NEW CANAAN — The town’s plan to get a historic piece of property will take some work.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan was given a positive report by the Planning and Zoning Commission in November to acquire the red house on 1124 Valley Road and the 0.83 parcel it stands on through eminent domain.

The decision to use eminent domain came after unsuccessful negotiations with the First Taxing District of Norwalk, the property’s owner.

Mark Shipman, an attorney based in West Hartford, has handled several cases revolving around eminent domain, and finds this case unique.

“I’ve not heard of one municipality, city or state taking property belonging to another public entity,” he said.

Due to the taxing district being a public entity, it could be difficult for New Canaan to acquire the property, Shipman said. “The taxing district may have a defense that the average property owner doesn’t have.”

Now that the town has chosen to go through this process, another appraisal of the property is needed. Once this is done, a period of exchange and discovery will be allowed between the groups.

“The court will hear the two appraisers then the court will make its own determination of the value,” Shipman said.

Previously, town officials had offered to pay $250,000 to the taxing district for the piece of property, but now, he said, the court will ultimately have the say in how much the property is worth.

“The cost to the town could be the difference between what they determine the value was and what the court determines the value is,” Shipman said.

Several town organizations, including the New Canaan Land Trust and the New Canaan Historical Society, pushed to preserve anad protect the property, according to Moynihan.

New Canaan Historical Society’s Executive Director Nancy Gear said the property has a historical importance to the town. The house was built around 1805, but land records showed transfers of the title of the property back to the 1700s.

“It’s one of the oldest houses remaining in New Canaan,” Geary said. “If you drive that road on Valley Road and see it on the hill, it’s quite iconic in terms of New Canaan’s architecture.”

In addition, very prominent New Canaan families have lived in the house over the years, she said.

“We very much want to save the house because it is so old and is such an important part of New Canaan’s history,” Geary said.

The taxing district’s counsel Frank Murphy has said there are plans to place a caretaker in the house. If the taxing district raises the argument they need this property, New Canaan will need a counter, Shipman said, and the historical aspect could play a key role moving forward.

“If this is a historical property and it’s being run down and not maintained, that may be sufficient to get by the need issue,” Shipman said.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com, 203-842-2568