A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single sewer application.
Last night marked the first step on a lengthy path toward approval or denial of a proposed 186-unit housing development that could irrevocably alter the look, feel and life of the entire Saugatuck neighborhood.
The battle began with a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on Summit Saugatuck’s proposal to extend the sewer line from Davenport Avenue 1600 feet west, to a 5.3-acre parcel on Hiawatha Lane Extension. That’s where the developers — led by Westporter Felix Charney, a former P&Z member — hope to build their project.
The P&Z will send a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen — acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority — to either approve or reject the extension.
Opposition to the sewer extension was vehement.
Gloria Gouveia of Land Use Consultants and area resident Carolanne Curry — who founded Save Old Saugatuck to fight the development — delivered a 1-2 punch. They discussed defects in Summit’s application, inaccuracies in its presentation, and the egregious effects on the portion of town west of the Saugatuck River if the extension is approved.
The 3-hour hearing also included testimony from Department of Public Works director Steve Edwards, and representatives of Westport’s engineering consultants Weston & Simpson. They noted that the impact of the proposal would usurp all future development west of the river, the planned sewer connection of hundreds of homes — and overburden Pump Station #2, which directs all sewage from the west side of town to the treatment plant.
The P&Z took no action in a work session following public input. But members concurred on a sense of the meeting resolution to issue a negative finding to the selectmen.