Pattys sue Town, P&Z Commission, Wilton Youth Football

Wilton residents William and Eliot Patty of Ridgefield Road are bringing a lawsuit with a return date of Nov. 17 against Wilton Youth Football Inc., the town Planning and Zoning Commission, and the town itself, appealing the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision last month to approve with condition the renovation of town-owned Middlebrook Field’s natural grass to artificial turf.

According to their complaint filed with the Stamford Superior Court Monday, “The PZC (Planning and Zoning Commission) acted illegally, arbitrarily, and in abuse of the discretion vested in it in approving the application and/or the approval is otherwise invalid for one or more of the following reasons.”

Through attorney Paul A. Sobel with Green and Gross PC, the Pattys assert that Wilton Youth Football lacked standing to make the application because it did not have a legal interest in the property, that Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Chris Hulse had a personal interest in the application’s approval and was “illegally predisposed to approve the application,” and that that “predisposition illegally infected the hearing and deliberative process.”

The Pattys also claim that Wilton Youth Football did not, in a number of areas, provide the information necessary to confirm the proposed field’s compliance with Wilton’s zoning regulations, such as the proper site coverage data.

Furthermore, it is argued that the approval allows for the continued use of pre-existing parking lot lighting that is nonconforming.

The complaint said the Pattys are “aggrieved” by the commission’s decision because of their residence’s close proximity to Middlebrook Field.

In addition to their complaint filed with the Superior Court, the Pattys represented by Sobel mailed two separate Freedom of Information Act requests for public records, one to the town of Wilton and the Planning and Zoning Department and Commission, and the other to the same set with the addition of Wilton Town Attorney Pat Sullivan of Cohen and Wolf PC.

In both letters, the Pattys request communications records including but not limited to any email messages, text messages and “notes and memoranda of communications” that pertain to the Middlebrook Field turf renovation application.

William Patty and his attorney Sobel were present at many of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meetings during Wilton Youth Football’s lengthy public hearing for this special permit application, and Sobel spoke against the application multiple times, representing his client.

On Oct. 13, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the field but denied the proposed lighting scheme, affixing to the resolution a clause that reads, “This approval does not include or extend to the relocation, placement or replacement of new or existing permanent or temporary lights.”

The vote was 6-3, with Lori Bufano, Peter Shiue, Sally Poundstone, Chris Hulse, Joe Fiteni, and Bas Nabulsi voting to approve the application. Voting against were Franklin Wong, John Comiskey and Doris Knapp.