As if Westport’s Martha Stewart doesn’t have enough problems, today she got one more town employees picked up the rocks she and her neighbors had placed in front of their homes to discourage parking and to protect their roadside grassy areas.
Westport public works employees today removed rocks along Turkey Hill Road South, including some in front of Martha Stewart’s house. Left photo was taken July 8, the one on the right today. Alan Beasley photo/WestportNow.com photo
“I got orders from my boss to pick them up and that’s what I did,” said Scott Sullivan, superintendent of the Highway Division in the Department of Public Works.
Sullivan, whose boss, Public Works Director Stephen Edwards is on vacation, said the town acted after publication of a letter July 21 in the Westport News complaining that the rocks along Turkey Hill Road South were a danger to cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and snowplows.
A neighbor tipped off Stewart—who was not at home at the time—to what was happening and she called the town attorney’s office to complain, according to a Town Hall source. Her stones had reportedly been imported from her property in Bedford, N.Y.
Sullivan said Stewart’s gardener then came out and asked town employees to return the rocks to Stewart’s property and they did.
“We unloaded them on the property as he asked,” the town official said.
Stewart was seen driving into her driveway in mid-afternoon hours after the rocks had been removed.
Neighbors said several town dump trucks showed up on the quiet, tree-lined street this morning and began removing the rocks and boulders from both sides of the roadway some of them “the size of a fireplace,” according to one resident.
“It’s a liability for the town,” Sullivan said.
There was no exact estimate how many rocks were picked up or how many homes were involved, but the town official said they amounted to about three small truck loads.
“We put down some topsoil and carefully seeded where we removed the rocks,” he said.
Sullivan said the town normally surveys all town roads in the fall looking for rocks and boulders along the side that might impede snowplows.
He acknowledged, however, that the mid-summer removal was unusual. But he said Turkey Hill South residents should not feel they are being singled out as all such problem rocks and boulders will be eventually removed from town roadways.
Candy Goldstein, who lives across the street from Stewart and who did not have any rocks in front of her house, said neighbors who gathered outside to watch the removal operation were not happy with the town’s action.
“I hope the town carefully assesses the cost of doing this from a taxpayer’s perspective,” she said. “I think the whole thing is ridiculous.”
Southport resident Alan M. Beasley, whose letter to the editor prompted the rock removal operation, was surprised to hear that his complaint resulted in town action today.
“Oh my goodness,” he said when contacted by WestportNow. “I filed a similar complaint with the Town of Fairfield and never heard from them.”
Beasley, 80, a retired industrial engineer, said he did not know the rocks in a photo he took along Turkey Hill Road South and included in his letter to the editor were outside Stewart’s house.
“Uh-oh, I guess my life is in danger now,” he quipped.