Attorney renews call for Ridgefield Road moratorium

Attorney Christopher Russo renewed his call July 31 for a moratorium against age-restricted housing applications on Ridgefield Road.

Russo, acting on behalf of his client, Ridgefield Road resident Vicki Mavis, told the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting at the town hall annex the moratorium should be in place until the commission formally approves a new Plan of Conservation and Development, a once-per-every-10-years task that will be coming up soon.

About 30 people attended the meeting. A remote video camera was set up in the room to broadcast the meeting to a TV monitor in town hall, in case of an overflow crowd. These meetings have typically packed more than 100 people each time. It was the second time Russo and Mavis made their pitch for a moratorium. The first time, earlier this year, was when the town had an age-restricted zoning overlay district regulation in place. That regulation was rescinded because of a flaw in the legal notice that advertised it.

Now, without a regulation in place for age-restricted zones, Russo seems to be having a tough time convincing the planning commissioners that his request is not a moot point.

“It is moot. We have no regulation,” said Joe Fiteni, chairman of the commission.

Leonard Braman, attorney for developer James Fieber who is seeking to restore the Age-Restricted Overlay District, also argued against a moratorium.

“The neighbors are passionate and I understand their passion, but they don’t speak for the whole town,” he said.

The commissioners agreed to discuss the issue again at their Sept. 11 meeting.

In the meantime, Town Attorney Ira Bloom advised the Planning and Zoning Commission July 24 to not take any action on a new application from the developer seeking to restore the Age-Restricted Overlay District.

It was on the agenda under “acceptance of new applications,” with no date for a public hearing, but Bloom told the commissioners that a lawsuit against the town over the unpopular zone on Ridgefield Road resulted in a court directive to withhold action until further notice of the court. That would have been Aug. 14, when a hearing on the lawsuit was scheduled, but on July 31 attorneys for plaintiff Patricia Frisch moved for a continuance until Aug. 21, which the court granted on Aug. 1.

“One of the claims for relief in the lawsuit requests the court to order the commission to not accept, hear or approve any future applications for the age-restricted overlay,” Bloom said.

Fieber and his 183 Ridgefield Road LLC withdrew his application for a change of zone at that address for an age-restricted housing development on July 19, after the commission rescinded its regulations.

Then, Healy filed the application to revisit the Age-Restricted Overlay zones.