Town Sued for Requiring Removal of Bridge in Mead Point

Greenwich’s Planning & Zoning commission is being sued by Mead Point LLC. The plaintiff is appealing the commission’s April decision to approve an application for a single family home over 150,000 cubic feet in volume, swimming pool and cabana in Mead Point. One of the conditions of approval was that the applicant remove a bridge connecting a causeway to their land. They said the bridge was unauthorized.

The property is at the end of Indian Field Road at the tip of a peninsula in Long Island Sound.

During public hearings residents expressed concerns about disturbing the ecology of the pristine site. At a December 2021 P&Z hearing, Laura Bonaventura said, “It is what Greenwich Point would be had it been left undisturbed.”

Along the way the applicant agreed to modifications to protect the environment.

In March, an issue surfaced concerning public access to the tidal pond enclosed by the causeway and bridge.

Initially Connecticut Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) submitted a “no-comment email” regarding the proposed development, but in late March, after questions about use of the tidal pond and investigation into the development history of the site, DEEP’s Brian Thompson, director of the Land & Water Resources Division, wrote a letter saying the tidal pond was part of the public trust.

LEFT: Aerial photograph taken in 1951 depicts the conditions prior to the construction authorized in State Certificate 1954. RIGHT: Aerial photograph in 1965 above shows the site conditions after dredging and filling. Image part of March 29 letter from DEEP to P&Z.

Mr. Thompson explained that while there was no record of a causeway being authorized, in 2013 there was permission to retain riprap and for work to and around the bridge at the causeway.

“Even if the causeway had been authorized, such authorization would likely not have created a new privately-owned tidal waterbody, particularly since the vast majority of it was not created by excavating private land.”

Therefore, Thompson said the tidal pond was part of Long Island Sound, within the state’s public trust area, and should remain accessible to the public.

In his letter Thompson said the property owner should work with the Town to ensure continued access to the public trust waters enclosed by the causeway.

Also he wrote, “Appropriate signage may be required to ensure that the areas of private land and waters are firmly identified to define the limits of public areas.”

At their April 26 meeting the commission talked about public access to the tidal pond.

They said the bridge was unauthorized and a deterrent to the public. Commissioner Arnold Welles suggested the bridge be removed as one of the conditions of approval, and the other commissioners agreed. The vote was unanimous to approve the application with the condition the bridge be removed, with Peter Levy, Arnold Welles, Dennis Yeskey, Peter Lowe, and Margarita Alban voting.

According to complaint, dated May 11, Mead Point LLC is materially and adversely affected by the P&Z decision. Specifically the condition that the bridge be removed.

Per the complaint, “…the commission acted illegally, arbitrarily and in abuse of the discretion vested in it in that: It failed to properly apply the law to the facts; It failed to properly interpret the plain language of the Town of Greenwich regulations and the laws of the State of Connecticut; It based its decision on facts not before it; It failed to consider the facts presented; and It failed to consider the the bridge was built in compliance with all necessary and required regulations in effect at the time of its construction.”

The return date is June 14, 2022 at Stamford Superior Court.

Unauthorized bridge to be removed as a condition of approval for zoning permit to construct house, pool and cabana at Mead Point.

See also:

P&Z Watch: Unauthorized Bridge Deterring Public Access to Mead Point Tidal Pond Must Go Prior to Permit

April 28, 2022

P&Z Watch: Proposed Development at Tip of Mead Point Threatens “An Ecological Treasure”
Dec 30, 2021