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An important message for Norwalk and Westport residents

Send signed letters to [email protected]

This message is about a developer’s application to build a housing project in Westport that would affect residents in both Norwalk and Westport. In order to succeed, he needs help from the City of Norwalk, so he has submitted to the Norwalk Conservation Commission an application, under the name “Summit Saugatuck LLC”, for work to be done across the town border in Norwalk. There is wide consensus among both Norwalkers and Westporters who are aware of the situation that approval of this application would help no one but the developer. If you agree, there is something you can do about it.

 

Background

For more than 15 years, the developer has been seeking permission in Westport to proceed with the project, which would be located in the Old Saugatuck section of Westport, contiguous to the Norwalk border, and would comprise 187 living units. After following the appropriate processes, Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission definitively denied its approval earlier this year. There was wide support from the community for this decision.

A key reason given for the denial by Westport P&Z was the lack of a second access road to the area. The developer is seeking to create that access road on Norden Place and has applied to the Norwalk Conservation Commission for approval. There are several reasons many believe, and I agree, that the application should be denied. Among them:

 

  • The application requests modification of a conservation easement, which was intended to exist in its current form in perpetuity. Amending the easement would not only violate that intent but would also create a precedent for modifying other conservation easements.
  • The establishment of this easement was agreed upon more than a decade ago through a negotiated settlement in which both Norwalk and Westport residents participated. Modifying the easement would violate the good faith of this agreement.
  • Approval of the application does not appear to present any advantage to Norwalk or its residents.
  • The developer’s application to construct housing in Old Saugatuck has been denied multiple times in Westport, most recently by the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission. It’s important to note that it is the developer, and not the Town of Westport, who is asking Norwalk to amend the easement. Norwalk has no reason to inconvenience its own residents to accommodate a developer who is seeking to construct housing in another town that has not even endorsed the project.
  • There are multiple concerns about the potential environmental effects of the proposed modifications in the Norden area.

 

 

What You Can Do

If this proposal concerns you, there are a number of ways you can take action to encourage the Norwalk Conservation Commission to reject the application:

  • Sign a petition here.
  • Send a letter to the Conservation Commission, addressed to Alexis Cherichetti, Senior Environmental Officer, at [email protected].
  • Speak at the Conservation Commission’s public hearing this Tuesday evening, December 10, at 7:00 pm, in the Norwalk City Hall Community Room. If you don’t want to speak, you can still attend to oppose the application, hold up signs, or sign in as an opponent.
  • Read more about the proposed Westport project here.

 

Thank you, especially those of you who are Norwalk or Westport residents, for your attention to this important matter for your communities.

If you have questions or would like to discuss this or any other issue further, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am always happy to hear from you.

State Representative Gail Lavielle

143rd General Assembly District

Wilton, Norwalk, Westport

11 comments

Pros & Cons December 10, 2019 at 7:47 am

True environmental issues always require due diligence BUT project description walks & talks like classic case of wealthy suburb NIMBY when it comes to large scale development that might – just might – bring some more affordable housing & diversity. Also not the 1st time this legislator has supported/promoted similar strategies. Careful about this Norwalkers.

Residente December 11, 2019 at 12:23 am

We should not modify a conservation easement for developers to build a road enabling constructing for their profit. This is a special area. Kick rocks “Summit Saugatuck LLC”.. we oppose your self interested plans.

Mitch Adis December 11, 2019 at 6:21 am

Westport needs Norwalk’s help to stop an affordable housing development? In Westport? LMAO.

I might entertain the request if Westport had it’s fair share of affordable housing. However, they aren’t even close.

Trent Dilfer December 11, 2019 at 9:36 am

Housing supply control to screw over lower income renters by a bureaucracy run by homeowners who are self interested for their own property values. But we can’t say this, so we’ll act righteous and say it’s for the Environment. Nice Norwalk/Westport.

Trent Dilfter December 11, 2019 at 9:37 am

Housing supply control to screw over lower income renters by a bureaucracy run by homeowners who are self interested for their own property values. But we can’t say this, so we’ll act righteous and say it’s for the Environment. Nice Norwalk/Westport.

Babar S December 11, 2019 at 1:17 pm

I’ve read a few articles about this and I think the housing complex should be built. I can see why some Westporters won’t like it but the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. Population growth around here won’t slow down.

Residente, plenty of self interest on both sides.

Lisa H December 11, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Whether or not Westport wants an apartment complex built is not a Norwalk issue. Norwalkers only need to be concerned that by allowing the modification of the conservation easement, it will open the door for future conservation easements to be modified for developers to profit. It was stated at the meeting that NFD wouldn’t use the gravel road to access the Westport complex if they needed to offer assistance or respond, they would most likely use Rt 136 to Hiawatha Lane. Why would we even consider allowing a modification to the conservation easement in Norwalk for the benefit of a developer to profit in another town? It’s too bad that more Norwalkers didn’t show up to the meeting. You have another chance to show up in January when the developer’s attorney offers a rebuttal to the public comments. Please don’t make this about whether or not Westport has enough affordable housing. This is about setting a precedence for future modifications of sacred conservation easements that are in place for the greater good of all Norwalkers.

Sarah Waters December 12, 2019 at 9:25 am

From what I have read, Westport officials made a phony requirement that the secondary access point for emergency was necessary, in an attempt to block the development. I think Norwalk should look at this in context and allow the easement. Stop playing the complaining game of how Norwalk carries all the burden. Share the development, share the affordable housing population. It doesn’t equal all terrible things. Great things come from those who work, struggle, live without luxury. Westport should directly share some social accountability & responsibility.

John ONeill December 12, 2019 at 3:03 pm

I said it once and I’ll say it again. Norwalk should hold off on the easement is Westport kicks in $ 30 Million per year to keep diversity out of their town. Not a dime less. That should pay for the cost of educating immigrants they won’t allow in their town.

Julie F December 12, 2019 at 6:11 pm

I would be more interested in what Gail Lavielle has to say on this issue had she not already demonstrated (through the school regionalization debate earlier this year) how much she really cares about Norwalk versus the other communities under her purview. Nice to see she’ll go to bat for Westport as well as for Wilton.

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