with that, too. We know where it [retail] works best, we know where it is important, so let’s focus on those areas, the outskirts areas—we have to be careful with how we do that.”

The comments come as P&Z guides a discussion with business and town officials on whether the New Canaan Zoning Regulations as regards the “Retail A” zone (in purple here) should be amended—for example, to accommodate more types of service businesses.

‘There Is a Hint of Hypocrisy’: P&Z Rejects ‘Cemetery’ Claims, Signaling Cleared Final Hurdle for Merritt Village

Planning officials on Tuesday night voiced support for proposed changes to the town’s approval for the Merritt Village, signaling the clearing of a final hurdle for the 110-unit condo-and-apartment complex. Because archeological excavations have been undertaken since the Planning & Zoning Commission’s November approval—creating a need to reword parts of it—the group at its regular meeting stopped short of formally voting on an application filed on behalf of property owner M2 Partners. Yet P&Z spoke favorably of updating conditions regarding a burial ground on the Maple Street site that M2 had found objectionable because, if upheld, they would have required the property owner to seek approval for an amended site plan. Saying they’re concerned about preserving local history, some in town have called for P&Z to designate as “cemetery” ground areas of the Maple Street property where, archeological experts have said, people who had been buried there were deliberately dug up and moved to more desirable resting places, such as Lakeview Cemetery. The remaining disinterred grave shafts are scattered throughout a substantial parcel at Merritt Apartments.

After Contentious Hearing, Town Officials Call for Fresh Legal Advice on ‘Sober House’ Appeal

During an emotionally charged, at times contentious public hearing that saw a line of lawyers paint vastly different pictures of what’s required of the town, officials on Monday night said they would obtain yet another legal opinion prior to deciding whether a “sober house” may operate in a single-family home in northwestern New Canaan without obtaining a permit. Those opposed to a sober house operating out of a West Road residence criticized the town’s finding that the for-profit facility needs no permit to do so, saying New Canaan should have a formal application process for the business and pooh-poohing legal advice that imposing such would trigger liability for discrimination. Those who have found that The Lighthouse may operate at 909 West Road without a permit point to federal laws that govern treatment of the disabled and fair housing practices. During a public hearing on next-door neighbor Thom Harrow’s appeal of the town’s finding before the Zoning Board of Appeals, what emerged were competing legal interpretations of what would constitute a “reasonable accommodation” for the sober house on New Canaan’s part. According to Town Attorney Ira Bloom, whose advice led to an assertion that The Lighthouse may operate its facility in the 8,000-square-foot home, New Canaan is required “to reasonably accommodate” the sober house within its own regulations.