The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a contract to raze a ca.-1900 greenhouse that one year ago was at the center of a debate regarding public notice of its future demolition.
Located on town-owned New Canaan Nature Center property, the greenhouse is located behind the director’s house and the organization “has plans to repurpose the stone foundation of the greenhouse to expand their community garden,” according to Department of Public Works Senior Engineer Joe Zagarenski.
“The greenhouse has been vacant many years and is no longer safe to occupy,” he said at the selectmen’s March 9 meeting, held via videoconference. “Evergreen Environmental performed a pre-renovation inspection and identified asbestos-containing materials such as glazing compound and caulking. And the structure has lead paint. Fortunately the glazing and the caulk is less hazardous than other asbestos-containing materials, so dismantling the building will be fairly simple and safe.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of a $29,975 contract with Wolcott-based C&D Services LLC for abatement and demolition.
Last April, after Public Works applied for demolition of the structure and completed the required public notice, a letter of objection came in to the town that municipal officials said was too late, as per deadlines spelled out in a town ordinance. When an appointed municipal body found by a 4-1 vote that signage at the Nature Center didn’t comply with the town ordinance, New Canaan’s building official said he would not require the demolition to be re-noticed. Filed by town resident Andrea Sandor, the objection letter that came in late said, in part that “[t]he greenhouse and its complex has a potential economic benefit to the town in keeping with character and nature of other Town Buildings and parks (Waveny) and with current commercial business near the site (Roger Sherman Inn Weddings and Events).”
Zagarenski said at the selectmen meeting that a review required by state law when town-owned structures are demolished found that razing the greenhouse was consistent with the guiding document for planning in New Canaan.
A permit for demolition can be obtained as soon as a contractor is hired and the work will start around April 1, Zagarenski said.
Corbet asked how long the demolition would last. About five to seven days.
Williams said, “It’s a great project.”
“I spoke with the executive director at length last week for about their future plans going forward—capital expenditures and such—and I think this is first project that is going to come our way, and there are a few others in the offing. This is a great project.”