LETTER | It is Time for a Strong and Unequivocal “No”

To the Editor:

I am writing to firmly oppose the construction of a 200-car above-ground parking garage by St. Luke’s School, situated at 377 North Wilton Road, New Canaan, CT 06840. This project, planned within a residential zone known for its historical mid-century modern homes and tranquil wooded environment, is a matter of serious concern.

Over the last 27 years, I have witnessed St. Luke’s School’s transformation from a modest, hardly noticeable institution into an expansive educational complex. This unchecked growth, mirroring the scale of substantial facilities like Norwalk Hospital, has led to the construction of various structures which did not go through proper authorization channels, including a football field and additional athletic facilities with potentially hazardous P5 toxic turf. Such development is unprecedented for a residential area, particularly one sensitive to wetland and watercourse issues.

It appears to me that the proposed parking garage oversteps the permissible bounds of the special permit granted to the school. The likely impact of inadequately treated runoff into Class A Wetlands and the groundwater system, crucial to our neighborhood’s well-being, cannot be overlooked. The proposed overhang over these wetlands further exacerbates my concerns, as it could significantly affect the delicate ecological balance.

The rapid expansion of the school has not only altered the physical landscape but has also introduced light pollution, diminishing our ability to enjoy natural nightscapes, a cherished aspect of living in this area. The significant increase in traffic, marked by speeding and disregard for traffic laws by young, inexperienced drivers, adds another layer of apprehension regarding community safety and wellbeing which should be addressed.

I am perplexed by the decisions of our Planning and Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands, seemingly influenced by external pressures, allowing such expansions that run counter to the interests of New Canaan residents. Why are the zoning regulations, designed to protect residential zones, being so readily amended or overlooked for this expansion?

St. Luke’s School’s use of shell companies for property acquisition in our neighborhood, aiming to rezone our historical residential area, raises further questions about the school’s expansion strategy. As a tax-exempt organization, the school’s aggressive growth plan seems to disproportionately burden our community, potentially affecting property values and posing risks to our health and environment.

In light of these developments, I question why our town is not exploring alternatives such as requesting St. Luke’s School to establish an additional campus in a more appropriate, non-residential area. Other towns, like Greenwich, have set precedents in protecting their communities from similar impacts.

I urge the Town Hall, Planning and Zoning, and Inland Wetlands to reconsider their stance and act decisively to protect the residential zoning, community health, property values, and environmental sanctity of New Canaan. It’s time for a strong and unequivocal “no” to this proposed parking garage and any further expansions that threaten the character and safety of our neighborhood.

Sincerely, Roy A Abramowitz

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