A 6-year battle to prevent the construction of 15 luxury homes on the White Barn property — once the site of Lucille Lortel’s theater — has ended.
The 15.4 acre site in Norwalk’s Cranbury neighborhood, on Westport’s border, has been sold to Able Construction. Norwalk Land Trust had tried to raise funds to purchase the site, and add it to a 5-acre easement it holds.
Westporters, including the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund, were part of a long-running drama involving the property — and Lortel’s stage (which, though actually in Norwalk, used a Westport address from 1947 to 2002).
Some hoped to save a legendary structure. For more than 50 summers, the White Barn Theater produced works by avant-garde playwrights like Sean O’Casey, Eugene Ionesco, Archibald MacLeish and Edard Albee.
The barn and an adjacent house had deteriorated extensively, and were eventually torn down.
Others were concerned about the environmental and aesthetic impacts of a new housing development on the wooded site.
As part of the Saugatuck River Watershed drainage basin, the property impacts the quality and quantity of drinking water for the area.
Norwalk Land Trust said that donors to the campaign will be reimbursed “with profound gratitude for supporting our initiative to protect this acreage with its abundant plant life, as a wildlife refuge and for the sheer scenic beauty.” (Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)