In a decision town officials are welcoming, a federal judge has ruled in the town’s favor in one of two remaining lawsuits in the town’s decade-long legal battle with Eureka V LLC over the future of the Bennett’s Pond property.
“It’s good news,” First Selectman Marconi said.
Eureka, the plaintiff in the case, has 30 days to appeal the decision at the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
If it isn’t appealed, Tuesday’s decision would appear to end legal wrangling over the town’s efforts to take the two Bennett’s Pond parcels by eminent domain.
Years ago the town completed an eminent domain taking of Bennett’s Pond North, on the other side of Bennett’s Farm Road, paying an $11.5 million “fair market value” for 458 acres.
That land is now Bennett’s Pond State Park.
But the town’s efforts to take the 155-acre Bennett’s’ Pond South parcel — with plans to make in an office park — were halted by Eureka’s lawsuit, which has since dragged on for 10 years.
In the summary judgment language offered by the town and approved by the judge, the town gives up — for another 10 years, anyway — the right to pursue an eminent domain taking of the Bennett’s Pond South parcel.
Things have changed, and the town is no longer that interested.
The other remaining lawsuit is in state appeals court. In that state suit, Eureka is seeking more than the 223 residential units a judge had granted for the site in his review of Planning and Zoning Commission decision on an affordable housing plan submitted by Eureka.
Extensive coverage of this story will appear in Thursday’s Ridgefield Press.