Money-Saving Propane Heating Coming To Schools; Natural Gas Expansion in New Canaan Off the Table

New Canaan is poised to save money under a plan that will see the current heating oil supplier for the town and schools introduce a “dual fuel” system in which propane gas becomes available, officials said Monday night. By burying propane tanks and using the infrastructure already in place for fuel oil heating, the district will be able to switch back-and-forth between the energy sources based on market prices, members of the Utilities Commission said during their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “The bad news is that it means that there will be no natural gas expansion in New Canaan,” Commissioner Scott LaShelle said. “The schools are clearly an anchor tenant for any utility, and as we know from sitting here on this commission working with Yankee Gas [now Eversource] for a solid four years—and the first selectman would say we have been working with Yankee for longer, they have shown an inability to deliver that product to us.”

“Without those anchor tenants, we are not going to get natural gas downtown, we are not going to replace the propane tanks that are downtown, we are not going to bring natural gas to restaurants, we are not going to bring natural gas to residents to save them money, because Yankee will never com here for residential homeowners.”

The development puts to bed frustrating, go-nowhere efforts dating back several years to work with the utility and make natural gas available in downtown New Canaan. Longer-term plans to see Eversource offer it to residences in phases never materialized.

Did You Hear … ?

1994 New Canaan High School graduate David Burns is participating this coming Sunday in a special fund- and awareness-raising walk for a very personal reason. Burns, a tennis standout here in town who is now a 40-year-old father of two, was diagnosed last Novemeber with a life-threatening liver disease, and received a transplant in January at UCLA hospital. He’s participating in Liver Life Walk Los Angeles 2015. Together with sisters Mollie and Eliza, their team—the Healthy Hedgehogs—has raised more than $10,000 for the 5K walk, an important fundraiser for the American Liver Foundation. And he’s doing this within months of his surgery.

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New Canaan on Thursday put a lien on the Forest Street property cited for violating the town’s blight ordinance. Signed by Blight Officer Brian Platz, the town’s chief building official, the 1829-built multi-family home at 74 Forest St. is deteriorating and its .3-acre property is unkempt. The “Blight Lien and Certification of Continuing Lien” notice in the Town Clerk’s office says that $9,800 was owed as of May 22 and $100 per day additional is to be assessed as of that date (bringing the total to $11,500 as of Monday, June 8). ***

More than 40 residents attended’s inaugural Community Coffee on Friday, and the sole topic of discussion for the hour-long talk was the Pop Up Park downtown, suspended by the committee that created and managed it after some merchants raised concerns about traffic and the makeshift plaza’s effect on business.

Eversource Seeking Staging Area for Proposed Natural Gas Project

Update 7:45 a.m. Friday

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said Friday that one proposed “lay-down area” for Eversource (formerly ‘Yankee Gas’)—at Waveny Park, near the water towers—has been rejected by the utility because the space is not secure. Several sites for the staging area have been discussed, and officials now are exploring whether the most viable option may be out of town, Mallozzi said. “If we cannot come to an agreement on a good, safe location that is near their potential project, I’ve asked them to cost out-of-town,” he said. If a spot on public park grounds emerged as a candidate for the staging area, Mallozzi said, the Park & Recreation Commission would need to vet and vote formally on it. No timetable for the project has been said, he said.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan readers voted by a 7-to-2 margin in favor of a proposal that would see the Pop Up Park in the final block of South Avenue in place continuously from Memorial Day to Labor Day. ***

Four longtime New Canaan friends and NCHS grads gathered to cheer on the Rams last Monday during the varsity boys basketball team’s Senior Night game vs. St. Joe’s. Pictured at left—standing in front local legend Wilky Gilmore’s jersey—are Tad Keating, Monroe Trout, Rob Lenihan and Matt Ready.