Sewer extension plan gets cold reception from Westport P&Z
WESTPORT — A 1,600- foot sewer extension that would allow for more dense development on Hiawatha Lane Extension is expected to receive a negative report from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
First Selectman Jim Marpe requested the commission’s input after the sewer extension was brought before the Water Pollution Control Authority.
Summit Saugatuck, the development company that proposed the sewer extension, is in the midst of suing the town’s WPCA. On July 27, Summit’s application for an extension of a private sewer from Davenport Avenue to Hiawatha Lane Extension and a conditional approval to connect the residential development was denied by the WPCA in a 2-1 vote, with Selectman Avi Kaner dissenting.
The appeal, filed in state Superior Court in Stamford, asked the court to sustain the appeal and approve the application. The trial is set to start April 26.
Summit Saugatuck planned to use the additional sewer hookup for a 155-unit affordable housing development at the end of the Hiawatha Lane Extension.
Tim Hollister, the land use attorney for Summit Saugatuck, said one reason he brought the most recent sewer extension request to support a conceptual 29-lot subdivision was because of Public Works Director Steve Edwards’ comments from Jan. 6, when he said, “The current development proposal is consistent with the effluent volumes that were projected in the Facility Plan and can be accommodated in the existing infrastructure.”
The main pipe that runs underneath the Saugatuck River to the sewer treatment plant and Pump Station 2 are in need of repairs and upgrades. Hollister’s application states town records indicate such repairs are scheduled for completion in July.
“The dig here is that there is a critical weakness with this pipe underneath the Saugatuck, and if that ruptures, the state has notified us a couple years back that we’re responsible,” Commissioner Chip Stephens said.
He said, “Steve Edwards, who is like so open to this right now and opening this door, said very plainly at a couple meetings he wouldn’t allow one more drop of sewage through that line until it was replaced.”
Planning and Zoning Chairwoman Cathy Walsh said the current application before them, if it receives sewer extension approval, coupled with the pending lawsuit for a 155-unit development, is “bait and switch.”