Protect Tidal Wetlands in Southern Connecticut
Organized by: Protect Wetlands
“Next to tropical rainforests, tidal wetlands are the most biologically productive resource in the world… Tidal wetland vegetation stabilizes shorelines and buffers erosion.” (CT DEEP website)
We live in a small neighborhood on the coast of Southern Connecticut, bordered by beautiful tidal wetlands. These wetlands are home to many types of wildlife, including egrets, heron, deer, wild turkey, and fox, as well as many types of fragile and endangered plant life.
The stability of our local wetlands is being threatened by a plan to build a 5 house subdivision that will encroach upon the protected wetland buffer. This 75 foot setback was established both to protect the tidal wetlands from destruction by pollution, trampling and ﬁll, and to guard against the inevitable ﬂooding of residences built within a coastal flood zone.
Our local Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) recently granted a variance to developers to allow the building of a subdivision in the protected tidal wetland setback. The BZA did not require the developers to establish the “valid hardship” that is required by law in order to grant the variance. We (a group of neighbors) have filed an appeal of its decision to the Connecticut Superior Court. We are confident that the variance approval will be reversed; however, we need to hire a lawyer to get us through the rest of the process.
It is important for local zoning boards to understand that they have an obligation to uphold the zoning regulations, both for the protection of the environment as well as the safety of town residents. Too often, boards make decisions that lack a valid legal basis, and the average citizen cannot afford to pay the thousands of dollars required to appeal these decisions in court.
Individually, we can’t afford it, but together, we can!
Any financial help we receive will be very much appreciated. If we raise more money on Crowdrise than is needed to fund this appeal, we will donate the balance to environmental groups who have a mission to protect tidal wetlands.