Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Partrick Hearings Continue June 12
(22 houses on 9 acres is the issue)
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

On Thursday June 12th at 7:30 pm, the Planning and Zoning Commission will continue to hear public opinion on the proposed clustered development of the Partrick Wetlands. Everyone who is concerned about over-development of Westport and the impact on our town should please come, listen and speak.

At the May 22nd hearing the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund presented a petition with over 2100 signatures asking for a denial of the development. They then offered a multi-layered presentation detailing the specific reasons the commission should deny the proposal to build clustered housing on this last and largest piece of open space. The presentation lasted until 11 pm at which time the chairman extended the hearing to June 12th to allow the many residents who filled the auditorium their opportunity to voice their opinion.

The crux of the issue is 22 houses on 9 acres. While the total property is 56 acres in size, 47 of these are wetlands or inaccessible upland and cannot be developed. ARS claims that they are being magnanimous in only building on a small percentage of the land. Obviously this could not be further from the truth. If they had 18 acres to build on they probably would have proposed 44 houses. Their only constraint is the physical land itself. In ARS' zeal to more than just maximize their profit they are over-crowding the available land and showing their disregard for the environment, the local neighbors and even the community they're proposing to create.
18 of the 22 houses sit directly on the wetlands setback. Most of the houses will only have a 10 foot back yard providing none of these families with any immediate usable open space to enjoy. Instead of creating a new community that would look, feel and be in character with Westport and the local neighborhood, they are creating a dense pack of 4200 square foot clustered houses some only 26 feet apart.

ARS plans call for a private sewer extension from Norwalk to service this development. Unless P&Z accepts jurisdiction over this and adhere's to the current Town Plan, where no sewer is proposed, the sewer will extend far beyond this property and change the face of Northwestern Westport and its neighboring towns. If allowed to move forward the sewer extension will bring with it sprawl, densification, traffic congestion and an increased tax burden.

The issue here is not about property rights, it is about the abuse of a loop hole ridden zoning regulation. A regulation that is supposed to preserve the environment and our communities, but instead is falling prey to those who would seek to profit at the expense of everyone else.

There are many technical reasons why this proposal fails to meet P&Z guidelines, and these were presented in detail at the May 22nd hearing. However, it is the impact to our town and the environment which is really at the heart of the matter. I urge all of you, the concerned residents of Westport, who feel that our town is already being over-developed to come out on Thursday June 12th and make your presence known.

Matthew Mandell
Director, Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund
38 Partrick Road