Protect the Partrick Wetlands
The sewer has had Norwalk residents concerned about homeowners being able
to subdivide their properties, and about the proposed development of the
18-acre White Barn Theatre property, a plan that includes building 13-single
family homes. Westporters are worried about ARS Partners' housing
application and its possible environmental impact on the 55-acre former F.D.
Rich site, as well as the traffic it would bring.
Recently, opponents of the White Barn plan met at Norwalk's Cranbury Chapel
to discuss what should be done. Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp, who was present at
the meeting, said the city has no interest in promoting a Westport
developer. The Norwalk-Citizen News reported Knopp said the previous
administration approved extending the sewer line from Norwalk into Westport.
Knopp was quoted in the Norwalk Advocate as saying, "The city has no
interest in installing a sewer line that is a detriment to Norwalk and
serves development in Westport."
Matthew Mandell, spokesman for the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund,
which consistently argued against ARS Partners' plan at P&Z hearings, said
of Knopp, "He realizes that what happens in one town affects another."
"It's a regional view of development, which is to stop over-development."
Two months ago, the zoning board denied ARS Partners' application without
prejudice, claiming it wanted more environmental testing done. Once that is
completed, however, ARS can come back with another application.
"The impact of development crosses town borders. Cooperation between towns
is necessary to address these problems," said Mandell. ARS was going to pay
for the cost of the sewer, which would be part of Norwalk's sanitary sewer
During the summer, before the ARS housing proposal was denied, ARS attorney
Larry Weisman told the P&Z he was already getting phone calls from people
asking when they would be able to subdivide their properties.
The Norwalk sewer approval was dependent upon ARS' housing application
getting the okay from the P&Z.
Knopp will look into whether the Norwalk approval stands for any future
application from ARS the P&Z might approve.
Mandell said the sewer, if it is built, will allow for more development in
Norwalk, Wilton and Weston, "more than what would occur naturally."
ARS originally proposed public sewer hook-up to the Town of Westport.
However, the Westport Water Pollution Control Authority, favored a private
extension to reduce maintenance costs to the town.