Darien residents take legal action against city and developer over controversial Parklands project approval

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DARIEN – Several residents who live near a major city redevelopment project have filed a lawsuit against the Darien Planning and Zoning Commission and are seeking a restraining order to prevent the project from going ahead. before.

In February, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the redevelopment of a mostly vacant office park at 3 Parklands Drive into a multi-residential complex by a 3-2 vote, ending a contentious decision-making process that spanned decades. month.

Now, six residents whose properties adjoin the site of the proposed redevelopment have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn that decision.


The lawsuit, filed Monday in Stamford State Superior Court, names both the Planning and Zoning Commission and Parklands Darien LLC, the owner of the office park, as defendants.

The city attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but attorney William Hennessey – who represents the Parklands project – said he was confident the commission’s decision would be upheld by the court.

“We were pleased with the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision and believe it was thoughtful and entirely appropriate,” Hennessey said in a statement.

Parklands LLC is owned by developer Bob Gillon, who previously said he was considering pushing a much larger resort under the state’s 8-30g law if the 60-unit resort was denied. An 8-30g home development has much less stringent requirements than a regular development.

Residents and plaintiffs Sandra and Thomas Conway, Pamela Maffucci, Margaret Conrad, Trisha Charland and Manohar Pasumarti allege that the commission acted “illegally, arbitrarily, capriciously…abusing its discretion and exceeding its authority” in approving the redevelopment project.

“Plaintiffs are aggrieved by the Board’s decision because they own the real estate that adjoins or is within 100 feet of any part of the land implicated in the Board’s decision,” the lawsuit states.

Residents allege, among other reasons, that the size and height of the building and the screen and lighting on the grounds impede the development of neighboring properties as well as their value, according to the lawsuit.

The complex would include 60 apartments, including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Residents allege the project violates Darien’s zoning regulations, nearby streets cannot adequately accommodate the volume of traffic, and “no consideration” has been given to protecting nearby nature preserves , Selleck’s Woods and Dunlap Woods.

Residents also claim that one or more members of the commission had a conflict of interest, although the lawsuit does not specify which member or members it is referring to.

They are asking the court to find that the zoning commission acted “unlawfully” and to declare its Feb. 15 approval invalid.

Residents also ask the court, “if necessary, to issue a restraining order…against co-defendants Parklands Darien, LLC and its contractors restraining them from conducting any construction on the property based on the February actions of the Commission until this appeal is ultimately resolved,” according to the lawsuit.

The Planning and Zoning Commission and the Parklands developer have until May 3 to file a court appearance, according to court documents.

raga.justin@hearst.com


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