Friday, April 12, 2024

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ZBA Considering Daybreak Settlement

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The Westport Zoning Board of Appeals is getting ready to vote on a settlement over various zoning issues with Daybreak Nurseries, but neighbors are concerned about the language of the agreement.

The board held a hearing last week and most likely will vote on the matter during its worksession on April 11, said Planning and Zoning Director Larry Bradley.

Town officials had taken court action prompted by neighbor complaints over violations to zoning approvals more than two years ago, and the board considered an earlier settlement in 2004. After the board placed a number of conditions on that settlement approval, the case went back to court.

The new settlement requires a 10-foot, wooden fence will be constructed along the rear and sides of the property, according to the settlement agreement, which is where the neighbors are located.

Bradley said there will also be a 15-foot buffer along the property lines closest to the neighbors, and a log splitter will be moved to an area surrounded by a wooden fence.

The agreement also states nursery officials should use their “best efforts to limit stockpiled materials to a height of eight feet.”

Bradley said the storage bins near the property line now will need to be moved out of the buffer.

Also, he said, the wood chipper can only be used four times per year and between 1-4 p.m.

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said the case was scheduled for trial when Judge John Downey stepped in for settlement negotiations.

“(Downey) was an active participant and he even went out to the site,” he said. “This is a good settlement considering it is limited by the terms of the 1983 variance.”

Bloom said there were a number of environmental issues raised by neighbors that could not be considered under the case because it was strictly about zoning violations.

Neighbors, however, are concerned about the settlement and its language.

Pam Kopack, who lives on Daybreak Lane, said wording such as “best efforts” do not please her.

“It says that the wood chipper can be used four times per year,” she said. “What does that mean, though? Does that mean they can run it straight for a week?”

The stipulations, she said, need to be quantifiable otherwise the neighbors will continue to have concerns.

“The settlement is unclear and there is no enforceability,” she said.

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