BREAKING NEWS: Judge Dismisses Application For Wilton Road Housing Complex

The Town of Westport has won a major land-use victory.

The Wilton Road/North Kings Highway intersection will not be the site of an enormous new housing complex.

Judge Marshall Berger of Hartford District Superior Court has dismissed an appeal by Garden Homes of a unanimous decision by the Planning & Zoning Commission. In February 2016, the board denied an application by the Stamford-based developer to build a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex on one of the busiest, most environmentally sensitive corners of Westport.

The judge’s decision noted grave concerns about safety, and damage to wetlands adjacent to the 1.16-acre parcel.

122 Wilton Road — site of Garden Homes’ proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building — sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

Garden Homes sought approval using an 8-30g application. That Connecticut statute allows developers to override local zoning regulations if less than 10% of a town’s housing stock is “affordable” (according to state formulas).

However, yesterday Judge Berger noted that fire and environmental concerns referenced as substantial public interests clearly outweighed the need for affordable housing.

In addition, the judge criticized Garden Homes’ tactic of rushing their application through the approval process, refusing to grant the P&Z and other town officials sufficient time. The developer also failed to provide alternate plans or additional information.

For full details on the case, click here.

The Taylortown Salt Marsh, next to the proposed apartment complex on Wilton Road.

 

21 responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Judge Dismisses Application For Wilton Road Housing Complex

  1. Michael Calise

    Congratulations to our hard working P & Z who worked tirelessly on this and especially commissioners Chip Stephens and Al Gratrix who appeared in the case

  2. John F. Suggs

    VINDICATED! Way to go P&Z and all those who got behind you.

  3. Bob Fatherley

    Hooray for a judge of sound mind and heart who “got the picture” of the
    nonsense of this intended building site. THANK YOU THANK YOU.
    Julie Fatherley

  4. Sharon Horowitz

    Thank you! Thank you! To the P&Z and all those who worked tirelessly to protect our town!! Very grateful.

  5. Cathy Walsh, Chair P&Z Commission

    I’d like to thank all the Commission Members, Former Fire Chief Andy Kingsbury, David Brandt of Aspetuck Land trust , all of the 693 Westport residents who signed the petition, and the scores of Westport residents who participated in the hearings. I’d also like to note the persistence and pointed questioning of Commissioner Alan Hodge during all the hearings.
    Ira Bloom and Pete Gelderman our town attorney’s deserve our thanks also. We all pulled together for the health safety and welfare of all the citizens and the environment of Westport. Friday was a good day for all of us.

  6. Linda Franco Doyle

    Absolutely wonderful news!!!

  7. Carol Buffinton

    This is awesome news. Congratulations all!

  8. Congratulations P&Z and all who stood up for this farce of an 8-30g application. Hopefully, developers will get the message that when they try to weaponize or use 8-30g for an application in a totally inappropriate location…they will get “schooled!” The Judge exercised the correct judgment and applied common sense to a not so commonsensical application.

  9. Additionally….a big thanks to Westport town attorney Ira Bloom and neighbor Joe McCartin for intervening and his attorney Michael Bologna who I think is a Rock Star!

  10. Well done, team Westport! You were a class act on this and our town is so much better for it. Thank you!

  11. Carolanne Curry

    This such a just decision. And it addresses the abuse that is at the heart of the State’s law with regard affordable housing.
    I hope Summit Saugatuck LLC whose development pattern for affordable housing in Westport/Saugatuck for the past fifteen years is present a plan to wreck and dis-appear the whole community of Old Saugatuck…..reads this decision from Judge Berger

  12. This Fairfield resident is pleased to learn this. What I don’t understand is the rule that in order for affordable housing to count it had to have been built after 1990. There are a considerable number of affordable apartments built before that date, such as Canal Park. Why are they excluded?

  13. I see the astounding overwhelming agreement that this particular project should not go forward. I know nothing of the excuses or reasons used to prevent it from going forward. However, Westport has been consistently blocking every proposal. While agreeing with Bobbie Herman that I do not understand why pre-1990 units do not count, I do understand that Westport is below 10%. I therefore find the judge irresponsible. If Westport is not going to allow some low income housing in town somewhere, then the judge needs to have the courage to say “ANYWHERE is good”.

    • David – respectfully, you are woefully ill-informed, about the 8-30g statute and Westport’s stock of affordable housing

    • David — Garden Homes picked the worst possible location for this project. It’s in a heavily-traveled location with the potential for traffic accidents. It’s in close proximity to wetlands. Garden has been known to select locations that will raise community objections in order to “blackmail” the town into purchasing the site at a much higher price, They are currently in “discussions” with Fairfield where they want to built a high-density “affordable housing” project in a residential single-family neighborhood. The affordable units are a small percentage of a the total apartments. Also, by building such projects, the number of units are added to the total of units in town, so the affordable units will never reach the 10% requirement.

  14. “Anywhere is good”, David????
    Do you smoke funny stuff or are you simply unaware of the enormous impact of a 48 unit housing complex?

  15. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    This is a good and just decision. The area is environmentally sensitive and as the committee expressed would not be safe for residents and could do irreparable harm to the ecology of the area. We, as citizens of this land need to take notice and inform ourselves. These are real issues that face residents in all parts of our country. Unless we are proactive to protect them they will be gone forever and the damage will affect everyone.

  16. Adrian Little

    Thanks also to the 600 plus residents who took the time to sign our online petition – their voices were heard loudly and clearly.

  17. Don L. Bergmann

    I only just learned of this terrific outcome. My compliments go to all involved, but especially to our Town Attorney Ira Bloom and his team. To win in an 8-30g matter can be quite difficult. Ira Bloom has now prevailed for his clients at least twice, possibly more. I will read the opinion to learn of possible lessons for the future to be used against developers such as Garden Homes who “push the envelope”
    Don Bergmann

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