Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Mayor Says Sewer Approval Invalid
Hour Staff Writer

NORWALK — Mayor Alex Knopp said Friday that Norwalk’s 2002 approval of a sewer line to serve a proposed housing development in Westport is not valid. The Westport Board of Selectmen sought to meet with Norwalk’s Water Pollution Control Authority to consider rescinding their approvals of a sewer line, which would run along Newtown Avenue in Norwalk to serve a 22-unit housing development proposed by ARS Partners for the Partrick Wetlands in Westport.

In a letter to pollution authority Chairman John Atkin on Friday, Knopp indicated that rescission by Norwalk is moot.

“It is my opinion that there is no existing valid permit from the Norwalk WPCA for ARS to extend and construct its proposed sewer line in Norwalk,” Knopp wrote.

Knopp said the WPCA approval granted in November 2002 was conditional on ARS obtaining Westport Planning & Zoning Commission approval for its application. The commission denied the application without prejudice in August 2003.

For that reason, Knopp said there is no permit to rescind. Corporation Counsel Louis Ciccarello concurs, Knopp said.

“My recommendation is intended to set the stage for a fair and orderly review by the WPCA of a new (permit) application, if one should be submitted, and that review should include consideration of the final report from the Cranbury Task Force,” Knopp said.

Knopp formed the task force last fall to review the impact of development in the Norwalk-Westport-Wilton border area.

In his letter to Atkin, Knopp said the task force is expected to meet soon to consider a draft final report. ARS representatives and neighbors may “comment on the report and the general sewer issue” at a public hearing before the final report is adopted, he said.

ARS Partners recently submitted a new application for the housing project to the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission. It remains on hold until the sewer issues are resolved, according to Planning and Zoning Department Director Katherine Barnard.

ARS Partners has pitched the project as an opportunity for Newtown Avenue residents in Norwalk to have sewer service extended into their neighborhood at no cost to property owners.

Many Westport and Norwalk residents living in the area, however, say the housing development and sewer line will worsen traffic congestion and lead to overdevelopment.

Fighting the ARS proposal on the Westport side has been the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund. Director Matthew Mandell welcomed Knopp’s conclusion.

“We are pleased that the mayor has made this decision. This has serious ramifications to ARS’ whole proposal,” Mandell said. “The sewer would cause nothing but sprawl and overdevelopment. The protection of both the Westport and Norwalk communities is paramount.”

Mandell said the preservation fund members look forward to commenting on the task force report.