NORWALK, Conn. – There will be no Norwalk Land Trust bird sanctuary on the old trolley line in Rowayton, the Norwalk Land Trust said in a statement.
The Land Trust voted to terminate its contract with architect Bruce Beinfield to acquire the half-acre property at 2 Nearwater Road on the Farm Creek peninsula in Rowayton as a public bird and nature sanctuary. John Moeling has been elected Land Trust president, filling the unexpired term of Kathy Siever, who resigned recently in the midst of the Farm Creek controversy.
Both developments emerged from a meeting of the board of directors Tuesday night at the historic stone barn on the Farm Creek Preserve. Moeling said in the statement that the decision to rescind the contract to acquire the property was made “after it became clear the contract was unenforceable.”
The vote means the Land Trust will seek to recoup is $100,000 down payment to Beinfield, the property owner, and also return dedicated contributions made by the public to fund the acquisition of the property.
“During the past three weeks, as the campaign to keep the property as open space continued, the Land Trust received threats of law suits and warnings of punitive action if we refused to agree to a cancellation of the contract,” Moeling said in the statement.
The statement by Moeling said the Land Trust will continue to support a community initiative to preserve and improve the Farm Creek estuary, adding, “We are certainly grateful to the many volunteers who have supported the Farm Creek Preserve in the past years,” noting that included “the large majority of Pine Point residents.”
Moeling, 71, joined the Land Trust board in 2009 and has been active in an education initiative that has given nearly 3,000 Norwalk fourth-graders hands-on exposure to the natural sciences at the Farm Creek Preserve, the statement said. He retired as president of Scientific American, Inc., the New York magazine publisher, and lives in South Norwalk with his wife Barbara. His term will expire at the Land Trust’s annual meeting in January.
Moeling said that the Land Trust has already begun contacting donors and informing them of the situation. As for anyone who hasn’t heard from the Land Trust, “They soon will,” he said.