Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Westport Wins Right to Appeal in Saugatuck Housing Case

The Town of Westport will get its day in court to argue against a Superior Court decision ordering the town to give a sewer extension to the developer of a multi-unit housing development. Image
The Saugatuck neighborhood where developer Felix Charney wants to build a 187-unit rental housing complex. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

First Selectman Jim Marpe announced today that the state’s Appellate Court has accepted the town’s request to appeal the decision forcing the Board of Selectmen, acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), to grant Summit Saugatuck LLC’s application for a sewer line extension.

The sewer line would facilitate Westport developer Felix Charney’s plan for a 187-unit, one- and two-bedroom rental complex at Hiawatha Lane in the Saugatuck section of town.

Charney’s plan is predicated on using the state’s affordable housing statute 8-30g, which allows developers to override local zoning regulations if a town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock deemed affordable, which Westport does not.

Summit’s plan for the eight acres it owns on Hiawatha Lane near the train station calls for 30 percent of the units being set aside for moderate income households having maximum rent and household income restrictions for 40 years.

Marpe filed the 10-page appeal on May 31, saying a legal issue was at stake in the wake of the Superior Court’s ruling May 7.

“We feel there is an important legal issue at stake here,” Marpe said the day of the filing. “The WPCA has never issued a ‘conditional permit,’ and we told Summit quite simply to reapply when the sewer repairs are done.”

Today, Marpe said he was pleased with the Appellate Court’s ruling.

“I am pleased that the Appellate Court has granted our request to hear this case,” Marpe said. ”We believe that the Superior Court decision ordering the WPCA to grant the sewer extension was wrong from a legal perspective.

“It is important to understand that the acceptance of the case by the Appellate Court does not indicate whether the town will ultimately win or lose, but at least the town will have a full opportunity to argue its position before that court,” he added.

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