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.

P&Z To Study Concerns Surrounding Airbnb Rentals, with An Eye on Updating Regulations

The chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission said Monday night that the appointed body is to study problems associated with short-term home rentals through a popular online service, with an eye on possibly updating local regulations. Though initial concerns presented by Airbnb emerged in New Canaan several months ago, P&Z did not immediately address it because the town was in process of hiring a new planner, according to John Goodwin. But she’s now in place, a second Airbnb problem on New Norwalk Road has emerged “and I have concluded that I had to more aggressively deal with it,” he told members of the Town Council’s Bylaws and Ordinances Committee during their special meeting. Specifically, he said, P&Z Commissioner Krista Neilson and Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni will study Airbnb in New Canaan, make an assessment and report back to the full Commission with recommendations. 

“There are already sections of the regulations that deal, we think, with Airbnb and the preliminary thought is it looks like they may already be in violation of the regulations without us even having regulations that are specific to Airbnb, so take that as an idea that is being talked about,” Goodwin said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. A guest at the meeting, Goodwin made his comments to a committee of the legislative body that’s looking at a number of possible new or updated ordinances.