Judge upholds P&Z decision on artificial turf field at Middlebrook

A superior court judge has dismissed a Wilton resident’s appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision regarding  installation of an artificial turf field at Middlebrook School. The decision was handed down April 18.

William and Eliot Patty of Ridgefield Road filed suit Nov. 17, 2015. They appealed a decision made by the commission on Oct. 13, 2015, when it approved Wilton Youth Football’s application for an amendment to an existing special permit and for site plan approval to renovate town-owned Middlebrook Field’s natural grass to artificial turf.

They argued the commission acted illegally and arbitrarily and that Wilton Youth Football lacked standing to submit the application. They also claimed the application did not comply with the town’s zoning regulations.

The appeal was heard in Stamford Superior Court on Dec. 20, 2016.

As for Wilton Youth Football having standing to submit the application, Judge Irene Jacobs’ decision said because the organization has been actively running youth football programs and activities at the school for years with the Parks and Recreation Commission, it has an interest in the property sufficient to have standing.

Wilton Youth Football’s standing was further bolstered by the fact then First Selectman Bill Brennan authorized legal firm Gregory and Adams, on behalf of the sports organization, to make the application to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The plaintiffs also alleged trailers were being stored on the site against town regulations but the judge concluded Wilton Youth Football’s application did not include the approval of prohibited materials at the field.

Finally, the plaintiffs claimed the application and supporting documents contained numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies. The decision says there are no regulations that mandate denial of an application because it or supporting materials are incomplete, and the court found the commissioners “exercised reasonable discretion in applying the Regulations to the application and supporting documentation.”