Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

P&Z is the People's Venue on May 22nd (and now JUNE 12)
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

On Thursday evening May 22nd, the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will open its doors, in a special session, to hear public comment on the proposed unfortunate and unneeded development of the last and largest piece of open space left in Westport, the Partrick Wetlands (formerly FD Rich). Everyone is welcome.

It is here, in this venue, that concerned citizens will be able to speak their minds and offer their feelings and have them be relevant. It is here that members of the public will actually be experts in their own right. It is here that your ideas, your wants, your wishes, your concerns and your doubts about what is occurring will hold sway.

The Planning and Zoning regulations are clear in their intent to "promote the health and general welfare" of the citizens and to "preserve the residential character of Westport." They are to "lessen congestion in the streets," "prevent the overcrowding of land" and "avoid undue concentration of population" by imposing "the most restrictive obligation upon the use of and/or the construction of buildings and structures and upon the use of land."

The P&Z regulations were created to protect us!!!

Furthermore, the 1997 Town Plan written by P&Z which they must abide by adds, "protection of residential neighborhoods," "pursue the acquisition of open space; ensure that land is retained for future needs," and "that conservation of existing natural and built resources is valued more importantly than the promotion of new or expanded residential development." Pretty powerful and important stuff.

The Conservation Commission had hearings and their job was to protect the wetlands and animals, but not Westport residents. Why they didn't do a good job of either is not the point here. What is the point is that the impact on the human spirit and its affect were not considered. Sure anyone could have spoken at the hearings and said animal habitat is needed, but unless you had a Phd in biology your words held little weight. In P&Z saying you feel Westport is already overbuilt and there seems to be no sign it will slow is valid. Especially when you point out that P&Z is supposed to help curtail over-development and that 15 other Connecticut towns are already ahead of us in doing just that.

Speaking to the Water Pollution Control Authority about how the proposed sewer could fail and harm your wells didn't hold much weight either, because their job was to protect a water treatment plant, not public health. In P&Z saying you fear to walk down Partrick Road because you feel it is dangerous and more cars will make it worse, to you as a resident, is expert testimony.

Al DeMarco, Ralph Grasso and Steve Folb, otherwise known as ARS Partners and those associated with them are proposing to extend a Norwalk sewer over a mile into Westport to service their proposed clustered subdivision of 22 houses on 9 acres within the Partrick Wetlands. This proposal is contrary to the goals of Planning and Zoning, the Town Plan and the wishes of Westport residents. It will increase congestion, overcrowd the land, create undue population concentration, jeopardize public health and if approved would clearly not be consistent with the most restrictive use of the land.

If you feel Westport is being over-developed, then come out May 22nd and tell the commissioners just that. If you feel that driving around Westport has become impossible, then come out May 22nd and tell the commissioners just that. If you feel that not every piece of open space should be developed then come out May 22nd and tell the commissioners just that.

The seven member elected commission is made up of people just like you who know Westport and will respond to what you say. They are a fair bunch who know their responsibilities and you never know which issue, which statement or fact will be the one that turns their head. Numbers count in this game and the more people who show their support for the protection of our town and its resources will also turn heads.

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund sprouted from the shade of the trees of the wetland and has grown larger than the neighborhood that bore it. It now encompass members and support from all around Westport and even Norwalk for the roads don't stop at the borders and the loss of what can never be replaced is felt by all.

Join us, join your neighbors, join your town in a night to put an end to an injustice which if not stopped will have ramifications for years to come. Save the Partrick Wetlands, save the community around it, Save Westport from choking itself with over-development. Come out May 22nd. Let your voice be heard.

Matthew Mandell
Director, Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund Inc