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Boarding house issue is laid to rest in North Canaan

NORTH CANAAN — After months of discussion about boarding houses, the North Canaan Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) brought the moratorium on this use of residential properties to an end, at their regular meeting on Monday, June 8.

The meeting marked the first time that the commission has assembled together at Town Hall since the building closed three months ago due to the COVID-19 quarantine. Only three non-commission members were allowed to attend in person; the meeting was open to others via Zoom.

The commission members had researched other, similar regulations. P&Z Chairman Steve Allyn said that the moratorium in North Canaan was directed at boarding houses, and was not intended to cover other types of housing. The special permit process gives the P&Z a means for deciding on specific instances of other group home uses.

For instance, one concern expressed by members of the public was that a group housing regulation might prevent multiple families from living together in one home. 

The regulation had originally been proposed several years ago by the town’s resident state trooper, who had noticed that some residences in town were being converted to “sober houses.”

Commission members unanimously agreed that if residents have a complaint about the use of a specific residence, the complaint can be brought to the town and considered on a case-by-case basis. A public hearing may be scheduled to resolve those concerns.

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