Norwalk Land Trust nature preserve rejected by Pine Point Association

Update, correction, 3:22 p.m., replacement for cottage would be smaller; PPA statement added.

NORWALK, Conn. – A plan to create a nature preserve on an “historic” piece of Rowayton property was voted down Sunday by members of the Pine Point Association.

The vote on the Norwalk Land Trust’s plan to buy 2 Nearwater Road from architect Bruce Beinfield failed by a wide margin, according to an email sent by Pine Point Association secretary Steve Lipson: 

“By solid majorities, both votes were against the Norwalk Land Trust proposal for a bird sanctuary and in favor of maintaining 2 Nearwater Road as a private residential property.

“On question 1, “Do you oppose the use of the property at 2 Nearwater Road as a public bird sanctuary that would be owned and maintained by the Norwalk Land Trust?” the votes were:

“39 yes, I oppose

“19 no, I do not oppose

“2 non votes

“On question 2, “Do you support use of this property as a public bird sanctuary providing that the Board can negotiate with the Norwalk Land Trust conditions that the Board deems prudent to protect the interests of the Association?” the votes were:

“21 yes, I support this proposed use providing the Board can negotiate conditions

“38 no, I do not support this proposed use even with such conditions

“1 non vote

“In addition there were 4 votes cast that were ruled ineligible because Association dues had not been paid in full. These votes were not counted.

“With 64 votes out of 78 total possible this means 82 percent of the Association cast votes. The Board thanks everyone for participating in this advisory vote. The Norwalk Land Trust and other lawyers representing various groups in regards to this proposal will be informed of the vote results.”

NLT President Kathy Siever said prior to the vote that the land trust would not go ahead with the purchase of the property if the neighbors did not want a nature preserve in their midst.

Siever said the land trust made the deal to buy the property in response to a public outcry denouncing Beinfield’s plan to replace the cottage that has been on the peninsula for decades with a much larger structure. Since signing the contract with the land trust, Beinfield informed the Pine Point neighbors that he had formulated a new plan, which would include a 3,500 square foot house closer to the road and another structure on the peninsula, where the cottage is now. That structure would be 25 percent smaller than the cottage.

The land trust was said to have raised $350,000 in its pursuit of the $1 million needed by Oct. 1 to purchase the property under the contract with Beinfield.

On Monday afternoon the Pine Point Association board of directors released the following statement:

“The majority of the Pine Point Association has expressed its preference that the property at 2 Nearwater Road be retained as a private residence. The vote is an advisory vote only, taken according to the requirements in the bylaws of the association.  While the vote reflects the preference of the majority of the association, it is not binding on the Norwalk Land Trust or the current owner of 2 Nearwater Road, Bruce Beinfield.

“Some association members who voted to keep the property private were concerned that adding public space within a private association could have legal ramifications due to certain deed restrictions on the land in the association. Association members were also aware of new preliminary plans for construction at 2 Nearwater that were far less intrusive than the original plans.”


6 responses to “Norwalk Land Trust nature preserve rejected by Pine Point Association”

  1. Lisa Thomson

    So… Mr. Beinfield signs a contract with the Land Trust and then starts negotiating with the Pine Point Association after the fact? This whole issue gives new meaning to the phrase “double dealing.” But in a city that favors developers over taxpayers…it’s not surprising. To highlight the ridiculousness of all of this 2 Nearwater-trolley line business and the city of Norwalk further…

    The city “owns” parts of land that effectively butt up against where the old trolley ran along the west side of Highland Avenue. This significantly restricts what “those” residents can do to “their” properties due to setbacks. However, Norwalk P&Z has NO problem with a large house being built in the middle of Farm Creek, effectively ON the trolley line in thmiddle of the water.

    Here’s something to think about. If Members of Pine Point can have a vote, perhaps it is time that the larger 6TD community have a referendum. Neither are binding. But, it’s a sad day, when people would rather ante up in legal fees than preserve open space along the water.

  2. Suzanne

    These people can’t help themselves. To the Pine Point Association and Bruce Beinfield, my mother would say, “You have just cut off your nose to spite your face.”

  3. M. Murray’s

    My question remains as to whether the city gets more tax revenue with a house on the property or in a land trust

  4. Norewalk Lifer

    Norwalk is slowly losing it’s sanctuaries, many thanks to the Pine point Association for standing their ground.

    You can always print money, but you can’t print clean water and wildlife.

    Norwalk Lifer

  5. Bad News

    Strange news because most Norwalkers are not welcome there – as the Pine Point people have so pleasantly and repeatedly pointed out. Why is this even news?

  6. Dawn

    and what about the non-refundable deposit that the land and trust group put down.
    wasn’t it $100,000
    just money down the drain.
    i should have such the luxury.

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