Town: Butler Lane Homeowner in Violation of Zoning Regulations


151 Butler Lane in New Canaan.

Town officials say a Butler Lane homeowner has been in violation of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations for more than one year for illegally renting out rooms within the house.

In an April 30 Notice of Zoning Violation, Town Planner and Zoning Inspector Sarah Carey said the property in question violates two sections of the regulations. 

A Special Permit is required to operate a “rooming house” under the regulations (see page 45 here), under a number of conditions, including that the property owner lives there, no more than four rooms are used for the rooming house and the lot is of a certain size. Also, a zoning permit is required for short-term rentals (page 51), also with a number of conditions, including that the rental is for fewer than 30 consecutive nights at a time, and for no more than three instances in a rolling six-month period. It also is required that “[t]he accessory use of the property as a Short-Term Rental shall not materially disrupt the character of the neighborhood.” The property owner also must provide on-site parking, under the regulations. 

The town issued Mark Palmer, owner of 151 Butler Lane, a cease-and-desist in February 2023, Carey said in the Notice, “requiring remediation of said violations within ten days.”

Then on April 11, 2023, Carey issued a citation “carrying with it a monetary penalty of $150 per day for each ongoing violation.”

“To date, said violations have not been remediated nor any monetary penalties paid to the Town,” she said.

That’s 385 days in total to the date of the Notice, for a total owed of $57,750.

It’s a house with a complicated past. 

There, in 2020, Palmer’s ex-wife, Catherine Palmer, was arrested after authorities found that three puppies had died at the house and the remaining 12 dogs were being severely neglected (she pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and got three years’ probation). The rescued dogs are doing well. Mark Palmer two years ago filed to evict his ex from the house.

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