$1M OK’d for Waveny House restorations
Updated 4:47 pm, Thursday, May 24, 2018
NEW CANAAN — After months of debate, Waveny House will be brought in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A $1 million appropriation, approved by Town Council with oversight provided by a Board of Selectmen committee, will see the installation of an estimated $500,000 birdcage elevator, so as to adhere to the style of the house, restroom and handicapped ramp renovations.
Waveny House, which can be rented as a venue for weddings and other social events, does not abide by the ADA of 1990.
“We need to get this project moving,” Richard Townsend, Town Council vice chairman, said May 16, when the funding was approved. “We have had 28 years to act on (being ADA-compliant) and it’s time to get busy.”
In previous meetings, the council had been evenly split on what the best course of action was going forward.
While all members agreed ADA compliance was the foremost goal, members floated options like closing the second floor, adding a regular elevator — to the dismay of preservationists — or designating the house as historic in order to allow for modifications.
“I’m not sold on the birdcage elevator,” council member Joe Paladino said. “Is this an automated system? The companies (that make these elevators) I talked to didn’t recommend a birdcage elevator for ADA compliance.”
Councilmen Mike Mauro and Cristina Ross had questioned whether a birdcage elevator was the most appropriate option for the house. Member Christa Kenin, who served on the Waveny House Committee and the Building Use Committee, had questioned whether an elevator was necessary.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, who had to interject at various points throughout the meeting, said he would appoint a committee to oversee how the money would be spent.
“I’ve talked about having a building committee, and we want those questions (regarding Waveny House) answered,” Moynihan said. “We will appoint one and make sure everyone is satisfied with the proposal.”
On Tuesday, the selectmen appointed seven members to the Waveny House Renovation Advisory Committee. The named members are Bill Holmes, Sally Campbell, Amy Carroll, Carl Rothbart, Cristina Ross, Marty Skrelunas and Penny Young. The committee will have 90 days to make recommendations.
Carroll, Skrelunas and Young are former members of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee, which issued a 90-page report last December on the state of town-owned buildings, among them Waveny House.