Roundup: Hiawatha Lane, Staples Key, Twiddle …

The long legal battle to stop construction of 157 apartments on Hiawatha Lane may be over.

Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger issued a summary judgment ruling on Tuesday, in favor of developer Summit Saugatuck. The ruling may effectively end efforts by the plaintiffs — residents of the neighborhood off Saugatuck Avenue, near I-95 Exit 17 — to halt the project.

At issue were deed restrictions, limiting some properties in the area to single-family development.

At issue were deed restrictions of some properties in the area, limiting each lot to single-family development. At least 2 of those parcels are included in the Summit plans.

Owners of the other properties included in the deed restriction filed suit against Summit for breaching the restriction. They asked the court to prevent Summit from proceeding with the development, after its approved by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

Berger ruled that the easement did not reach the necessary legal requirements for it to be enforceable against the Summit properties. (Hat tip: Gloria Gouveia)

Artist’s rendering of one of the buildings at Summit Saugatuck’s Hiawatha Lane development.

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Congratulations to Sasha Maskoff. The talented senior — a pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall (and last December’s spectacular Candlelight Concert), and tutors young students — is the 2022 Staples Key winner.

The award — donated by Westport’s Kiwanis Club — is considered the most prestigious at the high school. The other finalists were Jasper Cahn and William Heisler.

The honor was announced by principal Stafford Thomas, at last night’s annual awards ceremony. Arts, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Language and other awards were presented too.

Thomas also presented 15 Principal’s Awards, for outstanding service and contributions, to Slade Anastasia, Nick Augeri, Caroline Coffey, Catherine Cunningham, Amy Ginzburg, Emorej Hunter, Matthew Jordan, Elle Laub, Madeline Michalowski, ishan Prasad, Noah Robison, Ally Schwartz, Max Udell and Ella Williams.

Two members of each class received Staples Awards for Character: seniors Chloe Nevas and Nick Prior, juniors Jacob Baker and Miriam Hurley, sophomores Gianna Amatuzzi and Caroline Hechter, and freshmen Dylan Phillips and Mieszko Solowinski.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, at last night’s awards ceremony. (Photo/David Pogue)

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Stop twiddling your thumbs. Get tickets for Twiddle!

The Vermont-based band — which enjoys a strong Fairfield County following — will perform at the Levitt Pavilion on July 29-30).

Doors open at 3 p.m. for the Friday event. Twiddle will do 2 sets; they’ll be joined by Mihali and The Nth Power.

Saturday begins with a special 1 p.m. VIP acoustic set. Doors open to the public at 3 p.m. Twiddle will do 2 more sets. Dwight & Nicole and Eggy are on the bill too.

Member tickets are available now. Public tickets – with early-bird pricing — begins at noon today. Click here for details.

A few tickets are still available for Tower of Power’s “Stars on Tour” Levitt appearance this Saturday (June 4, 7:30 p.m.).

Click here for more information, including purchases for all ticketed shows.

Twiddle(Photo/©Jay Blakesberg)

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Monday, June 20 (8 p.m.) is the new date for the Westport Library’s “Booked for the Evening” with Shonda Rhimes. It was postponed from earlier this week.

All seats have been sold for the in-person event. However, tickets are available to watch via Zoom. Click here for details.

Shonda Rhimes

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Jackie Ferrentino spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” star the other day, in a Long Lots tree:

(Photo/Jackie Ferrentino)

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And finally … Depeche Mode synthesizer player Andy Fletcher died last week in Britain. He was 60.

He co-founded the band, and helped develop its electronics-heavy sound. Click here for a full obituary.

7 responses to “Roundup: Hiawatha Lane, Staples Key, Twiddle …

  1. We just moved here from Brooklyn and there’s a two day Twiddle festival in Westport?! Whoever made this happen, thank you!!!

  2. Enjoy The Silence is a fitting song. He was definitely the most low key of the band members, by far. Will Alan Wilder rejoin the band? Will they ever tour again as we know them? Definitely A Black (Un)Celebration. And yes, the Twiddle booking was a major coup by the Levitt Board. Who needs to wait until next Friendsgiving? Kudos to a great organization.

  3. Anyone have a summary on why the deed restrictions are not valid / enforceable? If I had free time right now I’d read the entire ruling but alas I do not. It is very sad that there can be rules that most have to follow and then a big developer comes in and can “get away with murder.” Money and politics over what is truly right – right for that neighborhood, right for the neighbors, right for safety, right for the town, etc.

    • Bill Strittmatter

      I was curious about that myself. I understand why certain historical deed restrictions would violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution or otherwise be against public policy. And I would imagine some might argue the restriction against anything other than single family dwellings might be deemed the same on the same theory that says restrictive zoning laws are discriminatory but I hadn’t heard of that coming out of a court before. Maybe a real estate attorney reader of Dan’s would know.

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Never mind. Found the ruling. It’s not long and seems relatively clear on why the deed restrictions aren’t enforceable based on existing precedent.

      I’m not a lawyer but, in a nutshell, it seems if all the lots in the Hiawatha Lane development had been originally sold with the deed restriction, it may have been enforceable however less than half of the lots actually were sold with the restrictions.

      https://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/DocumentInquiry/DocumentInquiry.aspx?DocumentNo=22868546

  4. It ain’t over till its over, Hiawatha lane will live on, no thanks to the town of westport, or Danielle Dingbat Dobin from planning and zoning

    • Oh wait, how rude of me, I left out Ira Bloom (Westports attorney), no thanks to him either. Did anyone see him in action? It was like watching Mike Tyson (summits attorney) beating up a child (Ira Bloom), metaphorically speaking.

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