Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Flushing out the Issues
Unanswered questions about the sewer and the 8-24 Request

To the Editor:

You recently published in the legal notices that there will be an 8-24 review at the Planning and Zoning Commission hearings on June 12th at 7:30 at Town Hall. Many of your readers will ask: “What this is?” An 8-24 hearing is a request by First Selectman Diane Farrell for the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider whether or not Al DiMarco, Ralph Grasso and Steve Folb should be allowed dig up and use Westport Town Roads and to be granted permanent easements to lay their private sewer line to Norwalk, for their proposed 22 house clustered development on the Partrick Wetlands. After the Commission makes their determination the Selectmen will vote on it. On almost all occasions, the Selectman accept the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation.

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund submitted a petition with over 2100 signatures from Westport residents seeking a denial to all aspects of this proposed development. The proposed project cannot be constructed without this private sewer system running through publicly funded Westport roads. Ms. Farrell and Planning and Zoning Commission already know that the residents of this town are not in favor of it.

Why should the Town allow a private developer to disrupt and use our roads and property to help build a proposed sewer extension and development that no one wants. This is of great concern to the entire town, especially when all the facts about potential environmental and health risks have not fully been investigated.

Ms. Farrell and the board of Selectmen acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority were unable to deny the application for the sewer because the Town Attorney Ira Bloom said that they only had jurisdiction if the waste went to the Westport Waste Treatment Facility. Since the waste will go to Norwalk, no Town Official has yet determined whether there should be any sewer allowed near this property in the first place. The 1997 Town Plan of Conservation and Development DOES NOT have any plan for sewer in the Northwest area of Westport. It is clearly stated in the “The Town of Westport Zoning Regulations” that the proposed use must “be in conformance with the Town Plan of Development” This proposed sewer extension to Norwalk IS NOT. Therefore it is clear, that the Planning and Zoning Commission is obligated to deny this request.

Some of the issues not addressed in the WPCA review were: Is the town liable for this sewer after the developers are gone? What are the impacts to the environment from the installation of such a complex piece of infrastructure? What effects on health will come from blasting and excavation in the wetlands where toxic substances have been found? Who will own what parts of this sewer in the years to come? Who will maintain these various parts? What will happen when it fails and spills into the wetlands and aquifer recharge area? Where will it extend to in the future and who will have a say in that process? Will bordering communities exploit its presence for economic gain and cause even more densification, delivering more traffic onto Westport’s already overcrowded collector and local roads?

The Planning and Zoning Commission has a long term, high impact decision before them. The residents of Westport have made it clear they don’t want this development. All town residents should be at this hearing on Thursday June 12th at 7:30 to let their voices be heard.

The time has come for the Town to listen to its residents and say no this proposal.

Sean Timmins

87 Partrick Road