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Norwalk Land Trust in ‘wait and see’ mode

NORWALK, Conn. – A decision on the fate of a controversial plan to put a nature preserve in an exclusive Rowayton neighborhood has been postponed to gather more input from the community, the Norwalk Land Trust (NLT) announced Monday.

Land Trust leaders had said if the Pine Point Association voted against their plan to purchase 2 Nearwater Road from architect Bruce Beinfield, they would not go through with the contract, as the Land Trust did not want to be in a neighborhood where it was not wanted. On June 22, a “solid majority” of Pine Point members voted against the plan, Pine Point Association secretary Steve Lipson said in an email. NLT President Kathy Siever said the NLT board would decide its next steps in a private board meeting Monday.

But the decision is to wait.

NLT publicist Marven Moss said the board voted to postpone the vote to allow “a full review and discussion” in front of Sixth Taxing District Commissioners at a Wednesday meeting in the Rowayton Community Center.

Sixth Taxing District Commissioner Mike Barbis posted an announcement about the 8 p.m. meeting Saturday on Facebook . “We expect this to be a public forum for Rowaytonites to express their views on this property and its proximity to the Farm Creek Preserve. Please make every effort to attend if you want your voice to be heard,” Barbis wrote.

The Land Trust made the deal with Beinfield in the wake of public outcry over Beinfield’s attempt to get zoning approval of a significantly larger house than what currently exists on the 2 Nearwater Road spit of land in the middle of Farm Creek. The peninsula was once a trolley line to Bayley Beach. NLT says it will take down the existing house and make it a bird sanctuary. Pine Point members object to the idea of allowing the public in, and have expressed concerns about liability.

The Land Trust has not slacked off in its fundraising drive since the Pine Point vote. On June 30, NLT treasurer Midge Kennedy reminded visitors to the Farm Creek Facebook page that it was “Trolley Tuesday.” The idea was to donate  every Tuesday in July to save the old trolley line.

The statement from Moss said the NLT board will reconvene at an undetermined date later this month “to resolve whether to proceed with the acquisition.”

NLT would like to add 2 Nearwater Road to its existing 16 acres of undeveloped property on the north side of Farm Creek, he said. “The land trust is a nonprofit committed to preserving open space to enhance the quality of life in the community,” he wrote.

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