‘I’m Kind of Scratching My Head’: Councilmen Question 1913 Building-Related Clause in Draft Agreement Between Town, Library

The Board of Selectmen created new problems for New Canaan Library and its estimated $35 million rebuilding plan by reopening questions regarding preservation of its original 1913 building without the organization’s knowledge, members of the town’s legislative body said last week. Last March, the Town Council voted down a motion that would have effectively halted the library’s project for one year so that preservationists could figure out a use for the 1913 building and fundraise for its restoration and maintenance. The library is seeking a $10 million contribution from the town toward the project and is fundraising the balance. Yet it came to light last week that a draft agreement between the town and library—a Memorandum of Understanding or “MOU” that the selectmen approved and that now is making its way to the Board of Finance and, eventually, Town Council—includes a new clause that allows for a decision on whether to demolish the original 1913 library building to be put off for at least two years during construction. “I was surprised to see that paragraph in there, in the MOU, because I thought the MOU after waiting which is six months—you could actually say a year—where we emotionally came to the decision that we did,” Councilman Steve Karl said during the elected body’s regular meeting, held Feb.

Op-Ed: Our Schools Deserve a Thousand Thanks

The schools are open! New Canaan is now a major step closer to normal, COVID-19 be damned. 

In a few weeks, barring a significant increase in community transmission, all 4,100-plus students will be able to attend school in-person, five days a week. If there is an increase, the schools have effective plans for that, too. This “no matter what” capability has required an unprecedented effort by all school leaders, by teachers and all other staff members, by the Board of Education, by other government officials, by parent-volunteers, and by many others. A thousand thanks are in order. 

When asked about this fall’s reopening—temporarily in “hybrid” mode—parents’ eyes light up and their praise is effusive.

Town Council To Push State Officials for ‘Passing Lane’ on New Canaan Rail Line

Creating a short passing lane along Metro-North Railroad’s New Canaan branch line would double hourly train service to and from Stamford, a key step toward boosting the town’s desirability and quality of life, a resident told members of the Town Council last week. With a relative decline in jobs in Stamford post-financial crisis, access to Manhattan “is more important than ever,” Giacomo Landi said during the legislative body’s regular meeting Wednesday. “I encourage each and every one of you to reach out to our [state] senators, representatives and governor saying that this is a vital town priority,” Landi said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “In terms of who pays, New Canaan already pays a good multiple of our population in state income tax, but I am sure some wheeling-and-dealing will need to be done.”

A New Canaan resident since last summer, Landi added: “I am new to town, I don’t have all the background on why we are where we are. But we are here.

Real Estate Signs: Town Council To Propose ‘For Sale’ Sign Regulation to P&Z

Members of the town’s legislative body said on Monday that they would debate whether and how widely posted ‘For Sale’ signs in New Canaan may be phased out through regulations, and then would bring a recommendation to the Planning & Zoning Commission. In discussing the future of real estate signs in New Canaan, the Town Council itself first would hold what members expect to be well-attended public hearings, as would P&Z, officials said. “Ultimately I would see one of the best attended P&Z meetings that you have ever had, because it would be a big decision and you would have to hear both sides of the argument,” Steve Karl, co-chair of the Town Council’s Bylaws and Ordinances Committee, said at the group’s special meeting, held in Town Hall. “And ultimately you would make the decision on whether to amend the policy or not. It’s not going to happen over one meeting.