Selectmen Approve Installation of New Sound Barrier for Chillers at Town Hall

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting unanimously approved a request from the Department of Public Works that ultimately will reduce the noise levels created by the chiller sound barriers on the south side of Town Hall. New Canaan will enter contracts with Hoover Treated Wood Products and Gannon Rustic Fences at a total cost of $18,191. The sound barrier closes the loop on an ongoing dispute between the town and next-door neighbor Cody Real Estate. When Town Hall was renovated and expanded, the chillers were placed on the south side of the building, adjacent to commercial buildings owned by Cody. The company said that the noisiness of the chillers were prohibitively loud, especially if the commercial properties were to be developed to include second-floor residential units.

Neighboring Commercial Property Owner Pursues Appeal to Certificate of Occupancy for Town Hall

Saying a pair of chillers located alongside Town Hall fail to comply with an original site plan for the newly renovated and expanded structure, a commercial property owner adjacent to the public building is challenging its Certificate of Occupancy. The Planning & Zoning official who issued the CO “exceeded his authority” and “acted impermissibly” in two ways, according to an appeal filed at Town Hall by attorney Stuart Johnson on behalf of Terry Spring, town resident and managing partner of Cody Real Estate LLC—which owns the commercial buildings on Main from the former Varnum’s Pharmacy building across to the Baskin-Robbins space, including the parking lot behind them. “As constructed, the expanded Town Hall fails to comply with its approved site plan because no noise barrier exists surrounding the chiller units and standby generator on the south side of the building as depicted on the approved site plan,” according to a Statement of Reasons for Appeal. It continues: “As constructed, the expanded Town Hall fails to comply with the special permit issued to the Town of New Canaan because the chiller units and standby generator are placed on the ground at the south side of the Town Hall building, contrary to the plans presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission when the special permit application was granted March 26, 2013.”

The dispute between Spring and the town around the chillers goes back more than one year. She originally had objected to the issuance of a variance to New Canaan’s noise ordinance for the chillers, saying they would be prohibitively loud is she were to develop her commercial properties to include second-floor residential units.