Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Sewer Approved 2-1
But No Ringing Endorsement
By Jennifer Connic
Printed in the Norwalk Hour

After a month of hearings and review of environmental reports, the Westport Board of Selectmen approved 2-1 a Newtown Turnpike sewer line for a proposed housing development on the former F.D. Rich property Wednesday night. Republican Selectman John Izzo was the lone vote against the proposal, and the board was acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority.

The sewer line would connect to the Norwalk system on Newtown Avenue and provide sewers to at least 50 city residences.

The sewers are needed for 22 houses proposed by ARS Partners for the former F.D. Rich property, which is located between Newtown Turnpike and Partrick Road. The next step for the proposal is the Planning and Zoning Commission. In response to neighbors’ concerns about the impact on local well water, the board made a recommendation to the commission to impose a water well-monitoring plan with the Westport-Weston Health District.

The board further recommended that the developer be responsible to pay for any public water hookups if the neighbors’ well water is impacted. First Selectwoman Diane Farrell said she has had concerns about ground water quality, but in reviewing the environmental reports she learned that sufficient provisions were proposed to be in place.

“This also seems to be the best thing for environmental protection,” she said. Farrell said, however, that her vote does not mean she fully supports the project. “This doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns or it’s a ringing endorsement,” she said.

Democratic Selectman Carl Leaman said he has to go along with the regulations, and the proposal meets the standards set forth in them. “We have to approve this whether we would like to or not,” he said. Meanwhile neighbors are shifting their focus to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Tonight’s decision, while difficult to comprehend, in no way should be considered an endorsement of the sewer or the development of the Partrick Wetlands,” said Matthew Mandell, Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund president, in a written statement. “All that was decided tonight was whether the proposed sewer extension would harm Westport’s sewer system and treatment plant.” Mandell, in the statement, said the Planning and Zoning Commission will have to take up the issues of water contamination, public health and loss of open space. “It is there where the citizens of Westport will finally find justice in an elected commission whose regulations are clear and broad,” he said in the statement.

Jennifer Connic covers Westport and Weston. She can be reached at 354-1043 or at