Lawsuit filed over Weston Dog Park

A lawsuit has been filed against the Weston Conservation Commission by seven individuals appealing the commission’s approval of the town of Weston’s application to construct a public dog park on a 36.17 acre tract of town-owned land.

On May 3, the Conservation Commission approved the town’s application to construct a 3.5 acre dog park, 1,280-foot roadway, 22-vehicle parking lot, and 80-foot turnaround, on a 36.17 acre tract of undeveloped land bordered by Lords Highway East and Davis Hill Road, known as the “Moore property” which is owned by the town of Weston.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Dania Feller Anderson, Sidney A. Dudash, Joan Dudash, Brian O. Welsh, Carolyn L. Welsh, Freda Welsh and Dennis Savitsky, neighbors of the Moore property who were designated as intervenors at the Conservation Commission’s proceedings. They are represented by Attorney Stephen Nevas of Westport.

When the plaintiffs intervened in the case on Feb. 20, 2018, they claimed the applicant had proposed a regulated activity that “involves conduct which has, or which is responsibly likely to have the effect of unreasonably polluting, impairing, or destroying the public trust in the air, water or other natural resources of the state.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim the commission approved construction of the dog park on a section of the property which is sited on a steep, wooded hillside, immediately above extensive wetlands, some of which are suspected of containing vernal pools.

The plaintiffs allege the commission violated its own regulations by failing to require the applicant (the town of Weston) to “inventory and maintain” current records of all regulated areas within the town, specifically wetlands on the applicant’s property, as required by Section 215-3 C of its regulations.

They claim the commission violated its own regulations by failing to require the applicant to identify and delineate the topography of steep slopes and fully identify the boundaries of the wetlands.

They also claim the commission violated its own regulations by failing to require the applicant to submit alternatives which would cause less or no environmental impact to the wetlands or watercourses.

They claim no intervenor or member of the public was given notice or a reasonable opportunity to present engineering or environmental responses to alternate locations approved by the commission, thus denying them fundamental fairness and due process.  

In addition, the plaintiffs claim the commission failed to base its approval on substantial evidence or any relevant expert testimony. And that the commission failed to consider or address substantial evidence that additional flooding will occur on the property and to adjacent and downgradient properties.

Based on those claims, the plaintiffs are asking the court to reverse the decision of the Conservation Commission.

When contacted for a response to the lawsuit, Weston First Selectman Chris Spaulding and Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said they had no comment. Attorney Nevas also declined to comment.

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