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Norwalk Land Trust terminates contract for Rowayton nature preserve expansion; elects new president

John Moeling
Norwalk Land Trust President John Moeling. (Contributed photo.)

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.

Comments

3 responses to “Norwalk Land Trust terminates contract for Rowayton nature preserve expansion; elects new president”

  1. Priscilla Feral

    Most disappointing, disconcerting news. I had hoped the Norwalk Land Trust could go to the wall again to restrain development on this small, fragile, water-surrounded property. A victor for a nature preserve could mean so much to birds and other wildlife, who are crowded to the edges in such a heavily human populated, over-developed community. The Farm Creek Preserve is an asset; its expansion and protection of property Bruce Beinfield was able to purchase, would have helped birds and wildlife survive. How tragic to have hope lost.

  2. TLaw

    What happens to the property now?

  3. Kyle

    I was hoping that they would follow through and stick to their principles in the preservation of the Creek. This definitely is a huge disappointment for many of the town residents. I would like to see more progressive steps taken from here on out to save this peninsula! Hopefully we can step up and guard that part of town!!

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