Citizens' Group To Withdraw Appeal
Would Encourage Talks Over Preserving
Ethel Walker School Property
By KATIE MELONE
Courant Staff Writer
September 13 2005
A citizens' group has promised to withdraw a legal appeal it hoped
could stall the Ethel Walker School's plans to build a large
development of luxury homes on its wooded campus.
the Woods group felt emboldened by recent talks between the town,
school and a land preservation group, said Susan Masino, a member.
Instead of focusing on litigation, the group decided to encourage the
three to enter into an agreement for the purchase of development rights
to the school's 450-acre parcel.
The group's decision to
withdraw its Superior Court filing pleased both the school and the
town, named as plaintiffs in the action.
"We're always pleased
when litigants withdraw lawsuits against the town," Robert DeCrescenzo,
the town attorney, said Monday. "It saves everybody a lot of time and
In their court complaint filed last month, the
citizens' group objected to a July conservation commission decision to
approve a campus wetlands map the school submitted recently.
Monday, the town was in the process of responding to the complaint,
which required officials to compile all of the paperwork and maps the
school submitted to the conservation commission record.
"Not an easy task," DeCrescenzo said.
appeal or lawsuit focused on narrow procedural points in the land-use
approval process. It boiled down to this: Ethel Walker needed the
commission's approval of the map to proceed with its plans, and the
citizens, who want to stop the development of the property, didn't
agree with the way the town approved the new map.
describing the legal filing caused contention. The town called it a
lawsuit, the Keep the Woods group insisted on referring to it as merely
The group's decision to drop the lawsuit seemed to lessen the tension.
"It seems pretty promising that everyone's talking to the trust for
public land," Masino said.
Corkum, a land-use consultant hired by the school, said the talks are
preliminary between the school, town and the Trust for Public Land, but
said he is hopeful the three can reach a fair agreement to save the
Corkum said the school's preference has always been
to sell the town the development rights to the property, but "the
problem has always been that the school could not get a fair price for
The school has said it has a "fiduciary
responsibility" to build up its endowment and needs to manage its
property to provide the greatest financial return for the school.
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant