New Canaan Nature Center to build barn for four donkeys
NEW CANAAN — The two Nigerian dwarf goats and six chickens at the Nature Center will soon be joined by new four braying, hooved animals.
But before that happens, the Nature Center must pass through at least five bureaucratic checkpoints: the selectmen, Town Council, Inner Wetlands Commission, the Health Department and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“We think it would be a great fit (having four donkeys at the Nature Center),” Bill Flynn, the executive director of the Nature Center, said last Thursday as he gazed across the field next to the visitors center at 144 Oenoke Ridge.
“Instead of having the chicken coop, the hen and the goats, there would be one structure that would house all of it. One end would have both of the chickens, another storage, the goats and the donkeys,” Flynn said.
Bethany Zaro, a New Canaan resident, has offered the four therapy donkeys to the Nature Center. According to a letter from Flynn to the Board of Selectmen dated May 17, Zaro is moving and decided that her animals would be an asset to the Nature Center.
Constituted as town property, the Nature Center requires approval from several town bodies prior to building the structure. The proposed barn would be 54 feet long, 33 feet wide and 19 feet tall. It will count with running water and electricity but no bathrooms nor ventilation system.
“We’re essentially plopping one (structure) down and the field behind it would be for their grazing grounds,” Flynn said. “The educational and therapy aspect would be great for us.”
Selectman Nick Williams, at a a selectmen meeting Tuesday morning where Flynn presented, asked about the costs needed to build and maintain the proposed barn. Flynn replied that an undisclosed sum had already been pledged for the construction and upkeep of the structure.
Before the selectman approved Flynn’s proposal for the next step, Interim Town Planner Keisha Fink noted that two parcels on the Nature Center property would require merging so the barn wouldn’t be located on the two different parts.
The Selectmen unanimously approved the two different motions; the proposal to build the barn and the merging of the two parcels.
When First Selectman Kevin Moynihan asked when the barn would be constructed, Flynn said that they had yet to get approval from the Town Council, Inner Wetlands Commission, the Health Department and, lastly, Planning and Zoning.
“We’re shooting for a July Planning and Zoning hearing. After that we hope for construction to start in the summer and we may have to dip into the fall,” Flynn said.