Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Whose the Victim? It's Not ARS

To the Editor:

When Attorney Larry Weisman, on behalf of his clients, ARS Partners, said "we are the victim of these poor regulations," to the P&Z commission last week, we could not believe our ears. We all found it very hard for him to claim that status while he and his clients abuse and stretch those same zoning regulations to cram 22 houses within 9 acres.

Yes, the regulations are poorly written and that is exactly why the Partrick Wetlands, the community around it and all of Westport are in jeopardy. Mr. Weisman is good with a twist of the word, but his statement flies in the face of reality and should be dismissed as complete fiction.

Al Demarco, Ralph Grasso and Steve Folb, the principals of ARS, bought this distressed and contaminated piece of land way below market value. Instead of proposing something reasonable and in character with the neighborhood and walking away with a nice profit, they instead want to over-build, over-crowd and over-develop this land and make a financial killing. And they are the victims?

We know Mr. Weisman has only disdain for the neighbors, mocking their 2100-signature petition in opposition to this development, but what of the commission and its commissioners? Instead of presenting them with the tome of deed restrictions to be imposed he essentially said, here's a boiler plate book of code covenant restrictions, read it yourselves, I don't have the time to write it up.

Mr. Weisman has had over a year to write the restrictions. The time has come to let everyone see how ridiculous this development is. If residents of these dense pack clusters with 10 foot backyards can't live and enjoy their houses and environs like every other resident in Westport, it proves they should not be built.

ARS has become very adept at dodging important questions and even whole commission decisions if need be. Test borings to determine the high water marks under each house was to have been completed during the spring. They haven't even started and now its summer. Is ARS a victim of the weather now as well?

These developers and their attorney are entitled to and owed nothing by this town. They are a business venture seeking what is most importantly called a "Special Permit" to build. They should be coming with hat in hand and politely requesting this of the town and the neighbors, instead of demanding and bullying as they have done since this started.

Commission after agency after town official have bent over backwards to accommodate ARS or bowed to Mr. Weisman's threats of litigation. The time has come for the independent and elected P&Z Commission to see this proposal as the charade that it is and put an end to it. Only then will the true victims of this application be protected: the people of Westport.

Matthew Mandell
Director, Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund Inc.