Land preservation
3:55 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Land trust terminates contract for bird sanctuary; property owner 'disappointed'

In Connecticut, the Norwalk Land Trust is scrapping a plan to create a public bird sanctuary. The $1 million contract would have preserved an environmentally-sensitive coastal property. But the plan’s controversy proved too much for the land trust. 

A view of the causeway property owned by Bruce Beinfield from across Farm Creek in Rowayton, Conn.
A view of the causeway property owned by Bruce Beinfield from across Farm Creek in Rowayton, Conn.
Credit Photo courtesy of the Farm Creek Preserve Facebook page.

The Norwalk Land Trust said in a statement that its decision to rescind the contract was made “after it became clear the contract was unenforceable.”

Supporters wanted to preserve the peninsular property to protect a surrounding tidal estuary in Rowayton.

But the property is in a private housing association and the majority of its members voted against the plan. The land trust said it even received several legal threats.

Property owner Bruce Beinfield said he wasn’t informed of the land trust’s decision.

"I think it’s unfortunate that this was not able to go through as planned," he said. 

It might not be the end of the matter. Beinfield has an alternative plan – one where a house could be built on the property and the far tip of the causeway preserved for birds.

The land trust said it hoped to recoup its $100,000 non-refundable deposit. Beinfield said he will refund the money, given the circumstances.