Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Fear of Litigation Should Not Dictate Policy

To the Editor:

Diane Farrell’s call for Westport and Norwalk to jointly meet to rescind the prior approvals for the ARS sewer extension is significant and a positive development. It would protect both communities from the sprawl the sewer would bring and would stop the Partrick Wetlands from being over-developed. But it must be acted upon.

Either municipality could have rescinded or denied this sewer alone. The record is clear that questionable information and manipulated conditions were the basis for the earlier approvals. Yet each town was looking to the other to make the first move to correct this complicated situation. The underlying problem was fear. Fear that doing the right thing for everyone would bring a law suit from the developer who proposed the sewer.

Fear of litigation should not and must not dictate policy. Threats from developers must be met with steadfast resolve, especially when such threats are based on specious arguments. Town attorneys must zealously defend their Towns and the citizens they represent and not be cowed by every threat. It is rare that Towns lose such suits. Allowing an unneeded and unwanted sewer extension and development to progress because of a hypothetical suit does not serve the community to whom they owe their allegiance.

If it does take two municipalities to work in concert to end this nightmare, then fine. Westport has made the first call, now Norwalk must answer. A mile long sewer extension solely to allow a developer to build 22 houses on 9 acres and in doing so destroy a wetlands and change the character of a region forever, must not occur.

Matthew Mandell
Director Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund

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