Saying her objection letter came in too late, the town building official denied a local woman’s bid to stave off demolition of a derelict structure at the New Canaan Nature Center.
The Feb. 25 letter that Andrea Sandor sent to the town, objecting to the planned demolition of a ca.-1900 greenhouse, came in four days after a deadline specified in a local ordinance, according to Town Building Official Brian Platz.
Under the ordinance, “If the Town Building Official has received no pertinent written objection to the application within 15 days following publication of the notice in the newspaper, then the Building Official shall issue the demolition permit, provided all other requirements of the State Demolition Code have been satisfied.”
The Nature Center’s notice was published Feb. 6, meaning the objection period expired Feb. 21, Platz told Sandor in an email obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request.
“[T]herefore I cannot take action on your objection as it is not valid,” Platz said in an email to Sandor.
The greenhouse in question is located behind the director’s residence on the Oenoke Ridge property—it’s not the larger one by the rear parking lot.
Sandor had hoped to stave of demolition by invoking another part of the same ordinance. It says that once a formal letter objecting to a proposed demolition is lodged with the town building official, the Historical Review Committee will meet to determine whether the structure in question “is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan.” If so, it can force a 90-day delay on the demolition from the date of the demo permit application. (The Committee is seeking to double the allowable delay period to 180 days.)
In her tardy letter of objection, Sandor said, “[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).”
Sandor promised that “additional detail” regarding the greenhouse’s “historic value and economic value” would be “forthcoming.”
Sandor sent her letter to the Planning & Zoning Commission and copied in the Town Council, Board of Selectmen, Historic District Commission and New Canaan Preservation Alliance.
The Historical Review Committee discussed the greenhouse briefly during its special meeting Tuesday.
Platz, a guest at the meeting, informed the Committee about Sandor’s objection letter.
“We were in there and I almost fell through the floor, by the way,” he said at the meeting, held at the New Canaan Historical Society. “That greenhouse will fall down soon enough if left alone.”