Town: Land Use Attorney’s Comments Delay Filing of Moratorium Application

A prominent land use attorney’s feedback on the town’s application for relief from a state affordable housing law has delayed its widely anticipated submission, officials say. In reference to the application for a four-year “moratorium” for the town, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Tuesday that “after getting some comments from a rather skilled lawyer who wrote the law, we’re going to get that back in very soon.” The lawyer in question, Tim Hollister, “makes a habit commenting on people’s applications before they’re even filed,” Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance during an update at their regular meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “That’s what the public comment period is for,” Moynihan said. “Since he [Hollister] wrote the law, he knows how to use it.”

Tucker Murphy, administrative officer under Moynihan, had said during the April 19 Board of Selectmen meeting that the town anticipated submitting the application two weeks ago (April 28).

Neighbor Voices ‘Deep Concern’ Over Canaan Parish Redevelopment; P&Z Hearing Opens Tuesday

Though some of those behind a proposal to redevelop an apartment complex on Lakeview Avenue say its impact on nearby properties will be minimal, one neighbor of Canaan Parish is voicing what he called “deep concern” about the project. In a letter filed last week with Planning & Zoning, a Fitch Lane man who lives across Route 123 from Canaan Parish said that although officials with the New Canaan Housing Authority claim “that this area does not affect any residents, that is inaccurate.”

“Several homes from the Hoyt Farm neighborhood will look straight at this complex when the leaves are off the trees in the fall and winter,” Gregory Pepe said in his July 26 letter, part of the public file on an application for the redevelopment that will come before P&Z at its regular meeting Tuesday. “Our family home will have a direct eye level view of an apartment complex which will impact housing values. Canaan Parish existed long before us and I have no issue with that fact. However, replacing it with something far, far bigger and out of character with the town is not acceptable.”

Pepe also said that the proposed redevelopment appears to be five stories, not four, and urges P&Z not to “change or compromise current rules and regulations when it comes to height or density of housing as that becomes a slippery slope for future development, whether affordable housing or not.”

Those behind the proposal at Canaan Parish are seeking to create a new zone within the New Canaan Zoning Regulations in order to make the project possible. Named for the federally subsidized rental complex that’s stood at Lakeview and 123 for four decades, the “Canaan Parish Housing Zone” would allow the two organizations collaborating on the project to create 100 new units where 60 now stand. 

Specifically, Canaan Parish would be rebuilt with two L-shaped four-story buildings, according to an application filed this month with P&Z: one that replaces the 60 apartments now spread through 10 buildings and a second structure with 40 units built specifically to help New Canaan achieve relief in the future from a punitive state law.