Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

ARS Settlement a "Win-Win" Situation

By Jen Connic
Printed in Westport Now Image
First Selectwoman Diane Farrell points to a map of the proposed settlement for the Partrick Wetlands. Jennifer Connic for
Town officials, ARS Partners representatives and Partrick Wetlands neighbors are calling a settlement over development of the 55-acre property in Westport’s northwest corner a win-win situation.

The group held a press conference today at Town Hall to officially unveil the details of the settlement, which still has not been signed.

First Selectwoman Diane Farrell displayed a map of the proposed plan for the site that shows 13 homes on the Newtown Turnpike side of the property and 22 acres on the Partrick Road side that will be donated to the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund.

She said the homes will a significant distance from any other existing homes in the area. The plan will also require a private sewer down Wilton Road, she said.

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said the private sewer will be designed to be exclusively used, so no one else would be able to use it, including the Westport Weston Famiily Y, whose officials are seeking to move to the nearby Y-owned Camp Mahackeno.

“It is intended to only serve this property, so it would preclude anyone else from using it,” he said.

The Board of Selectmen—which acts as the Water Pollution Control Authority—will act on the sewer during a meeting tonight at 7 p.m., and the Planning and Zoning Commission will review and act on the settlement and plans during its meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Farrell said the settlement represents the resolution of six lawsuits.

“Everyone involved spent untold hours on this,” she said. “It is a win-win situation.”

Most importantly, she said, the neighborhood will know the future of the property after 40 years of debate over a number of different plans for it.

Before the ARS original proposal—which called for 25 homes and a sewer line into Norwalk—there had been proposals by the Famous Artists School and F.D. Rich.

Ralph Grosso, one of the principals of ARS Partners, said he is happy everyone came to an understanding because it has been a long five years.

Matthew Mandell, Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund co-director, said the group is moving into phase two with the property by taking care of it.

The group will be looking for a land trust or nature conservation group to work with it to protect the property, he said.

Of the 55 acres on the property, 22 acres is going to the preservation fund, but more is being reserved for open space on the Newtown Turnpike side.

Larry Weisman, ARS attorney, said the original plan called for the homes to be built on nine acres, but the calculations of how much land is being used has not been done yet.

He said he expects it to be less land to be used, though.

Mandell said the negotiating team for the neighborhood included residents from Partrick Road, Old Hill, Crawford Road and Newtown Turnpike.

The homes are at least 350 feet from anyone else, he said, and the residents on the Newtown Turnpike side of the property are happy with the plan.