NORWALK, Conn. – There’s no rush to dispose of 127 Fillow St., Common Council members said this week.
The property was acquired by Norwalk as part of the settlement of the lawsuit with the Al Madany Islamic Center. At the time, one year ago, the legal department suggested that it could be sold, but members of the Land Use and Building Management Committee said it might be better to hold on to it for a while.
Al Madany had planned to build a mosque at 127 Fillow. Neighbors protesting this plan during many public hearings said the little red house on the property was a quaint landmark.
The legal department suggests that the property could be rezoned as Double A and separated into two lots, Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo said at Wednesday’s committee meeting.
The student population is growing and Norwalk needs to build new schools, Councilman Mike DePalma (D-District D) said. Having that property to swap for city parkland might be a great thing 10 years from now, he said.
If land is deeded as parkland it cannot be used for another purpose unless equal land is added to the city’s open space elsewhere.
“We could look back and say, ‘OK, we grew our grand list by two lots, which was great,’ but having that land could be invaluable,’” DePalma said.
Lo said he had sent a memo to Norwalk’s department heads asking if they had a use for the property in mind, or if there were restrictions on how it could be used. He got back two replies, from the Finance Department and from the tax assessor. No one had ideas of how it could be used, he said.
Its 1.5 acres, he said.
Committee Chairman Tom Livingston (D-District E) said he had spoken to the West Norwalk Association and the only concern expressed was about the building’s historic nature.
He agreed that, with the need for new schools, it would be good to hold onto. So did other committee members.
No action was taken.