The events of the last few weeks have returned the Sand Pit case to where it was in 2014, when the (then-named) Zoning and Planning Commission (ZPC) issued a special use permit to Lake Road Materials LLC (LRM) to reopen the sand pit in what was then the Cannon property on Lake Road. The Congamond Lakes Environmental Protection Organization (CLEPO) appealed that issuance, and the permit was voided by Judge Marshall Berger of the Connecticut Superior Court in 2015. But LRM then appealed to the Connecticut Appellate Court, and that court has now responded by vacating the Superior Court’s decision. LRM can now resume the dig under the regulations imposed in the 2014 permit.
LRM’s 2015 counter-appeal took a long time to work its way through the court system, during which time attempts to settle were made. Then, as reported in the March issue of the Observer, abutting litigant Paul Pellerin, in whose name CLEPO had appealed the 2014 permit, fired the lawyer who had been retained by CLEPO and engaged Atty. Ed McAnaney for the final actions.
Pellerin, whose house lot borders the southwest side of the sand pit, entered into negotiations with LRM, through his new lawyer, and with the Town, through Planning and Zoning Commission attorney,Carl Landolina. Those negotiations produced stipulations that the 2015 judgement would be vacated and a new judgement would be entered in favor of LRM, reinstating the Zoning Commission’s 2014 special use permit. The stipulations were approved by the Appellate Court in a five-minute hearing on March 29 by Justice Christine Vertefeuille and signed by the three lawyers for LRM, the Town, and Pellerin.
The 2014 permit, which had expired in the interim, was updated to the date of the final judgement, March 30, 2017.
As for the ultimatum issued by Lake Road Materials (the new owner of the sand pit parcel) in a January 31 letter rescinding permission for South Pond residents to use the main portion of Lake Road after March 1, First Selectman Melissa Mack directed the Suffield Police to block any barricading action. Suffield Police maintained a patrol that day, but no barricading action was attempted. The 2014 special permit, now renewed, requires, among other matters, that Lake Road be relocated to a route in a corridor on the property already excavated. The permit document preserves the right to use the road only by implication, not explicitly. And the use of the road is not included in the stipulations.